18 Jul The Botanical, South Yarra
Despite all the infrastructure works going on in the vicinity, the Royal Botanic Gardens is still a beautiful place to stroll through or jog around. Whether or not a visit to the gardens is on the cards, the row of restaurants along Domain Road are good places to gain sustenance for the day.
We come The Botanical, which has introduced their first menu change in a while. Various sections of the restaurant provide a different feel, catering for different crowds. There’s the casual bar and bistro, the more formal restaurant area, and the sunny courtyard that’s popular for functions.
There’s plenty of seafood on the new menu, including roasted scallops topped with a salty Rockefeller crumble and cheesy whipped fetta. The smoked kingfish hides underneath a pile of leaves, radish and enoki. It’s accompanied by a gooey quail egg, a sweet and bright yuzu sauce, and sprinkles of togarashi. Hints of horseradish make it a lighter dish that’s great for waking up the tastebuds.
Spanner crab lies atop a long roll of angel hair pasta, together with chilli and roe. The chilli is not distractingly spicy, and doesn’t take anything away from the buttery flavour present in the pasta.
There’s duck done two ways: corn-fed duck breast and confit leg, accompanied by squares of salt baked celeriac and purple kale. The breast is a bit dry, but the confit leg is beautifully juicy, and the glaze on the skin is flavoursome. Brussel sprouts, speck, honey and pecorino make for a tasty and substantial side dish.
Bouillabaisse comes with poached hapuka, black mussels, razor clams, and Moreton bay bug. The rouille comes in its own dish, and can be added to taste for that richness and creaminess that’s essential to a good bouillabaisse.
It’s nice to have a range of desserts to choose from to tie off a meal. We first try the winter citrus, roast lemon gel, verbena sable, and nougat glace. The tanginess of the citrus gel is rounded out by the less tangy curd, and both are countered by the sweetness of the citrus segments. Shortbread brings extra texture to the plate.
On the opposite end of the dessert spectrum is the richer 65% Dark Chocolate Mousse. It comes with a surprise filling of mint chocolate custard, and the cocoa nib ice cream provides freshness that balances the richness of the chocolate.
The surrounding streets might be busy with construction activity, but The Botanical is still very much in business.
Disclaimer: I was invited to The Botanical as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
169 Domain Rd
South Yarra, VIC, 3141
(03) 9820 7888