The Halia @ Singapore Botanic Gardens

Halia at the Singapore Botanic Gardens is an iconic landmark nestled within the only tropical garden to ever be conferred the title of an UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its fusion fare and lush landscapes of greenery with a ginger garden at its backyard, Halia recently underwent an overhaul, both exteriorly in its decor and interiorly in its menu. Even the uniforms of the service staff have been replaced with batik fabric, as the restaurant stays true to its Asian roots and culture.

We dropped by a week ago to try out some of their new dishes and started with a Goat’s Cheese & Honey Mousse $16 for an appetizer. While I was initially apprehensive about the strong distinct lingering taste that is usually characteristic of Goat’s Cheese, I was pleasantly surprised at how effortlessly it could be used as a spread on the crisp slices of bread and after topping it off with some fresh tomato salsa, I concluded that this starter was indeed done tastefully, literally and figuratively. Must try if you are up for something different.

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Moving on to the Lemongrass & Ginger Tiger Prawn Salad $19 for a touch of Thai, this bowl admittedly impressed with its colour palette and refreshing notes of sweet mango and the signature ginger flower dressing. Made a tad more substantial with the addition of the al dente glass noodles, this salad was certainly a crowd-pleaser.

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One for the weight-watchers, the Tower of Silken Tofu Tempura $28 was a hearty and healthy choice. A stack made up of grilled baby eggplant, portobello mushroom & sauteed spinach, bathed in Japanese inspired light soy, ginger & seaweed broth, this dish had “fusion” written all over it and quite frankly, was satisfyingly enjoyable with a contrast of textures from the fried skin of the tofu to the wilted softness of the spinach and meatiness of the portobello.

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A mainstay on the menu, this Paperbag Oven-baked Halibut Fillet $40 is a well-loved classic and judging from its rustic presentation, it was not difficult to understand why. Obviously Japanese-inspired, with the use of Mirin sake infused in the ginger broth and the accompaniment of sesame Japanese rice, the highlight had to be the meat of the Halibut, which was fittingly firm, subtly sweet and rightfully flaky. Add a dip of truffle mayonnaise to the mix and this tray simply stole our hearts.

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The Twice-cooked Spatchcock of Spring Chicken $35 rubbed in a marinate of smoked paprika was hard to fault with its moist meat and tender bite. Portion was also good for sharing.

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For desserts, The Other Harbour $12 is a new item on the menu and its floral touches of petals and pomelo appealed to my femininity and penchant for all things pretty. Made up of mango mousse, chunks of mango, yoghurt sherbet and drizzled with passionfruit sauce for a sourish finish, I am sure that this will be a hit with the ladies.

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The Die Die Must Have Chocolate $12 as its name describes, is only for the chocolate fans and not for the faint-hearted. Thick quality chocolate with an addictive crunch of the cacao nibs tuile, further complimented by a scoop of chocolate raspberry ganache to balance out the sweetness, this dessert was excitingly exuberant in taste and sinfully good.

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For a spin on an old-school Teochew favourite, the “Orh Nee” $12 is a tribute done well with its frozen slab of home-made yam parfait. Unfortunately the pumpkin puree served alongside did not do justice to it at all and honestly, the yam could have and would have held its own as a standalone.

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Overall, the food at Halia has proved to be consistently charming over the years and looking at the crowds that continually flock here even on the weekdays, this restaurant, just like its location, is truly a gem worth visiting.

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1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden
(enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569

For reservations: (65) 8444 1148 or email general.hsbg@thehalia.com
(Reservations not accepted for brunch)

Opening hrs:
Mon to Thur: 12pm – 9.30pm
Fri & Eve of PH: 12pm – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 10pm
Sun & PH: 10am – 9.30pm

Singapore

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