The Halia at Botanic Gardens’ Weekday Easy Breakfast

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Weekday Easy Breakfast Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Weekday Easy Breakfast: 9am to 11am Mon-Fri except PH
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Favourite Dishes: Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), 62.5deg Poached Eggs (S$18), The Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) 

Okay so in my last post I totally forgot to ask – did you guys go for the Backstreet Boys concert two Saturdays ago?!?!?! I diddddd and it was great, although I truly preferred the one from 2015 because I felt they were fresher then. Plus the venue was the Star Performing Arts Centre at the Star Vista, which was smaller and much more intimate! They just seemed more tired this time, and Brian was struggling to get his voice out – it was kind of heartbreaking actually ugh. I think it’s their Vegas residency tiring them out! Did you guys know they’ll have to perform 26 shows within 1 year from Mar 2017 to Feb 2018? Pretty intense huh.

Anyway, they still managed to put up a good show and I had a memorable night with my girls! I hope it was just as fun for those of you who went, sauna feels notwithstanding.

Sooooooo I was invited to try the new Weekday Easy Breakfast menu at The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty tragic that I had to take AM leave for this menu that would only be accessible to folks living the dream and able to have leisurely breakfast outside in the morning, but ok no whining.

Again, you guys can check out the menu here.

We dove right in to the Chilli Crab & Eggs (S$14) which consisted of chilli crab dip with two 62.5 deg poached eggs and some crostinis for dipping:

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Chilli Crab & Eggs (S$14) – 9.5/10

OMG guys this was actually my favourite item on their Weekday Easy Breakfast menu for real. The chilli crab dip was tangy, mildly spicy and came with a generous portion of crab meat. The sauce with the runny eggs and the crispy crostini made for a dream combination. I liked that because it was crostini rather than bread, it made the dish lighter and more suitable for breakfast. They probably should do a mantou option though for those more accustomed to heavier breakfasts!! UNFFF I love a good fluffy mantou bun. 9.5/10

On a side note, did you guys know that for their regular menu Chilli Crab Pasta, it is a little sweeter by default to cater to international tastebuds, but you can inform your waiter to make it a little spicier to suit your preference? I think I would def do that next time as I don’t like it quite as sweet.

Anyway we moved on to the 62.5 Deg Poached Eggs (S$18), feauring sautéed spinach, smoked capsicum & truffle salsa, and two perfectly poached eggs on top of a thick slice of toast:

The_Halia_Poached_Eggs

62.5 deg Poached Eggs (S$18) – 9/10

So 62.5deg is the precise temperature at which time the whites of the egg cooks, but not the yolk, so you get the runniest of eggs yummmmmm. And my friend is going to call me a basic brunch bish for liking this (you know who you are, Z) but I dooooo!! I loved the whole combination of runny eggs with the savoury sautéed spinach and the smokey salsa. It was balanced, nutritious, and delicious. A little bit steep for what it is though. 9/10

Next up was the Smashed Avocado on Toasted Sourdough (S$12 per slice/ $22 for 2 slices), consisting of avocado, tomatoes and feta cheese on a bed of sourdough:

The_Halia_Avocado_Toast

Smashed Avocado on Toasted Sourdough (S$12 per slice or $22 per 2 slices) – 6/10

Yet another millennial brunch staple, the avocado toast has gotten a pretty bad rep among the older folks of a more… crotchety disposition. Like the Australian millionaire who implied earlier this year that the younger generation can’t afford to buy property because they’re frittering their money away on fancy toasts and overpriced coffee (eyeroll). You guys can read all about it here lol.

BUT I LOVE AVOCADO TOAST! When done right, that is, and unfortunately I didn’t quite like The Halia’s version. The smashed avocado combined with the juices from the diced tomato to make the bread pretty soggy. Plus who wants that much tomato on their avocado toast, and in such giant chunks?! Please, no. The cut chilli with the feta cheese thankfully salvaged this dish from becoming a total mess. 6/10

Some side comments – the best avocado toast I’ve had was from Sydney – the avocados (and generally most produce) are just so, so fresh in Australia, and sliced rather than mashed. This version had some lime, chilli and coriander (my fave omg) so altogether it was pretty friggin delishussss.

We then had a selection of yet more Toast with a Trio of Spreads (S$12), consisting of  sourdough, baguette, brioche & focaccia, served with pineapple ginger jam, homemade kaya & honeycomb butter:

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Toast with Trio of Spreads (S$12) – 6/10

OK I love toast, but I think we were so busy trying to take photos of the food that by the time I got around to eating it, the toast was pretty stale and not great. I can imagine though if they were still freshly toasted, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they would taste pretty good.

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L-R: Honeycomb butter, pineapple ginger jam, and homemade kaya

My favourite spread was for sure the pineapple ginger jam, which tasted a little like the pineapple tart jam, yum! Plus the hint of ginger spice prevented the spread from becoming too cloying. Not a big fan of the kaya which, while being fragrant, also possessed a slick texture not unlike mayo (which I really do not like). Pass on the kaya. The honeycomb butter was also not really to my liking. The texture felt like butter lite, or like whipped cream plus butter, and the taste wasn’t buttery enough to balance the sweetness from the honeycomb. Pass. 6/10

Another side note – my favourite butter ever is Pepe Saya butter which I tasted for the first time in Sydney a couple of years ago. UGH THE BEST. I always buy a couple of wheels back home with me when I go over for work.

Finally to close our savoury mains, we tried the Braised Wagyu Masala Beef (S$22), which is a playful rendition of Nasi Lemak, using wagyu beef for the ‘rendang’ and paprika hazelnuts instead of anchovies, served alongside coconut pandan rice and topped with a sunny side up!

