Sunday, July 8, 2012

Botanical @ Bangsar Village

As a famous frog once sang, it's not easy being green; The BIG Group's new vegetarian venture in Bangsar Village won't be its biggest hit, but the boldest risks can sometimes sow the seeds for the brightest rewards.

Botanical's meatless menu yields a bumper crop of recipes fertile with culinary creativity. These sweet potato cakes are satisfyingly hot and fluffy on their own, but made even more enjoyable with a tangy-cold cucumber topping.

Can a salad mark a milestone for someone? I've hated jackfruit since childhood, but the ripely succulent slices tossed here with Asian greens, pomelo, peanuts and shallots in a milky coconut dressing taste like nectar to bees.

For our protein fix: hummus with crisp noodles, pickled cabbage, almonds and sesame seeds, make for a gluten-free, creamy-crunchy pick-me-up. Mercifully, a meal at Botanical won't cost the farm _ this starter, for example, is RM16.90++.

Seaweed and mushroom soup, as umami-rich as anything a Japanese restaurant serves. The BIG Group often catches flak, deservedly, for the lackadaisical service at some of its outlets, but Botanical's team works pretty hard to please.

Not everything here succeeds _ these Italian pea-mint-basil arancini rice balls are mush, mostly.

Raw chocolate cake with dried fruits, nuts, ricotta and honey. Tastes like the most wholesome and fiber-rich dark chocolate candy bar ever.

Earl Grey-poached pear with almond crumble and orange creme anglais. Botanical isn't entirely a health-food restaurant like Living Food or an organic one like Earth Food, but it needn't be. It's respectable in its own right, and its food makes us feel good, in more ways than one.

Cocktails here show imagination: the Sage Advice comprises tequila, sage, ginger cordial, cinnamon syrup, fresh pineapple soda and pineapple chunks.

Still a cocktail, but a steaming-hot one: Toddy, featuring gin, earl grey tea, local honey, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamon and pepper.

Sure, smoothies are available too, such as this raw-tasting blend of pear, orange and avocado.

Bittergourd, pineapple, orange and honey constitute a Bittersweet Symphony. Botanical takes over the location formerly held by Bistro 42, so there's a bittersweet sentiment about this outlet's opening, since its predecessor was one of BIG's best branches.

Besame mucho: live music surfaces on some nights, but we like Botanical's CD selection too.

Botanical,
Level 1, Bangsar Village II, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2201-3028

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28 comments:

  1. Oh its a vegetarian restaurant? I saw some postings on their FB page and was wondering when you would be there. Hehe.

    The food looks nice (loving the vibrant colours) esp the arancini rice balls. :)

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    1. Baby sumo: oh ya, it's vegetarian but not vegan, since they still serve eggs and dairy products like cheese in some of the dishes here =) I think it's a great idea for BIG, as an alternative to the porky and beefy outlets that they run elsewhere. And yeah, most of the ingredients looked and tasted beautifully fresh :D

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  2. The sweet potato cakes with a tangy-cold cucumber topping sure looks good...yums :)

    Ooo...the jackfruit salad sound enticing...flavours galore there! =)

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    1. Ulric: heheh, i like sweet potato almost as much as i like pumpkin. and there are also pumpkin-ricotta tarts available here =) yaaa, it's a very asian salad; i thought it might taste thai, but it tasted malaysian, heh =)

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  3. Nowadays a lot of ppl are vegetarian...

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    1. Simple Person: this might be a great place for vegetarians! though a meal here will still cost at least RM30 including drinks...

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  4. We seldom eat vegetarian food, I think our last vegetarian food was last Sep at Koyasan, almost a year! :P

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    1. CK: wait! living food is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant! so you have eaten vegetarian food this year already! heheh =)

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  5. I was at BV II the other day and was wondering why Bistro 42 looked completely different!! hehe thought that my memory was bad :P

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    1. Vien: heheh, it's almost like a garden getaway now, pretty peaceful on one of the mall's less-populated floors. but let's hope they can harvest enough business to keep things profitable! :D

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  6. I love jack fruit..its so sweet to chew on...

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    1. Cindy: heh, I've hated nangka and cempedak for more than 30 years now. But I liked the jackfruit in the salad here ... It was sweet but not pungent, and it complemented the pomelo and other ingredients =)

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    2. well thats gd to know u at least like jack fruit once...LOL

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    3. Cindy: heheh, that's right. Only once in my life, and only at this restaurant =)

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  7. raw chocolate cake soudns interesting. first time having not to be sinful after indulging in such wholesome good stuff :D

    Latest: GIVEAWAY: The Thai Specialist

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    1. Fish: oh yeah, it's a healthier way to have our cake and still eat it! and it still tastes yummy. Let's hope more places will be offering raw foods on their menu soon :D

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  8. Vegetarian! Yay! This is exciting news. Most vegetarian options around town seem to be Chinese or Indian style food. It is great to see some variety finally. :-)

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    1. The Yum List: you've totally hit the nail on the head! Even in bangsar, there are vegetarian eateries aplenty, but this is the one that's the most gastronomically diverse, with everything from Thai salads to Italian pastas on the menu! :D

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  9. Wahh... Big is really laughing to the bank...

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    1. Smitten by Food: oh, but i think some of their outlets do better financially compared to others =)

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  10. the crispy noodles in the 2nd picture reminds me of the Mamee Monster. Arghhh i missed those days where i ate lots of it.

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    1. Eiling: heh, those good ol' schooldays. i loved mamee too, and i'd try to buy a packet a week at the school canteen! the noodles here were quite similar. tasted like instant noodles, but somewhat healthier :D

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  11. Wow..definitely worth a try. Bistro 42 location has changed concept a few times already.. hope this last.

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    1. Rebecca: ya, true, remember it went from T Forty Two to Bistro 42 to Botanical now. hopefully there'll be enough vegetable-loving customers to sustain botanical for a long time! :D

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  12. Raw chocolate cake! Not tasted any before but the description you give sounds like a must have.

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    1. Missyblurkit: i wonder if another version of raw chocolate cake might be available at Living Food. and hey, it might be something you could make at home too! :D

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  13. Stumbled upon your blog when I googled up Botanical. :) I went there by accident one day when I wanted to have some high tea food with my girls. Sat down and looked at the menu only to realise it was vegetarian restaurant! haha, but it was a nice place.

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    1. Carmen: heh, hope you managed to have a nice meal there at any rate :D

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