Review: The Halia

Review: The Halia

Nestled in the heart of iconic Singapore Botanic Garden’s Ginger Garden is The Halia, with a menu of European tastes and Asian flavours

Nestled amongst the foliage in the heart of the iconic Singapore Botanic Garden’s Ginger Garden is The Halia. Helmed by head chef Chef Ciaran Armstrong who hails from Ireland, The Halia (halia being the Malay word for ginger), incorporates Euro-centric tastes with Asian ones, and with the Ginger Garden being in such close proximity, it’s no surprise that the restaurant’s dishes incorporate some elements of the spice.

Founded in 2001, The Halia gained its Halal certification in July 2017 as an effort to be more inclusive and catering to a wider dining audience. Of course, transitioning to a Halal-certified restaurant meant that there were some changes to be had in the ingredients used, which was a challenge in itself. “Nevertheless,” Chef Ciaran says. “We do our utmost to source the best halal ingredients from around the world, and through cooking techniques and ingredient combinations, bring out the best flavours in a dish.”

Lemongrass and Ginger Prawn Salad. Photo: The Halia

The Halia’s menu introduces new ways of utilising ginger, a very prominent spice in Asian cooking. The ginger flower, known for its use in rojak and assam laksa, is featured in the sweet and sour dressing for their Lemongrass & Ginger Prawn Salad ($16++).

The prawns, plump and marinated in lemongrass and ginger, were grilled, resulting in a crunchy crust that contrasted well with the silkiness of the glass noodles.

Halia’s Singapore–style Chilli Crab Spaghettini. Photo: The Halia

The Halia also spins a fresh take on the chilli crab, a dish that is known as one of Singapore’s iconic dishes. Say goodbye to any need for shell cracking as chunks of crabmeat are incorporated into a sweet and tangy sauce before being brought to diners as Halia’s Singapore–style Chilli Crab Spaghettini ($26++). A note for those who might not be able to handle spice -this dish definitely packs on the heat!

Paperbag Oven-baked Halibut Fillet. Photo: The Halia

Coming in highly recommended is the Paperbag Oven-baked Halibut Fillet ($33++), which features a fillet of halibut marinating in a soy and ginger broth. Served on the side is sesame Japanese rice topped with wakame and truffle aioli. Hot tip: Let the halibut steep in the broth for a bit before eating together with the rice and truffle aioli. Then sit back and enjoy the umami flavours wash over you!

Sticky Toffee Pudding. Photo: Atiqah Rosle

The Halia has a variety of desserts for you to choose from, such as their citrusy Yuzu Gateaux ($11++) and the Die Die Must Have Chocolate($10++). However, the one dessert that is close to Chef Ciaran’s heart is the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($10++). Dates, butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream come together in a pudding reminiscent of an airy pound cake that does not seem to turn stodgy even after soaking up the butterscotch sauce. The sea salt helps in toning down the sweetness of the sauce which would have been too much.

At the end of it all, cool down with one of the restaurant’s many herbal concoctions. Launched in collaboration with Singapore Botanic Garden’s Library of Botany and Horticulture, The Halia Herbarium uses the herbs found in the gardens to create exclusive drinks packed with nutritional goodness.

The Cumin, Ginger, Cinnamon 'CGC'($8++) is a spiced beverage that acts as an all-natural digestif and regulates the blood sugar in your body, making it perfect as an after-meal drink.

Another favourite is The Lychee and Thyme ($8++), a combination of Healing Garden tea, lychee juice, thyme infusion and raspberries that has been said to be a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats.

Thanks to its unique location, The Halia is an award-winning restaurant that you would definitely want to bring your partner to for a romantic night out (there’s even a live jazz band playing on Sunday evenings!).

And not just that, families and friends get together on the weekends to have brunch after traipsing through the garden, Singapore’s first-ever UNESCO World Heritage site.

Address: 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden Singapore Botanic Garden, 259569

Tel: 8444 1148

Opening hours and more: See here

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