Good news for our Muslim friends – Halia has gotten their halal certification since June this year! It is now an even more inclusive dining destination in the heart of our iconic Singapore Botanic Gardens.
The word ‘halia’ means ginger in Malay, which is very apt given its location beside the Ginger Garden. Its food has always been a mix of modern European cuisine with Asian influences, celebrating the unique food culture of our global city. With its halal-approved status comes a revamped menu, with dishes that are curated for communal sharing. Hence, in the menu, Halia does not categorise their food items as the usual ‘Appetisers’, ‘Mains’ etc, but ‘Light’, ‘Large’, ‘In Between’ depending on how big or small your group (or your appetite) is.
Being a halal-approved restaurant means Halia does not serve alcohol. Fret not, their drinks and mocktails are still pretty decent! Try the Halia Mint Berry ($7++), where the fresh ginger, mint, lime, blueberry and sprite make it a refreshing drink. The Banana and Almond ($7++) will make for a perfect breakfast smoothie, with all the nutritious ingredients of banana, almond, yogurt and honey to power start your day.
Under the ‘Light’ section, start with the Lightly Smoked Kingfish ($17++). It is served with smoked crushed pea, lemon dressing, salted black beans, almond flakes, lemongrass oil, and a side of chilled cucumber and ginger shooter mixed with yogurt. This dish was indeed light and palatable. The kingfish reminded me of sashimi because it just glides off your tongue, and I thought the smoked crushed pea was an ingenious idea!
The Caramelised Onion and Beetroot Tart ($17++) was a clever play of the sweet and savoury. The beetroot tasted naturally sweet, enhanced also by the caramelised onions, and they went very well with the feta cheese and the flaky puff pastry. I was very impressed with this as I didn’t know a beetroot dish could be so good!
In the ‘In Between’ section, we tried the Charred Caesar Salad ($12++). Besides the mainstays of a salad i.e. the romaine lettuce, pickled cucumber, croutons and shaved parmesan, this one has beef bacon and black garlic aioli, which elevated an ordinary salad to a new level. The black garlic gives an intense punch of flavour while the beef bacon was crunchy and provided more texture to the dish overall.
Moving on to the ‘Large’ dishes, the Lamp Rack and Braised Spice Islands Marinade Rump Stew ($46++) is one of their most well received dishes. It comes in two parts – the first is a sticky braised lamb rump stew served with a myriad of spices, bulgur wheat and feta cheese; the second is a tender rack of lamb with baby spinach and thyme jus. I preferred the lamb rump stew as the meat was surprisingly more tender and moist than the lamb rack. It was also braised and marinated very well! This portion is huge too – definitely living up to Halia’s ethos of communal sharing.
Next we had the Slow Cooked Tender Chicken Breast and Braised Minced Leg Potato Gratin ($29++). Likewise, this dish was presented in two parts too – the chicken breast on a plate and the potato gratin in a casserole dish. True to the name, the chicken breast was very tender, owing to it being slow cooked. It can potentially convert those drumstick-lovers out there to opt for this particular chicken breast! Special shoutout goes to the wok-hei cabbage served with it as well, for it brings out the local flavour in the dish. The potato gratin was very smooth, interrupted by the bits of minced chicken leg, which made the dish more complete.
The Pan-fried Barramundi ($28++) resembles a risotto dish, but it’s not. In fact, it’s pignolina, which is a small grain type of pasta. The Thai coconut cream provided the cream for the pignolina, while the green asparagus and cherry tomato made the dish more healthy. I like the fish which had a firm bite and was fresh. I thought the cream could be toned down a bit, as it made eating the pasta very jelat.
After all the above impressive dishes, the ‘Sweets’ continued to wow me. The Ginger Garden ($14++) consisted of orange blossom vanilla mousse, galangal poached apples, blood orange coulis, and ginger flower sorbet. It was presented so beautifully that I couldn’t bear to start eating it! I like how it’s infused with fruity flavours and their signature ginger, to make this a very unique dessert.
The Yuzu Gateaux ($13++) was a Yuzu-infused cake, piped with intense chocolate yuzu ganache, lait caramel mousse and yuzu foam. As you can tell, the yuzu flavours are rather strong here, and because of that, I personally am not a fan of it. But this is a good option for those who prefer something less sweet!
My most favourite dessert is the Fig Tart ($11++). The yogurt mousseline, caramelised fig, speculoos and tumeric foam sat on a thin bed of chocolate tart base. The figs were juicy and balanced out the yogurt, and the chocolate tart base was excellent! So thin and crisp, just like eating a very thin wafer! The presentation was lovely too, resembling flowers and grass.
Halia has certainly lived up to expectations and it is no wonder that they can be around since 2001 until now. I really like how the chef and his team puts so much attention and detail to the presentation, making it not just appealing to the eyes but palatable to the stomach as well. Not to mention the lush greenery surrounding the restaurant, this place is the ultimate dining destination with your families or friends.
Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569 (Enter via Tyersall Gate, Tyersall Avenue)
Telephone: +65 8444 1148 (Reservations not accepted on weekends and public
holidays from 10am to 5pm)
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday (except public holidays) 12pm – 9.30pm (last seating)
Friday & Eve of Public Holidays 12pm – 10pm (last seating)
Saturday 10am – 10pm (last seating)
Sunday & Public Holiday 10am – 9.30pm (last seating)
Brunch 10am – 5pm (weekends & public holidays)