The_Halia_Braised_Wagyu_Masala_Beef

Braised Wagyu Masala Beef – 6.5/10

Oh boy I had high hopes for this dish, particularly for the beef, but I found it quite a letdown. I thought the beef was a little dry and not as tender – I was really expecting some melt-in-your-mouth savoury deliciousness exploding in my mouth for real, but this was a little underwhelming. I really liked the sambal, thankfully – it’s made with gingerflower and was really light and tangy with just enough heat. I also dug the pickles on the side, those were really yummy too. I think once you get everything together in one spoonful, it’ll taste great, but the beef remains disappointing. 6.5/10

We moved on to the sweeter dishes starting with the Superfood Granola (S$12) with Greek yoghurt, poached blueberries, kiwis and honey:

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Superfood Granola (S$12) – 9/10

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Mmmm i liked this a lot! The yoghurt wasn’t overly tart, and there were bits of chewy dried fruit within the granola for added texture/sweetness. You can sweeten the granola to suit your taste, so that’s good. Super delicious and nutritious. One thing though is that I thought S$12 for granola is a little steep, but I guess you can indulge once in a while. 9/10

Finally we tried the Organic Chia Seed Porridge (S$13) with strawberry and mango smoothie, fresh fruits, dried papaya and kiwi:

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Organic Chia Seed Porridge (S$13) – 5/10

Oof as a matter of personal taste I truly did not like this. It was just like mouthfuls of mush, and everything tasted like candy, so maybe both kids and their grandparents would have enjoyed this more haha. Jokes aside, this was def one of the weak points in their breakfast offerings to me. 5/10

ANYWAY the drinks were so good!!! My absolute fave was the Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) with vanilla extract, yoghurt and honey. It’s so delicious without being too thick or sweet, and comes with dehydrated yoghurt around the rim of the cup for that refreshing tang.

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Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) – 10/10

I also tried the exceedingly pretty Lychee & Thyme drink (S$8) which came deconstructed with a side of thyme syrup and two lychees:
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Lychee & Thyme Drink (S$8) – 8/10

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Gorge.

So that was my take on the Halia’s Easy Breakfast menu; I’d say this would be a terrific breakfast option for a business meeting, or for people who an work remotely. For me though if I had the morning off I’d much rather stay in or get like kaya toast (steamed versh) from downstairs or something haha. The 2 items that would draw me back would probably be the Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), and the 62.5 deg Poached Eggs (S$18).

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Weekday Easy Breakfast Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Weekday Easy Breakfast: 9am to 11am Mon-Fri except PH
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Favourite Dishes: Chilli Crab Eggs (S$14), 62.5deg Poached Eggs (S$18), The Banana & Almond Drink (S$7) 

Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park II

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Dinner Buffet Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7/10 (for the Anchan Buffet)
Recommended dishes: Rendang Prata, Banana Cheese Prata, Durian Sticky Rice
Remarks: The Anchan Buffet is available Thu-Sat at S$42++ per pax.
Introductory Offer: Enjoy 15% off from now till 30 Dec 2017!

Hey guys! How is everyone doing? Sorry I’ve been pretty MIA from my blog – I just haven’t had time to do a proper entry – work and social life have been pretty crazy. When I come home most nights, I really have to muster up all the energy I have left to wash up and then watch some Rick and Morty on Netflix to de-stress before sleeping lol. Have you guys watched any of this animated series? PLEASE GO TRY it’s so so great and funny and kooky. I’M PICKLE RIIIIICKKKK.

Anyway I’m here to talk about the newly-launched Anchan Buffet at the Blue Jasmine restaurant at Park Hotel Farrer Park! As you guys might have read, I was there last month in September trying out their à la carte menu and REALLY liked most of the food (click here for that review).

Let me take you through my experience this time around for their dinner buffet 🙂

I) Ambience

OK so this was my second time here and I KEEP forgetting to take photos of the interior, sorry! The inside seating is really cosy with beautiful floor tiles and well-spaced out tables. The real star of this restaurant, though, is the beautiful outside seating!! I love the outdoor ambience of this place, for real! It gets super romantic especially at dusk – just look at my unfiltered photos right here:

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Dreamy

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Gosh this restaurant would be the perfect venue for a really intimate wedding reception or like an anniversary party book-out.

Ambience verdict: 10/10

II) Starters

They had a decent spread of starters – a mix of cold and hot ones. From the cold starters I only tried the mango salad, which I love! I mean you really gotta strategize when you’re at buffets and try to load up on food that you truly want, so I skipped some starters.

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I love mango salad!!

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The two salads I did not try LOL

For warm starters there was the pandan chicken, the amazing tom yum taro chips, prawn in popiah skin, tom yum soup and also fried chicken wings.

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A lil bit of errthang. Clockwise from left: Tom yum soup, pandan chicken, fried chicken wing, tom yum taro chips, prawn in popiah skin, mango salad and some prawn crackers!

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All kinds of sauces and dips for your food!

Starters Verdict: I was not terribly impressed with the starters – there were a number of fried items which were not crispy anymore by the time we had them, as they had been left out in the open for a while. I spoke to the Manager and she told me that they had prepared the food early and hence the food had been sitting for about an hour or so. Disappointing, but she says they have tried to rectify this issue so the starters should be fresher by the time you guys try! Also the taro chips are the bomb tho, don’t skip those. 5/10

III) Live Station – Prata and Beef Noodles

So besides the spread inside the restaurant, the Anchan buffet also presents you with a live station out in the al fresco area. They had the Thai Beef Noodle Soup which the staff would cook for you on the spot. You can then customize it with a whole set of condiments including chilli powder, fried garlic, some basil chilli sauce, and coriander.

