I've never realized that there aren't many places that are dog-friendly. I've never had a dog, and the Hubs doesn't want any dogs (for the same reasons why he doesn't want kids...PM me for the full list). The cumulative conditions for us to get a dog were that, we're both retired, and no longer mobile to travel, and are lonely, AND have a huge compound for our goldie to run around. Since none of these were happening in the near future, there wasn't a need to know which restaurants are dog-friendly, and which ones aren't. Until we met up with a couple friend of ours, who'd brought their Japanese spitz puppy out (at my incessant begging) for brunch this weekend.
I recalled having been to the Botanic Gardens eons ago where I'd seen a whole bunch of doggies running around, so I figured that at least one of the restaurants at the park would be dog-friendly. A quick call to Casa Verde, the casual bistro/pizzeria under the Les Amis Group, confirmed that "dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome" at our brunch table. One quick aside: many websites say that Food for Thought at Botanic Gardens is dog-friendly but a call to the restaurant informed that they are still awaiting their pet license and so, cannot allow you to sit with your dog at the table, so don't bring your furry pooches there! *end of aside*
Another quick aside: we'd presumptuously left our home barely 10 minutes before our lunch date, thinking that we'd make it in good time. Unfortunately, even with Google maps, we got ridiculously lost, and ended up being half an hour late. The Visitor Centre at the Botanic Gardens needs much better signage from the main roads! So, anyways, for the benefit of you drivers out there, you turn off Cluny Road into the Nassim gate entrance of Botanic Gardens (it's the entrance that's at the junction of Nassim Road and Cluny Road). Thereafter, the gardens signage will direct you to the right carpark. *end of aside*
Please be informed that Casa Verde is entirely self-serviced (i.e. no service charge!), so you'll be waiting forever for the staff to serve you. You'll also have to find yourself a table in the bustling glass-housey bistro. Just like in a food court, we hovered, in a not so conspicuous way of course, around the tables that looked to be finishing up. The good thing here is that turnover is brisk and we didn't wait very long before a table for 4 persons opened up. Although we sat outdoors, us pampered air-conditioned rats were quite comfortable. Thanks to wonky weather (I'm not complaining!), the cooler weather these days really do facilitate alfresco dining.
Like every other well-executed dish, the Calamari Fritte ($9.50) was cooked with finesse. The squid rings were soft, not rubbery, and the breadcrumbed coat was toothsome and tasty.
The Fish 'n' Chips ($15) were very commendable as well, fresh flaky delicate fish fillets battered lightly and sided by really addictive shoestring fries.
Although Casa Verde offers a smattering of local breakfast favourites like nasi lemak and mee siam, Italian cuisine is where Casa Verde really shines. The memorably good Vongole Spaghetti ($18) had al dente pasta dunked in the most awesome broth ever, made from a good handful of fat juicy clams, oodles of aromatic garlic, a dusting of robust chilli flakes and a big splash of white wine.
If you're a fan of Peperoni, then Casa Verde's pizzas are to be missed at your own peril. The Pizza Rustica ($23), Casa Verde's flatbread take on carbonara, is loaded with tomato salsa, smoked streaky bacon, baby asparagus (for the token green item on a decadent cheesy dish) and a perfectly cooked sunny side egg. While this pizza may be a little on the underweight end of the scale, it was delicious nonetheless.
Isnt' she just the loveliest little furball ever???
1 Cluny Road
Singapore Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre
Open daily from 7.30am to 9.30pm