Gourmet Pleasures In The Ginger Garden
Halia, which is Malay for ‘ginger’, is nestled within the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This aptly named restaurant is familiar to foodies in Singapore, with a reputation for its good food, excellent service, and unique ambience.
A tranquil sea of green greeted me as I walked into Halia. I felt as if I had been whisked far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and it was hard to imagine that Orchard Road was but a ten-minute walk away. Even the lunchtime heat seemed negligible once we were ensconced in the cool, shaded al fresco dining area; there is also an air-conditioned section for those who prefer dining indoors.
Fine dining comes at a price, and Halia is no exception. So imagine my delight when I discovered the lunch set menu, which promised to be excellent value. Diners have a choice of the two-course set lunch, comprising an appetiser, a main course, and coffee/tea, or the three-course set lunch which includes all the above and a dessert.
I started with the sautéed seasonal mushrooms with poached egg, while my dining companion had the black pepper soft shell crab. The mushrooms were amazingly flavourful, and the soft shell crab was crisp on the outside but soft and fleshy within.
Next came our mains. My Kurobuta pork and Portobello mushroom burger proved to be a delightful combination: a thick, spice-infused meat patty with a succulent juicy mushroom. My companion greatly enjoyed the tender meat of her boneless spring chicken – without the usual hassle of dealing with bones.
The food portions looked deceptively small when served, but we felt incredibly sated by this point in the meal. However, we could not leave without trying Halia’s famous desserts.
The Cappuccino Dunking Pit is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. At the instructions of the serving staff, we ‘dunked’ our biscotti-like brownie sticks into the layers of chocolate, vanilla cream & ice-blended cappuccino. The result? A delectable blend of velvety-rich flavours.
A meal at Halia would not seem complete without having tasted any ginger. We ordered the ginger nougat, which initially roused my scepticism. Would the ginger flavour completely overwhelm my tastebuds’ memory of the preceding dishes? My fears were unfounded: the intriguing blend of cream and nougat came with the mildest hint of ginger, leaving a delightful aftertaste. It was a most refreshing way to conclude a satisfying meal.
The dining experience was complemented by lovely service from the knowledgeable servers, who were forthcoming but never pushy with their recommendations. And an added bonus was our other dining ‘companion’, the frisky squirrel scampering on Halia’s rooftop.
As we left Halia and the Ginger Garden, the fragrance of the ginger flowers wafted in our wake – beckoning us invitingly to return for seconds, and perhaps even more.
The two-course and three-course set lunches at Halia cost $28 ++ and $32 ++ respectively.
The set lunch menu is available on weekdays (except public holidays) from 12 noon to 2 pm.
For reservations and more information, please call 6476 6711.
You can also find out more at www.halia.com.sg.
Take part in our contest for your chance at winning a 3-course set lunch for two at the Halia!
By Eta Lauw
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