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Condiments for the heaping 💯

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Voila! The final product. That beef ball is evvvvrything.

The noodles were unfortunately undercooked, which is really quite a basic thing to get wrong, so I was a little peeved. Thankfully the soup broth itself was pretty tasty! It was a little on the sweeter side as it follows the northern Thai cuisine style, so I would recommend more chilli powder if you want your broth spicy. The beef slices were a little tough, while the beef ball was surprisingly good and succulent.

Let’s not forget they also had a roti prata station serving Roti Prata with Rendang Curry, and also Roti Prata with Banana & Cheese unfffffff.

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Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Prata_Rendang

LOOK HOW CRISPY THE PRATA ISSSSSS ARGH 👅💦

The prata was a flaky marvel – crispy outside yet fluffy inside. The rendang was really tasty and rich, but the beef they used was rather tough, which kind of ruined my enjoyment argh.

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Banana_Cheese_Prata

Literally my favourite of the lot. For real. I cannot deal with writing about this and seeing it on my screen.

OMG GUYS the Prata with Banana and Cheese was the bee’s knees for real!! I mean, could I easily make this myself? Yes. But would I pay to eat this outside so I don’t have to make it myself? Also yes. I mean if you’ve already paid for the buffet, why not be utilitarian about it and go for whatever makes you happy regardless of whether “I can make this at home” or “but this would cost next to nothing at the hawker centre”. Anyway if I come back for this buffet I’m probably making the prata station my main stop!

Live Station Verdict: I would def recommend trying out both the noodles and the two prata flavours! My favourite is fsho the Prata with Banana and Cheese tho 💯 For the beef noodles perhaps tell them to cook the noodles a breath longer next time. On a separate note I think live stations and cold stations are the best parts of any buffet – you get your food freshly prepared for you in the former, and in the latter they don’t need to be heated/warm to taste good! 9/10

III) Mains

I counted 5 mains of varying proteins to go with the blue jasmine rice – roast chicken, fried seabass, lamb massman, prawn curry, and wok-fried vegetables  Did you guys know they dye the rice naturally with the dye from the blue jasmine flower?! Pretty cool eh.

Take a look at the photos of the mains here:

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I reeeeaallly like this colour on the rice haha it’s so pretty.

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An army of mains waiting to be eaten lol

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Mmmmm roast chicken with that delicious northern-thai dried chilli “nam jim jaew” dipping sauce

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One more roast chicken photo for good measure

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What is Pae Sah style?!

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Massaman Curry

OK so a break in the photos here to talk about the origins of the word Massaman – I just read this on Wikipedia:

Massaman or matsaman is not a native Thai word. It is generally thought to refer to the Muslims, with earlier writers from the mid-19th century calling the dish “Mussulman curry”; Mussulman being an archaic form of the word Muslim.[2][3]

Other theories contend that massaman is a southern Thai dish, influenced by Malay and Indian cuisine,[5] or that its name is derived from the Malay word masam, which means “sour”.[citation needed]

I live for random trivia like this lol. Anyway more photos:

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Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Wok_Fried_Ridge_Gourd

So I got a little bit of everything on a plate to try them like nasi padang lol:

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A little of Monica in my life, a little bit of Erica by my side (Basically a bit of everything)

Mains Verdict:  In all honesty, I much preferred the mains from the a la carte menu – probably because they’re freshly prepared instead of being cooked in batches for a buffet. Very, very surprisingly, I think my favourite of the lot was the Wok Fried Ridge Gourd!! The gourds were super juicy and tasty, yet light, which balanced out the heaviness of the other mains well. The roast chicken and yellow curry prawns were decent components, but the seabass and lamb unfortunately were not memorable for me. I would def load up on the prata and maybe go with 2-3 dishes for the mains if I went for the Anchan buffet the next time. 6/10

IV) Dessert

Ahh, dessert. There was quite a variety of cakes and kuehs on offer, as you can see below:

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Cakes

Again, I took a bit of everything and honestly all of them were pretty yummy, especially the kueh tako (extreme left) and the brown/coconutty thing that looks (and tasted) like kueh kaswi (below the tako)

 

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Panna cotta texture was a little too creamy for me but otherwise okay

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DIY coconut soft serve!! I love.

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Please don’t be like my lame friend who made us one cup each but NEGLECTED to add peanuts/toppings to our coconut soft serve. They really enhance the whole dessert!

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Fruits which I truly did NOT touch at all lol I was SO full by the end.

The pièce-de-résistance though was the Durian Sticky Rice, which was an irreverent take on the more ubiquitous mango sticky rice dessert:

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UNFFFFFFF YASSSSSSSSSSSS

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The Durian Sticky Rice station, with the thick and delicious durian sauce on the left, and the two bowls of sticky rice in blue jasmine, as well as brown rice colours. You can spot the refreshing lemongrass drink on the right which helps quench your thirst/cut the sweetness of everything.

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Ultra-sweet teh tarik (ahem the way I like it) from the teh tarik station where the staff pulls the drink right in front of you!

Dessert Verdict: OK so I think the desserts were quite delightful, and of course my absolute favourite was the Durian Sticky Rice. I’m not usually a fan of eating durian outside the home, or for that matter eating durian derivatives, but this was really quite scrumptious and comforting. I do wish they would serve like Thai Ice Tea ice cream or something lol 8.5/10

Overall verdict: I would recommend you guys try the Anchan buffet if any of these things that I’ve just talked about appeals to you. After the introductory discount and factoring in GST and service charge, it’ll only cost you guys S$42 all-in to try all the food on offer! Otherwise, I would definitely encourage you guys to check out my review of the à la carte menu here and go for that instead 🙂 7/10

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Dinner Buffet Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7/10 (for the Anchan Buffet)
Recommended dishes: Rendang Prata, Banana Cheese Prata, Durian Sticky Rice
Remarks: The Anchan Buffet is available Thu-Sat at S$42++ per pax.
Introductory Offer: Enjoy 15% off from now till 30 Dec 2017!

Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Anchan Buffet Dinner Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Recommended dishes: Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20), Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), Glass Noodles (S$16), Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26)

Hey guys! As we speak I’m sitting in a hotel room at the Ritz, where my friends and I are having a staycay for a joint bachelorette party and a farewell party for our friend who’s leaving for London to do her masters! 😭 We’re having some down time now so I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up on my reviews 🙂

Last week I had the privilege of trying out the halal-certified Thai restaurant at Park Hotel Farrer Park called Blue Jasmine. It was my first time going to the hotel, which is situated at Farrer Park MRT station on the Northeast Line (exit A I think?).

Blue_Jasmine_Logo

Located on the 5th floor of Park Hotel Farrer Park, Blue Jasmine has both indoor and outdoor seating – indoors is of course comfortable and air conditioned, although in the evenings the al fresco area is also really lovely and romantic!

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Beautiful shadows on the ceiling!

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Super romantic outdoor seating

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Blue Jasmine is helmed by the Malaysian Chef Bright, who spent 8 years cooking in Thailand before coming to Singapore. He brings his pedigree and regional experience to the kitchen, together with his 2 chefs Khun Nipaporn and Khun Donnapa, both of whom hail from Chiang Mai.

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Chef Bright, pictured here with his sous chef Khun Nipaporn (they are so cute together!)

Here’s a look at the menu:

So as you can see, we had a choice of either going for the semi-buffet, in which case we would be served a main and still get to help ourselves to the buffet spread – or, we could go for the à la carte menu. Naturally we tried both options to get a more complete experience.

To kick off the à la carte menu tasting, we first tried the Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), consisting of grilled beef slices in thai herbs and smoked chilli dressing:

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Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20) – 10/10

OK no kidding, this Tiger Cry Beef Salad was SO, so delicious and life-changing. The Australian beef strips were perfectly cooked and totally tender,  filling our mouths with a sweet/spicy/tangy taste with every bite. I could def taste a hint of lime and coriander, which i loved. I can’t emphasize enough how good this dish was ugh please go try it. I was so tempted to finish the whole plate but had to stop myself lest I got way too full to try the other dishes. 10/10

Chef Bright also recommended the Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20) which we tried with the red paste option (as opposed to clear option):

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Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20) – 10/10

Wow guys, this soup was really robust, rich and bursting with flavour! To top things off, it was chockfull of plump prawns and oyster mushrooms. I had no complaints about this soup. 10/10

Next up on the starter list was the Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), featuring minced chicken balls coated in crispy ground rice, roasted with chilli and kaffir lime leaves, and served with a nam jim jeow dip made from Thai crushed red peppers and tamarind:

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Larb Chicken Balls (S$12) – 9/10

Yassss the chicken balls were also really yummy! Underneath the crunchy toasted rice coating, the minced chicken was real juicy and when you dip it in the spicy dip, it just adds more punch. We asked Chef Bright what larb meant (because it sounds frighteningly like lard lol) and he says larb dishes usually comprise some sort of minced meat chopped together with fish sauce, chilli flakes and crispy ground rice. Anyway, loved these chicken balls. 9/10

Blue_Jasmine_Chicken_Larb_Ball

Mmm look how juicy

To round off the appetizers we tried the Larb Salmon Salad (S$18) consisting of cured salmon with crushed tomatoes, lemongrass and red shallots tossed in a spicy tamarind dressing and served with puffed rice crackers:

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Larb Salmon (S$18) – 7/10

I really love salmon anything (cured, smoked, raw, grilled, pan-seared, breaded) and while I liked the cured salmon taste, I was not a fan of the shallots because I hate onions and that raw onion taste argh. I like the idea of using the rice crackers as a bed for the salmon, so you eat it like a canapé, but I found these ones a little too thick and unwieldy. Honestly I’d much rather like regular fish keropok or at least a thinner version of these rice crackers. 7/10

From the Rice & Noodles section of the menu, we tried the Glass Noodles (S$16) which came with prawns, asparagus, sea acacia (called cha-om in Thai!) and black fungus mushrooms cooked in fish sauce:

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Glass Noodles (S$16) – 9/10

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Another angle of the Glass Noodles

Ooh the glass noodles have a very good wok hei charred taste and were super flavourful. I loved the different components of the dish – the prawns, which were really fresh and juicy, the noodles themselves, which had a great springy texture, and even the asparagus which lent some crunch and pared down the richness of the noodles. The only thing I didn’t super like was the black fungus, which wasn’t the dried kind and hence were a little jelly-like and tasted strongly of shiitake (not my fave). 9/10

We then tried two different types of curry, the first of which was the Green Curry Chicken (S$24):

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Green Curry Chicken (S$24) – 8/10 (pictured here with the Blue Jasmine rice at the back!)

Hmmm the first thing I noticed was that the curry was not green, but Chef says it’s because he adds a dollop of red curry paste to it so it changes color. Idk, I feel like if you want to call it green curry it should be green, but ok. The second thing I noticed was that the chicken was not de-boned, which was a little disappointing. I know some people like to gnaw on bony chicken but I would rather just like chicken meat in a curry (this is why I love hospital food lol they’re always deboned and balanced and healthy). Apart from these two nitpicks (issa word, trust), I thought the curry was quite good – a little sweet, a little spicy, and not too thick so you don’t get jelak. Also Chef says they use free-range chicken for the green curry, so hurray! 8/10

The second curry we tried was the Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26) served with Blue Jasmine vermicelli:

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Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26) – 9/10

Omg guys I LOVE the blue colour of the vermicelli it’s just so delightful. It could’ve come across as quite gimmicky, but naw man for me it was just really pretty. It helped that the noodles had good bite and springy texture – all too often you get those that are wayyyy too soft and overcooked. The curry itself was thick and rather sweet, with betel leaves adding a nice counterbalance. They were also pretty generous with the portion of crab meat, hidden from plain view underneath all that yellow curry. My friend didn’t like that the curry was almost too sweet, but I didn’t mind it. I suppose you can add some chilli to the soup to your taste. 9/10

Finally we tried the Half Roast Chicken (S$16), which features a North-eastern Thai chicken marinated in spices and served with a smoked chilli dressing:

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Half Roast Chicken (S$16) – 8/10

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Another shot of the chicken with glutinous rice!

Surprisingly I found the chicken to be quite tender and not dry. Paired with the nam jim jeow sauce – which is a little like the black sauce in rojak petis but more spicy and less pungent – the chicken was a delight with every bite. The crispy charred bits of skin around the edges were super yummy and complement the sweet taste of the glazed chicken skin. I have to say though, although it was a good chicken dish, I probably would come back next time and order the more unique dishes like the Tiger Cry Beef Salad or the Crab Meat Yellow Curry. 8/10

By the time we finished the chicken, we were basically dying and bursting at the seams, but still curious to try the Red Ruby (S$12) that was recommended by Chef Bright:

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Red Ruby (S$12) – 9/10

Oh boy, as far as Red Ruby desserts go, this was really quite luxurious. It came with not just red rubies (chestnuts), but also green emeralds and blue topazes lol. I loved crunching on those chestnut gems. There was also some strawberries, blueberries, strips of jackfruit to go with the coconut ice cream, UNFFFFFF. A very decadent dessert that should be shared. 9/10

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YUMMMMMM

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Phew, so we went through all of these dishes from the à la carte menu. Here’s a look at some of the offerings from the buffet, if you’re keen on the semi-buffet deal:

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I love green mango salad omg.

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LOL miang kan? (miang usually means like hum sup in Malay)

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Mmmm ceviche! Super refreshing.

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The mushroom tom yum soup and taro chips from the buffet! Omg the tom yum soup was real tasty with a super spicy kick! And the taro chips in thai tom yum dressing was SO addictive omg I loved them and really had to stop myself from eating so much and spoiling my actual dinner.

Blue_Jasmine_Outdoor_Semi_Buffet

Great for families of 4! (or 8! OR 12?!) I want to bring my family here but my sister-in-law makes 5. I don’t love her that much so I guess I can tell her to wait downstairs HAHA JK ATIQ I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS.

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The live station which I only noticed on the way out after my meal lol ugh.

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So many desserts omg where got space

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Peep the DIY coconut ice cream section at the top right. Also check out the blue rice in the mango sticky rice! Cute.

All in all I’d say I had a VERY satisfying time at Blue Jasmine, and I will definitely be back here with family and friends to have the delicious Thai food again. Because of the quality of the food and the comfortable ambience, I would also highly recommend it for business lunches or dinner for clients with halal requirements.

Blue Jasmine
5th Floor, Park Hotel Farrer Park
10 Farrer Park Station Road
Singapore 217564
Tel: +65 6824 8851
Online Reservations: Click here
Nearest MRT Station: Farrer Park (NE8) Exit A

Opening Hours: 1130am to 10pm daily
Anchan Buffet Dinner Hours: 630pm to 10pm on Thu-Sat

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Recommended dishes: Tiger Cry Beef Salad (S$20), Prawn Tom Yum Soup (S$20), Larb Chicken Balls (S$12), Glass Noodles (S$16), Crab Meat Yellow Curry (S$26)

The Halia At Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: +65 8444 1148 or general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea
Ramadan Communal Menu: Click here
Ala Carte Menus: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified effective 1 Jun 2017
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Favourite Dishes: Boston Bay Mussels, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemongrass & Ginger Salad
Remarks: Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017, but the featured dishes remain on the ala carte menu thereafter 🙂

Hey guys! So I woke up today to so much drama about the First Family. (You know, the statements by LWL and LHY directed against LHL) – and since then the interwebs have all but exploded with commentaries and analyses. I won’t go too much into it here because I’m still digesting it myself but you guys should totally read all the commentaries online! Honestly I’m a little shook :/

…okay but like is this a food blog or did I accidentally click on The Online Citizen?

LOL YES FOOD so guess what just became halal on 1 June 2017 – The Halia at Botanic Gardens!! I knew a couple of months ago they were gonna go halal – basically one of my girlfriends wanted to host her wedding dinner at The Halia and so the Halia rep told her they were going to convert to a fully halal menu #alhamdulillah LOL. (My other friend low key was forcing me to crack a #TheHalalia joke tsk). After my girlfriend told me about it, I had already planned to try out the new halal menu on my own, but then I got an invitation from the Halia PR people, and that was a nice surprise!

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Exterior

Gorge omg.

Tucked away in the lush foliage of the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, The Halia is a beautiful restaurant that is quite unmatched by other dining establishments in its ambience. I have to be honest though, it is not the most public-transport-friendly location; so while it’s all good for car-owners (the carpark is pretty close-by!), it’s a bit of a pain for people like myself. My friend and I took the train to Botanic Gardens on the DTL and then ubered from there, and our Uber driver got a little lost lol so we ended up doing a lot of walking. BUT it’s really just a short uber ride away from Botanic Gardens MRT and the ambience more than makes up for the inaccessibility.

We arrived just in time for dinner and tried out the Halia’s Ramadan Communal Menu for 6 for $270! The menu combines selections from their regular all-day menu so you get to taste more dishes without breaking the bank!

 

Halia Communal Menu for Ramadan 2017-2

The Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017!

We were seated in the al fresco dining area called the Viewing Deck. I was initially worried about feeling too warm and sweaty but the evening air was cool, and after 2-3 courses, it started feeling super pleasant with the cool air and the gentle breeze from the ceiling fans.

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Viewing Deck

Media photo taken obviously long before Maghrib lol

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Charming lights!

Besides the Viewing Deck, The Halia also has an airconditioned main dining hall with tall ceilings and glass walls. I would seriously recommend making reservations to get seats inside especially if you’re coming with kids (you don’t want to get sweaty tending to them!)

The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens Dining Room

The interior at the main dining room at the Halia – so beautiful!

OK let’s start from the top. First we had the Soup of the Day, which was the Pumpkin and Carrot Soup:

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Soup of the day – pumpkin and carrot soup! 10/10

Mmmm ok I love all soup but this was also objectively the perfect opener. The flavour is subtle (I love pumpkin but I wouldn’t be a huge fan if the carrot taste were too strong) and the texture is creamy. It’s a good soup that’s not too cloying or thick. Bonus points for pouring it into our bowls on the spot from an old-school metal kettle! 10/10

Next up was the trio of starters – the Halia signature Lemongrass & Ginger Prawn Salad, Potato Fries with piquant mayo, and the Deepfried Salt & Chilli Squid with a ginger-lime syrup dip and piquant mayo.

The_Halia_Starters

Lemongrass & Ginger Prawn Salad: Oh boy I loved this and I suppose it’s with good reason this is one of their signature dishes! The prawns were phenomenal – fresh, juicy and flavourful. It was altogether a great combination of spicy and coconutty with a hint of ginger. One of the diners wasn’t a huge fan of ginger, and even she found this dish delicious because there was only a hint of ginger. There’s also cubes of juicy, sweet mangoes accompanying the prawns, making this a great salad even for someone like me who’s not naturally predisposed towards salads. 10/10. 

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A closer look at this phenoms prawn salad argh YUMMMMM that slight char thooooooo 💯

Potato Fries: This was decent but nothing to write home about. The piquant mayo though, was delicious! Piquant, by the way, means spicy in French (This is obviously the precise reason I learned French, so I can decode fancy food names lol). I’m not a fan of regular mayo – ugh, that slick, oily texture and that middle-of-the-road taste – just, NOOO. But this piquant mayo is smokey, slightly spicy and really adds oomph to the otherwise ordinary fries. 7.5/10

Deep-fried Salt and Chilli Squid: I was pretty excited about this but after tasting it I felt this was the weakest link on the menu. The squid was only okay – the batter was very, very light and on its own the squid came off a little bland and unimpressive. The ginger-lime syrup dip was not to my liking – it was watery and sweet, and maybe my McDonald’s-friendly palette wasn’t refined enough to appreciate the taste 😕 So again, the piquant mayo dip was the star of this dish. 6/10

Next up was the Fresh Boston Bay Mussels with coconut and ginger flower broth, chilli, lime and freshly-made grilled foccaccia:

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Fresh Boston Bay Mussels in coconut and ginger flower broth!! SEDAP OR WHAT OMG 10/10

You guys, these mussels are amazing and out of this world. Literally, the mussels are so juicy and plump and fresh, and the broth is so tasty it’s like a cross between tom yum and laksa broth ARGH I LOVE. It’s tough to find good mussels at halal places – I honestly can’t name one because the good ones I’ve eaten have tended to be from non-halal places. This is definitely a welcome change and I would for sure come back again to Halia for these mussels alone. 20/10 if I could defy the laws of mathematics but ok let’s settle for 10/10 for now.

Served at the same time as the mussels was the Panfried Barramundi on a bed of pignolina mini pasta in thai coconut cream, asparagus and cherry tomatoes:

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Panfried Barramundi – oof look at the char on the asparagus!! 👅💦 7.5/10

Ok the barramundi was super fresh and the meat was tender, while the crispy skin was a delight to bite into. Full marks for the fish. However, I found the pasta a little too creamy; it got pretty jelak after a few mouthfuls. I wish they wouldn’t make the sauce quite so thick, especially since the pignolina pasta is tiny and the sauce wholly coats each and every single one of them. LOVED the asparagus and the cherry tomatoes though. 7.5/10

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Couple photo

We moved on from the intermediate dishes to the mains, the first of which was the Slow-cooked Tender Chicken Breast & Braised Minced Leg Potato Gratin:

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Slow-cooked Tender Chicken Breast – 7/10

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Braised minced chicken leg potato gratin – 7.5/10

So the chicken breast was really, really tender, as befits chicken that’s been cooked using the sous-vide method. Flavour-wise though I didn’t get much from this dish. As for the braised minced (chicken) leg potato gratin, it was a riot – the moment we had a forkful, we were hit with a sense of familiarity and spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out what it tasted like! We started out with begedil (those Malay potato balls) and ended up deciding it was most like shepherd’s pie LOL. It was very flavourful, but I thought it was way too rich and slightly too sweet for me. Not altogether catastrophic, and nothing a few tweaks couldn’t fix. 7/10

We moved on to the Tajima Wagyu Skirt Steak with a marbling score of 7-8 (I tend to go for 7), served with potato gratin dauphinoise & mushroom jus (you know how I feel about jus I LOVE EM).

