Food for thought @ Botanic Gardens

A quick foodie update before I continue with my posts for Vietnam and Taiwan.

The new FFT has finally opened in the Botany Centre of the Botanic Gardens. The Botany centre is accessible at the Tanglin Gate (parking’s available here), which is pretty far from the Botanic Gardens MRT.

It used to be an old foodcourt that I never knew about, whoops. Despite being open for about a month already (I think), the place has not received much publicity yet for whatever reason.

The new FFT’s a great place to hang out with friends, or to bring the family. The space is very industrial, with high ceilings and grey furnishings. The indoor seating alone can take up to 200 people, and some tables are really huge. We managed to sit together despite being a huge group of 12- a nice change from all the other times when we had to split up.

My friends happen to be very finicky eaters, and they have big appetites. I think a single course is sufficient for girls, but the guys seem to need twice as much haha.

This is the brunch set consisting of pomme noisettes, garlic mushrooms, and scrambled eggs with cream ($8). Their garlic mushrooms, a mixture of fresh shiitakes and button mushrooms, were really toothsome and flavourful. The scrambled eggs were also a delight, fluffy and not too creamy or liquid.

I thought their grilled Portobello burger ($8) bordered between good and great. The portobellos themselves were grilled perfectly, juicy with tonnes of earthy flavours. The Pineapple Sage Vinaigrette received mixed reactions around the table. Some liked it, while others found the sweetness quite confusing with the rest of the dish. I myself would have preferred a parmesan topping because I found the vinaigrette a little oily (Yea, I like to kid myself sometimes. Hate the sight of raw dripping oil ahaha). The potato bun was also a little greasy, but on the bright side it was a little denser than normal burger buns so it didn’t become soggy and difficult to eat.

Their pancakes were what attracted me to FFT in the first place, so naturally I had to get some. The friends and I shared banana walnut ($10) and dark chocolate with raspberries ($12). The mixture of raspberries into the batter for the latter was a great idea, for the acidity cut through the richness of the pancakes soaked in gula melaka syrup making it very more-ish. The dark chocolate chips, semi-melted by the heat, were a luxurious finishing touch. Banana walnut was a little different. This time we could really taste the batter itself. Comparisons with Strictly Pancakes are inevitable of course, and I would say I prefer the batter of SP (Update (27/1/2012): I had their mixed berries pancakes this round and I must say the batter was much fluffier and less eggy. yum!) . It’s slightly less eggy than FFT’s version, but in terms of the overall flavour combis (discounting the savouries offered at SP) I think FFT’s better. Anyway, I thought the cream and gula melaka syrup went seamlessly with the sliced bananas and walnuts. The walnuts in particular, though raw were delicious when eaten with everything else.

I still don’t understand the red velvet craze, and neither do the friends. Anyway, I thought the cake was too dense, and the cream cheese frosting was far too sugary. Not a good idea.

FFT @ botanics is a slightly different concept. It’s more communal (evidently, from the large space), and cafeteria-style. Their burgers, and pancakes are quite value-for-money vis-a-vis the same fare offered at other places. Will be back for brunch/lunch again!