Bee’s Knees @ The Garage, Botanic Gardens: Find a Winning Formula for Cafes, then Cut and Paste

When I arrived at Bee’s Knees, part of The Garage, at Botanic Gardens, I found it so familiar. Didn’t I just visit somewhere similar last week – Wildseed Cafe?

They have the same formula: a small, cramp cafe at a corner of a historical house amidst verdure; the cafe is merely to showcase the event space, a destination space where people have to drive, a space likely to hold weddings.

After some googling, both Wildseed Cafe and Bee’s Knees belong to the 1-Group. Even the service is similar– chao bin.

Bee’s Knees means “the height of excellence” but since their cafes are so similar, I guess all their cafes are heights? I dunno. Why change a winning formula, right? (I wonder if all venues are so similar, then are the weddings held here special?)

Latte ($6) and Americano ($5)

One thing that differs is the menu. Here, the menu (sandwiches, pasta, and pizzas) seems more “common” than Wildseed. The food do have Asian influence, but then again, such food is so ubiquitous I don’t consider it as special. The coffee is also generic here, without any unique traits.

Beef Cheeky Cheese Fries ($16)

They have several types of fries (Yes, truffle tries at $12). For the what people called cheeseburger fries, they use beef cheeks, which is fatter and you can taste the beef fat. Not too bad but fries get soggy real fast.

Calamari ($14)

The calamari definitely taste like frozen squids, rubbery. And for $14, there are fewer than 10 rings? I also don’t like calamari with this type of crust because the crust dislodges from the squid when you bite into it, and you can pull the squid out without eating the batter. It feels like I’m eating two entities, instead of a whole. However, it comes with a nice chinchalok coriander.

Laksa Pasta ($20)

The laksa pasta, which uses linguine, is one of the most popular dishes here, evident from IG. The four tiger prawns are rather stunning, and seem to give good value. But the laksa is disappointing. It’s bland without an iota of heat, and this is coming from someone who cannot eat spicy food. The sauce tastes like an emulsion of tomato and weak coconut.

My friend commented that the last time she was here, the laksa pasta was excellent, so maybe this was an off day for them. Quality control, please.

Truffle Carbonara ($18)

I like that the truffle carbonara has arugula leaves on it so that the bitterness can undercut the heaviness. But there isn’t any heaviness. In fact, like the laksa, it can be more saltier.

Although Bee’s Knees and Wildseed have similar concept, it seems that Wildseed executes it better than Bee’s Knees. We spent $125 for four persons.


Bee’s Knees @ The Garage
Singapore Botanic Gardens, 50 Cluny Park Rd, Singapore 257488
t: +65 9815 3213
8am – 10pm daily

Food: 5.75/10
Service: 5.5/10
Decor / ambience: 6.5/10
Value / Price: 6/10

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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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