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So when we heard the name Tajima wagyu, everyone was guilty of making terrible Hana Tajima for Uniqlo jokes, including yours truly lol. Mostly though we were just really excited to try halal wagyu beef – there’s def not enough establishments here in Singapore that do it! The last time I had halal wagyu beef was in KL at Las Vacas :/

The skirt steak had a nice char and I was all over it like white on rice! It was juicy, tender, and had great flavour even without the jus. The dauphinoise potato gratin however was SO oniony I left it alone after one bite. 8.5/10 with half a point docked for the overwhelming onion taste!

For the final main we had another one of The Halia’s signature dishes, the Halia’s Singapore-style Chilli Crab Spaghettini in spicy, sweet and tangy sauce:

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My photo of the Singapore-style Chilli Crab Spaghettini – 9/10

Chilli Crab Spaghettini

The press photo of the Chilli Crab Spaghettini LOL I think mine wasn’t too shabby in comparison

Did you guys know the Chilli Crab Spaghettini was created all of 13 years ago? Gosh so much history behind this dish. You can say they were the pioneers of the chilli crab pasta which is pretty ubiquitous nowadays.

I thought this was a solid offering – the spaghettini was perfectly al dente and coated in the chilli crab sauce which was robust, full-bodied, and flavourful. However – and maybe this was just a one-off thing – I thought the sauce was a smidge too sweet for me. Just dial down the sweetness and we’d have a great pasta dish. 9/10

Oof after all that it was time for dessert. We had the Sticky Toffee Pudding first, which came with butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream:

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UNFFFFFFF Sticky Toffee Pudding 10/10 omg

Good grief you guys this was far and away the best dessert I’ve had in a while. The sponge cake – made from dates – was so moist and delicious, and the combination of the butterscotch sauce with the sea salt was absolutely heavenly. The contrasting sweet and salty tastes just made this dish perfect without being too jelak. Add vanilla ice cream to the mix and you’ve got yourself a veritable mouth party once again. This was so, so good and I’ll def come back for more. 10/10

The next dessert was the cheekily-named Die Die Must Have Chocolate, comprising chocolate “elements” (fancy name for morsels?), raspberries, raspberry sorbet and a surprise ingredient – gasp – pop rocks candy!! OMG I love those?!

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Die Die Must Have Chocolate – this terrible photo doesn’t do this delightful dessert any justice I’m so sorry 9.5/10

Oh wow I was very impressed by this dish! The chocolate pieces were perfect and not overly sweet, while the juicy, juicy raspberries added a nice tang to the dish. Also how can you not love the sensation of popping candy rocks in your mouth?!  As a side note here’s some trivia about pop rocks candy, but ok back to business – I loved this fun dish. 9.5/10

Last but not least there was the Ginger Spice, All Things Nice which was made up of coconut mousse, compressed pineapple and shavings of dehydrated coconut flesh:

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Ginger Spice, All Things Nice (Don’t be alarmed that green mossy-looking thing is pistachio crumble and it actually tasted pretty alright) – 7.5/10

With its distinctive Southeast Asian features, this dessert was a little less conventional than the first 2. I LOVED the pineapple which was juicy and sweet with a hint of ginger spice, BUT the coconut mousse was just okay for me. I would definitely stick to the Sticky Toffee Pudding if I had to choose! 7.5/10

WHEW! That was a trip and a half, wasn’t it? Thank you for reading all of that with me LOL. I had a great time at The Halia and I will definitely come back with my friends to share! It works out to $45++ per person for all that food, whether you have the 4-pax or 6-pax set. I also asked if more people could share, let’s say if 5 or 6 girls with smaller appetites could order the 4-pax set to share, and the PR folks said yes this is possible! The Ramadan communal menu runs till 30 June so go get some before it ends!

P.S. There is a (unisex) prayer room right across from the Viewing Deck with a sink for ablution, but it fits only one person at a time so do take note!

The Halia
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore 259569
Reservations: call +65 8444 1148 or email general.hsbg@halia.com.sg
Note: Reservations not accepted for brunch and tea

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 930pm (Last seating)
Fri & PH eve: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends & PH Dinner: 4pm to 10pm (Last seating)
Weekends & PH Brunch: 10am to 4pm
Weekends & PH Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm

Halal status: Halal-certified effective 1 Jun 2017
Halalicious Rating: 9/10
Favourite Dishes: Boston Bay Mussels, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemongrass & Ginger Salad
Remarks: Ramadan Communal Menu runs till 30 June 2017, but the featured dishes remain on the ala carte menu thereafter

Royz Et Vous Specialty Coffee at Telok Ayer

Royz et Vous Specialty Coffee
137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01
Singapore 068602
Tel: +65 62930270
Online Reservation: Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sat: 12pm-10pm
Sun: 12pm-9pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$45

I first went to Royz et Vous, back when it was at Bali Lane, with my classmate one day after Arabic class on Bussorah St (check out Al Markaz, it’s great!) and enjoyed the Buffalo Wings tremendously. So when I found out that it had moved to Telok Ayer, I was determined to check it out. Afterall, it was a welcome move, as the Telok Ayer/Chinatown area could use more quality halal establishments.

