Halia celebrates its Halal certification with a new menu

Tucked in the lush foliage of the Ginger Garden, Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens was established in 2001 and has served over a million customers with its modern European cuisine with Asian influences. In June 2017, Halia marked another significant milestone in its 16-year history and has attained Halal certification. To celebrate the Halal certification, Executive Chef Ciaran Armstrong, has introduced new additions to the menu.

Under the "Light" section, we started with the Lightly Smoked Kingfish ($17++) served with smoked crushed pea, lemon dressing, salted black beans, almond flakes and lemongrass oil. The dish comes with a side of chilled cucumber and gingershoots that diners can mix into the kingfish. While the kingfish slices itself did not have a strong fishy taste and the combination of dressing further served to  conceal that. Light on the palate, the dish was refreshing and whet the appetite for the rest of the entourage to unfold.

Under the "In Between" section, we had Fresh Boston Bay Mussels ($22++), that was served in a coconut and ginger flower broth, chili, lime and grilled focaccia. The mussels were plump and extremely fresh; and the broth tasted almost like an offspring of Laksa and Tom Yum. Surprisingly as it might be, my favourite component of the dish was the grilled focaccia. The homemade bread had herbs incorporated, perfectly charred on the surface but still fluffy and moist on the inside. The combination of the broth and toasted bread made for a simple yet delightful affair.

Moving on the "Large Plates", we had the Lamb Rack and Braised Spice Islands Marinade Rump Stew ($46++), Slow Cooked Tender Chicken Bread and Braised Minced Leg potato Gratin ($29++) and Pan-fried Barramundi ($28++).

The lamb dish comes in two parts: the first is a sticky braised lamb rump stew served with a variety of spices, bulgar wheat and feta cheese while the second is a rack of lamb with baby spinach and thyme jus. Due to the strong gamey taste of lamb, I was a bit apprehensive, but Halia made me a convert. I tried the stew on its now first and was surprised how there was no hint of gamey-ness. The stew tasted very similar to a rendang while the lamb chunks were extremely tender and could be cut through with a fork. Although I enjoyed the stew thoroughly, the lamb rack was the game changer for me. The lamb was nicely seared to a medium well and even though all of its juicy goodness was retained in the meat, the gamey odour was no where to be found. If I ever had to recommend a place for someone to approach lamb, Halia would be the first on my list.

The Slow-cooked Chicken Breast that was served with "wok-hee" cabbage and mushroom sauce was truly one of a kind. Never had I tried chicken breast this tender and moist that I almost mistook it for chicken thigh. While the braised minced leg potato gratin seems normal, a taste of it would reveal the magnitude of effort put into its preparation. The generous use of butter in the gratin allowed it to be extremely fragrant. The potatoes used was mashed extremely thoroughly, allowing the gratin to enjoyed with ease.

The Panfried Barramundi was served with Thai coconut cream, green asparagus, cherry tomato, pignolia and basil oil. Flaky and not over-cooked, the Thai coconut cream offered a new perspective to how Barramundi can be served rather than the usual mix of lemon, shallot and ginger.

We ended the meal with the two items from the "Sweet" section, Fig Tart ($11++) and Halia's classic dessert - The Ginger Garden ($14++). The Fig Tart comprises of yogurt Mousseline, speculoos, caramelised fig and tumeric foam. Although this is my first time trying figs, I enjoyed the caramelisation on the figs and how the tart yogurt and tumeric tied in with its inherent sweetness. All the other components of the tart seemed to be specially concocted to keep the figs on its high pedestal. The Ginger Garden has orange blossom vanilla mousse, galangal poached apples, blood orange coulis and a ginger flower sorbet. I found the sober to be quite strange initially but after a few revisits, took a liking to it. The amount of ginger used in the sorbet was just right, enough to highlight some of its fragrance without being too overwhelming or choking.

In conclusion, I throughly enjoyed every dish I had at Halia and would certainly recommend it to my Muslim friends who yearn to enjoy Halal European style dishes. Needless to say, Halia will also be on my go-to-list for any celebrations in the future.

The Halia
1 Cluny Road
Ginger Garden (Enter via Tyersall Gate, Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Garden
t: +65 8 444 1148

Operating Hours:
Mon - Fri: 9am - 10pm
Sat - Sun: 10am - 10pm

Words and photos by Belinda Yong who wishes that every time of the day is food o' clock. She loves trying new cuisines and creations,  and prays hard for a higher metabolism.

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