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Published September 27th 2022
Enjoy a unique and delicious tasting menu experience
What happens when you take one beautiful harbourside setting, then add a brilliant top chef, stir in distinctive native Australian ingredients, think finger lime and lemon myrtle, and combine with the flavours of South East Asia?
The result is the Luke Nguyen Lunch Menu, a unique and delicious tasting menu experience at Botanic House in Sydney.
Enjoy unique dishes like edamame and avocado salsa with sesame crackers, finger lime and lemon olive oil
Just a short stroll from the Opera House, harbour and central business district of Sydney, Botanic House is nestled in the green heart of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
When you enter the Botanic House restaurant, the space feels light and fresh, almost reminiscent of a greenhouse, with full length windows taking advantage of the beautiful view out to the lush gardens and pond.
There are a number of tables in prime position alongside the windows, however these were already occupied, so my dining companion and I were seated towards the middle of the restaurant. My advice is to request a window seat when booking if possible.
The restaurant is light and airy with gorgeous views of the gardens (Image Credit: Royal Botanic Garden)
Our waitress welcomed us and explained how the tasting menu worked. There would be nine courses, served as share plates. The only decisions we were required to make were which cocktail to order and which bottle of wine we preferred. No difficult decisions, now that's my kind of lunch.
My companion and I both chose the signature cocktail of the venue, named the 'Botanic Spritz', which was an attractive and refreshing cocktail of strawberry gin, Prosecco and elderflower tonic.
We chose the 'Botanic Spritz' for our welcome cocktail
Our tasting menu commenced with a delicately flavoured coconut, plum sugar and lime amuse-bouche followed by the visually striking dish of edamame and avocado salsa with sesame crackers, finger lime and lemon olive oil. Then it was on to the entrées.
Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice as the entrées feature calamari, kingfish and salmon. While I am not a big seafood eater I did enjoy the salt and native pepper calamari which came with a tangy Vietnamese lemon sauce, while my companion enjoyed the Kingfish sashimi in a lemongrass and sour coconut dressing. The grilled salmon and pickled vegetable salad was a light and refreshing side.
Kingfish sashimi and the pickled vergetable salad with grilled salmon
But for me, the entrée highlight was the chicken skewers which were marinated in bean curd and lemon myrtle powder and served with a housemade chilli jam. The depth of flavour in this dish was absolutely divine.
Chicken skewers with house made chilli jam were a highlight
To accompany our meal we chose the Totara Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which was smooth and delicate and complimented the dishes well.
Surprisingly we had already enjoyed six dishes by the time we arrived at the mains. The mains consisted of barramundi fillets, bok choy, karkalla, mushrooms, with ginger and shallot sauce as well as a twice cooked master stock chicken with chilli satay sauce. The mains were accompanied with jasmine rice.
The mains featured barramundi fillets and chicken with a chilli satay sauce
Both main dishes were a generous size and full of flavour. The highlight for me was the barramundi, which is saying something considering I'm not a big seafood lover.
We were becoming rather full by this time but how could we not squeeze in the shared dessert plate which featured a Vietnamese caramel pudding, coconut sponge, black sticky rice, egg custard and a surprisingly subtle soy sauce ice cream. Our package also included a choice of tea or coffee.
The menu, unique flavours and the setting are a match made in foodie heaven. For us, the shared dishes were filling without being too heavy. The flavours were fresh and light and we really loved the combination of Asian and Australian flavours and ingredients.
The staff were friendly and attentive and kept the dishes coming without any delay. We enjoyed our tasting menu lunch over two hours and would definitely recommend it to others as a unique and delicious experience.
The Botanic House restaurant in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney