Stepping into Z Botanica by Nicsmann at 1 Utama is like entering a lovely garden wonderland. With both indoor and outdoor seating available, you can enjoy a drink, or a meal, enveloped in an explosion of flowers. And it’s not just your surroundings. Head Chef Joshua makes sure that every plate is also a work of art. By the time your night is through, you’ll be hard-pressed selecting which photos to feature on your Instagram.
While we all want to dine in beautiful surroundings, let’s face it; at the end of the day, the food will determine whether you come back again. I’m happy to report that the items I sampled were delicious. Having the opportunity to speak to Z Botanica’s Chef Joshua, only emphasised the amount of care I could clearly see going into preparing each and every dish. I love meeting Chefs that are so invested in their culinary creations! When they love what they do and talk about a piece of shrimp like it’s a diamond, then you know the food is going be good.
Try a Twenty Year Old Secret Recipe
From nasi lemak to pizza to steak to seafood; the menu at Z Botanica is quite vast. There’s something for everyone in the family. While everything looks delicious, what really stands out is the happy playfulness you see on every plate. Speaking to Chef Joshua, he talks about his Baba Nonya heritage, his love of experimenting in the kitchen, his love of art and the 35 years of cooking experience he’s garnered from all over the world. It all comes together in colourful dishes that pop with creativity.
When asked about his love of cooking, Chef Joshua speaks passionately about seafood. The versatility of seafood and its ability to harmoniously marry with various ingredients appeals to him. Take for example, ginger and coriander, two main components of a secret sauce he partners with some of his seafood dishes.
“It’s one of my specialities. The recipe was developed about twenty years back… I kept it to myself. This time, I said it’s time to bring it out and now a lot of people enjoy it.”Chef Joshua, Head Chef at Z Bontanica by Nicsmann
One thing that is a must try are the dishes featuring his special signature sauce. It’s a recipe he’s been holding on to for twenty years and has finally decided to share with all of us lucky patrons. What is it you ask? Chef Joshua describes it as a base of ginger and coriander with soya sauce, some shallots, a touch of turmeric for colour and aioli. He uses this concoction as a marinade as well as a sauce. Sounds so good, right? I love the use of our local ingredients to “typical” dishes to create something totally unique.
Enough chatter. Let’s get to sharing my favourite item on the menu.
Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster Tail
Who’s Never Tried Lobster? Here’s You Chance!
To be honest, I rarely eat lobster as it has always seemed something quite exotic and beyond my budget. At RM39 for angel hair pasta with a generous portion of grilled lobster tail, this dish is a surprisingly good deal. It was also beautifully plated and delicious! The pasta was al-dente, the sauce light and creamy, the lobster cooked to perfection and, best of all, there were these lovely pops of ebiko. True happiness in every bite.
If you’re not a pasta fan, but still want to try the lovely lobster, they also feature a lobster chowder (RM39).
The soup is creamy but delicately flavoured, balanced and light so you won’t get “muak” as is sometimes the case for me. I love chowder but will usually only enjoy the first half of a full portion before feeling like I’ve had enough. The bowl of chowder at Z Botanica went back to the kitchen shiny and clean.
What About Dessert, Did You Say?
Z Botanica’s strengths are in their savoury food and pages upon pages of drink options. While they are not heavy on desserts, there are items to choose from for those of you with a sweet tooth. The dessert menu may not be too exciting or mind-blowing, but the have the usual favourites such as chocolate brownies, chocolate lava cake and a premium selection of featured cakes.
Live Band and Event Space at Z Botanica
If you’re looking for a place to listen to music while enjoying a meal, Z Botanica features a live band after 7pm. With the stage built in, a huge projector screen and a large dining space, this also works well for anyone looking for a place to hold a private event. There’s also a secluded dining space sectioned off for small groups that want to have some privacy.
To find out more, you can check out their Instagram and Facebook or simply head over to Z Botanica at 1 Utama. They are in the new wing close to Parkson. You can call +6013-3590443 or head over in person. The full address as follows: Lot G315a, Ground Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia