There are days when the wildly popular Botanica+Co is at full house capacity, leaving foodies with no choice but to come back another day for their gastro fix. The next time this rustic eatery beckons, head for its new outlet at Alila Bangsar. Platform Hospitality’s second Botanica+Co restaurant offers a slightly different ambiance and with exclusive dishes to be had, but still 100% the unpretentious dining vibe so adored by foodies. Their signature tropical scenery of plants and trees dot the premise’s charming interior by award-wining, Shanghai-based design firm Neri & Hu, and complemented with landscape design by Salad Dressing. We were invited to experience this new location poised to serve guests of Malaysia’s first Alila hotel, and the new food items too good to not share.

1. Asian persuasion: Pasembur

Veering from the usual western greens, Botanica+Co paid homage to the humble pasembur that got us hooked, in all its towering glory. The local salad was as hearty as it was photogenic, piled with crunchy prawn fritters, quail egg, shredded cucumber, blanched bean sprouts, chili peppers, bean curd and crispy cubed potatoes. Tossed with a mildly spicy savoury peanut sauce, and a squeeze of lime, this colourful plant and prawn medley was an inviting prelude to the mains to come.

See also: The 7 Dishes To Try At Botanica+Co, Bangsar South

2. Pescatarian dream: Prawn & kale pesto pasta

Regulars who can’t resist familiar Asian dishes have sung praises about Botanica+Co's seafood centric dishes like Sam’s signature laksa and spicy jumbo prawn aglio olio. The establishment's love for big head prawns play a starring role in this pasta dish that also celebrates the buzzy kale. Springy spaghettini is tossed with a fragrant housemade kale pesto paste, textured with cherry tomatoes and shaved nuts. Making the dish more majestic are the large prawns, chargrilled to smoky simplicity.

3. Catch of the day: Seafood parmigana

Botanica+Co’s bread and butter is, quite literally, its housemade bread – celebrated in an ample menu of sandwich lineups. An open-faced parmigiana ‘sandwich’ comprises creamy squid and prawn chunks on a bed of romaine, drizzled with tomato compote and a heavy dusting of parmesan flakes in this Italian reinvention. Rainbow salad of bright greens, purple cabbage and shredded carrot, flavoured with a zesty dressing, balances the dish's richness. 

See also: From Sea To City: Oyster & Seafood Bar By Mercato

4. Exotic nuances: Wagyu burger

Credit is due to Botanica+Co for striving to unite eastern and western culinary specialities, as accomplished in their debut burger. The exotic experience begins with a grain-fed Australian Wagyu patty, sprinkled with Asian sprouts, smidgens of creamy avocado, shredded nori flakes, and perky flavours of pickled ginger and unagi sauce, nestled between a housemade bun. Fries on the side are usually an after-thought, but the thick-cut ones here are worthy of mention.

5. Sweet dreams: Wicked desserts

A few surprises are in the works – namely, a full-fledged in-house bakery serving Platform Hospitality’s arsenal of upcoming eateries – which we sampled through a duo of dessert. Our treats were faultless – we enjoyed a chocolate ganache tart of a dense, bittersweet filling enrobed in a chocolate pastry crust, and a lemon meringue tart with marsmallow-soft kisses and a citrusy centre.

See also: 5 Dessert Places In Bangsar You Shouldn't Miss

6. Punchy beverages

Food is undoubtedly the star at Botanica, but drinks are crafted with care, with a whole lot of love to go around as affirmed by their homemade sodas. An infusion of invigorating, local ingredients, our guts were won over by the refreshing potions, specifically the pandan and lime soda, apple calamansi sparkler, and kaffir lime and lemongrass cooler.

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