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The new Royz et Vous is a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station, and an even shorter one from Telok Ayer MRT station, if you are coming on the Downtown Line. Finding it is relatively easy as the restaurant faces the Thian Hock Keng temple, the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. I arrived there one weekday evening around 630pm, and was pleased by the new interior of the place:

Royz et Vous interior decor

Pretty cosy, and very woody

Royz et Vous Furniture

Definitely a step up from the metal seats/tables they used to have at the Bali Lane location

The menu seems to have expanded quite remarkably, with more substantial appetizers, mains, and drinks:

Royz et Vous Menu Snacks Appetizers

Sliders! Two types of chicken wings! Sweet potato fries! Salad! Very diverse, but I was also wondering why Truffle Fries wasn’t on the menu 😦

Royz et Vous Menu Mains

Beef, chicken, prawns, salmon, duck, cod, lamb – they have everything here! I was spoilt for choice

Royz et Vous Drinks Menu

Halal champagne and wine! What a novelty. I tasted alcohol-free beer in Spain once and HAAAATED it. Wonder how I’d feel about these ones.

My cousin and I decided to share the Buffalo Wings (S$12.90), since it was so good the first time I had them. Upon placing our order, we were warned that it was going to be pretty spicy as they were going to be coated in buffalo sauce made with bird’s eye chilli. I wasn’t worried, since my cousin who came with me, is an absolute chilli fiend – the kind who will drink spicy kuah asam pedas like a soup.

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings

4 drumlets and 4 mid-joint wings

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings 2

YUMMMMM

Consistent with my previous assessment, the buffalo wings were SO GOOD!!!! So juicy, and savoury. A mixture of spicy, sweet, and sour at the same time, just so delicious. I didn’t find the sauce too overwhelmingly hot, and even if I did, the sour cream dip would have done the trick to pare it down. The chicken skin had absorbed the flavours of the buffalo wings sauce, while still retaining some of its crispiness, which was great. Definitely a must-order here. 10/10

For my mains, I ordered the R.E.V. Brazen Beef (S$27.90), which is the striploin steak sliced into several cuts (the term for it is Tagliata I think, which is Italian for sliced steak). I ordered it in medium done-ness, and it came accompanied with fries, salad, and chilli aioli:

Royz et Vous Brazen Beef Entrecote

Not the biggest fan of the plastic cup for the sauce, as it marred the presentation a little

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Royz et Vous beef steak closeup

Perfectly pink! Love the colour.

I had wanted so badly to like the striploin, since I was looking for a serious contender to Krave’s amazing steak. The first bite did have me impressed – the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender – but after a few more bites I realised it wasn’t really as flavourful as I’d wanted it to be. The beef ended up tasting a little bland, so I had to keep eating it with the chilli aioli for more flavour. So while the texture was really tender, I thought the taste needed some improvement. The salad wasn’t bad, pretty standard and enjoyable. I thought the fries were a little soggy and I didn’t appreciate those green bits on it – I think they were seaweed? Or some sort of herb. Personally I prefer my steak fries to be hot, thick-cut, and with no other frills. Overall this dish was slightly disappointing – I would probably want to try the Asparagus Beef on my next visit though. 7/10

My cousin tried the R.E.V. Smoked Duck (S$24.90), which came with herb-roasted potatoes, salad, and a cup of home-made spicy sauce:

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I LOVED the roasted baby potatoes – it tasted of rosemary and, well, good old potato. I don’t think I’ve ever had bad rosemary potatoes, come to think of it. The smoked duck itself, while savoury and flavourful, tasted a little dry. This I thought was disappointing. Before my second bite of this, I dunked the smoked duck meat into the spicy sauce, which mitigated the dryness a little.  7/10

For dessert, we decided on the Mango Crême Brûlée (S$9.90), because truthfully it sounded delicious, and also we wanted some sort of comparison with Krave’s signature Cempedak Crème Brûlée.

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee

How pretty!

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee Close Up

Does that not look terribly delicious!!

I really loved the taste of the mango custard; it was top notch. Sweet, mangoey, and with the perfect custardy consistency (creamy and soft, but with some body). I thought the burnt sugar layer at the top was a little too think/soft – they should have burnt it a little longer, or added more sugar really. I really love the slightly bitter taste of burnt sugar, which I thought would have complemented the sweet mango custard really well, but alas the bitter taste was not at all strong. I must say I really loved the colours of this dish, and the actual mango custard which was so, so delicious. Too bad about the caramelised shell. My cousin and I still preferred the Cempedak rendition of it from Krave, as it’s more special, with the distinct and strong cempedak taste adding some welcome bitterness to the dish. 8/10

I won’t review the drinks much, so here are a couple of photos of my Iced Chocolate (S$8) and my cousin’s Mint Mocha Latte (S$7):

Royz et Vous iced chocolate

Not as thick as I would have liked. Although I wouldn’t have liked it too sweet, this to me tasted a little bland.

Royz et Vous Mint Mocha Latte

HOW PRETTYYYYYY. I didn’t taste this Mint Mocha Latte, but it looks absolutely luxurious on the deep red saucer, against the wooden table.

All in all, I think Royz et Vous still has some room for improvement, although it moving to Telok Ayer is a step in the right direction (more halal options in the Singapore CBD please!). The buffalo wings are the cat’s pajamas, and I really loved the quiet, laid-back, high-ceilinged ambience of the restaurant. It’s a cool space, and I hope they stay there a long time — long enough to improve on the mains! I will definitely go back to try the other stuff, insyaa Allah.

Service is very friendly, and because it is (a) a full-service restaurant that (b) accepts credit cards and (c) sits in the CBD area, I think you could actually go to Royz et Vous not just with your friends and family, but also with business partners for a low-key business lunch or dinner.

Royz et Vous Specialty Coffee
137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01
Singapore 068602
Tel: +65 62930270
Online Reservation: Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sat: 12pm-10pm
Sun: 12pm-9pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$45