Jardin Tan is a stylish cafe in the Royal Botanic Gardens' Conservatory, a popular place for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Apart from the big open space dining hall, the outdoor seating provides a lovely garden vibe. My favourite spot is in the back garden having lunch under the canopy of trees.
The cafe serves modern Vietnamese food. It is part of the Vue Group (Vue de Monde), and a high standard is guaranteed. Let's tuck in:
We always love sashimi, crudo or ceviche to start a meal. The raw kingfish with green nahm jim, pickled papaya and perilla is a perfect starter. The hot and sour flavours cut through the oiliness of the kingfish. The crispy turmeric silken tofu with tomato and tamarind sauce is a tasty vegetarian dish. The tofu is so crispy on the outside but so soft and squidgy on the inside. The sweet and sour tamarind sauce is on point.
Another crispy turmeric-infused fried calamari is a crowd-pleaser. Who doesn't love fried calamari? The beansprout, carrot and cucumber salad is an excellent complement.
The main course is the slow-cooked sticky lamb shoulder with chilli caramel. The meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. I like the lettuce cup lamb serving idea. So good!
The principle flavour profile of Southeast Asian cuisine is using fresh salad, herbs and sweet, sour and salty to complement the seafood and meat. All the savoury dishes here are exemplary of such food culture.
The lunch concluded in a refreshing watermelon granita with coconut yoghurt, a perfect summer dessert. I love it! I don't mind ordering a second serve just for myself.
Jardin Tan emphasises the farm-to-table philosophy, using locally grown organic produce. The food is perfectly cooked, and the staff is friendly. Such casual and lively vibes keep attracting my husband and I to go back regularly. I hope you will pop in after the Gardens walk and spend a lovely afternoon there enjoying the delicious food and drinks. Bon appetit!
Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141