Ramadan Iftar Promos 2018

Hey guys! So I know I haven’t blogged in a bit, although I’ve been posting on Instagram and Instagram Stories fairly regularly LOL. OMG how insane was the Malaysian GE14?!?! I’m quite glad Jibby’s out. My only hope now is for some real progress for the country. It’ll probably result in a stronger Ringgit which all Singaporeans (myself included!) will dread, but I guess we can’t wish for our neighbours to remain weak merely to serve our selfish shopping needs.

Anyway Ramadan is coming and I hope we will all be successful in reaffirming our iman and maximising our good deeds during this blessed month.

On the halal food front, I’m also trying to put together a Ramadan iftar list with restaurant promotions that I’ll progressively be updating . So if you guys need help figuring out where to iftar/break fast/ buka puasa outside, I hope the list will be of help!

1. Ramadan Communal Feast at The Halia

The Halia
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue), Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singaporean 259569
Dining period: 16 May 2018 to 14 June 2018
Price: S$220++ for four guests
Reservations: Call +65 8444 1148
Remarks: Prayer room available at The Villa (opposite The Halia)
Status: Halal-certified

The Ramadan communal feast at the Halia serves a total of 11 dishes to up to four guests. The featured dishes in the repertoire include the Blackmore Wagyu Masala Beef, the Panfried Barramundi with Beetroot Salsa, and the Bluefin Tuna Tartare!

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Wagyu Masala Beef


2. Ramadan Weekend Buffet at the Villa (opposite The Halia Restaurant)

The Villa (opposite The Halia)
Address: 1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Avenue), Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569
Dining period: Friday-Sunday between 18 May to 10 Jun 2018
Price: S$50++ for adults, S$20++ for children 5-10 yrs old
Reservations: Call +65 8444 1148
Remarks: Prayer room available at The Villa
Status: Halal-certified

So this slightly different from the earlier communal feast, which has a preset number of courses. For this deal, you get a regular buffet and can choose from any of the dishes laid out. Plus, this buffet is only happening on Friday-Sunday! Highlights include their signature Chilli Crab Spaghettini at the live pasta station, as well as the Australian Grain-Fed Beef Ribeye from the live carving station.

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Chilli Crab Spaghettini!


3. Ramadan Buffet at Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park

Blue Jasmine
Address: Park Hotel Farrer Park Level 5, 10 Farrer Park Station Road, Singapore 217564
Dining period: Daily from 17 May to 13 Jun 2018, 630pm to 10pm
Price: S$58++ per pax, S$29++ for kids 6-12 yrs, kids 5 and below dine free!
Promotion: 20% off for NTUC members and UOB, Maybank and DBS cardholders! If you have none of these cards, you can also quote “Halalicious” when you ask for the bill to enjoy a 20% discount as well!
Reservations: Call +65 6824 8851
Remarks: Prayer space will be made available for diners; please enquire with Staff
Status: Halal-certified

Blue Jasmine will be having a special daily buffet for the month of Ramadan, and each week will feature a slightly different halal menu showcasing Thai and regional specialties. There will be Seafood Night, Curry Night, Grill & Roast Night, and Herbs & Spices Night. You’ll also get some fixed staples such as main dishes with all kinds of lamb, chicken, and fish offerings. I also LOVE the dessert spread which has ondeh-ondeh, mango sticky rice, durian sticky rice and an assortment of cakes.

Below are some highlights of each of the week’s themes!

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Seafood Night Highlight – Lobster Khao Soi, or Northern Curry Noodles with Spiny Lobster!

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Curry Night Highlight – Singapore Style Laksa with fresh crab meat

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Grill and Roast Night Highlight – Soto Ayam with Rice Cakes

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Herbs and Spices Night Highlight – Deep Fried Seabass with Lemongrass and Peanuts! LOVE THIS.

 

4. Ramadan Buffet at Rumah Rasa Restaurant at Bay Hotel

Rumah Rasa
Address: Bay Hotel, 50 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098828
Dining period: Daily from 16 May to 14 Jun 2018, 630pm to 930pm
Sun-Thu Price: $35++ for adults, $20++ for children 6-12 yrs old
Fri-Sat & PH Price: $42++ for adults, $25++ for children 6-12 yrs old
Reservations: Click here for online reservations or call +65 6818 6681
Remarks: Halal-certified. Bay Hotel is right next to Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim for your prayer convenience!

Bay hotel is located diagonally across the road from Vivocity, so it’s actually quite easy getting there from Harbourfront MRT through the underpass that leads to the same side as the hotel. I tried the buffet a couple of weeks ago and LOVED Chef Esa’s Chick Kut Teh with taupok (fried beancurd), dried mushroom and garlic. Peppery and sliiightly herbal, with tender chunks of chicken and juicy taupok, I found it super nourishing and comforting.

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Chick Kut Teh Set-up. Not pictured are the juicy chunks of chicken ALREADY in the pot.

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The main dishes were also pretty good – my absolute favourite was the Ayam Woku Blanga, which is chicken in a really fragrant and delicious belado-type (chilli) sauce. I also loved the crayfish in chilli crab sambal, and the squid in squid ink!

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What was left of the crayfish when I got to it lol but they refill it from time to time so no worries. 

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A terrible photo (SORRY) of some of the main dishes like the (clockwise from bottom) duck in green chilli, ayam woku blanga, braised beef, crayfish in chilli crab sauce, snapper asam pedas, black ink squid.

From Sundays to Thursdays, there will be live stations serving Laksa Asam and Roti John. Seafood lovers will enjoy the Cumi Cumi Hitam (Stir-fried calamari in squid ink sauce) and Crayfish in chilli crabmeat and egg sauce. Come Fridays, Saturdays and Eve of Public Holidays, the live BBQ station will feature marinated squid and fresh tiger prawns among other items!

**Ramadan Takeaway Deals**

1. Ramadan Takeaway set by Rumah Rasa Restaurant at Bay Hotel

You can get the takeaway set priced at $80 nett for 4 people and $40 nett for 2. Orders have to be placed by 2.30PM on the same day of pickup. The set includes Lemak Gudeg (young jackfruit in spicy coconut broth), Ayam Woku Belanga (Manado-style spice-marinated chicken), Pedas Kakap (snapper in spicy sour broth), Rawon Sapi (beef in black broth), choice of steamed white rice or nasi kuning (yellow rice) and mixed fruit platter.

Rumah Rasa (Takeaway)
Address: Bay Hotel, 50 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098828
Validity: 16 May to 14 Jun 2018
Remarks: Please call +65 6818 6681 and place your takeaway orders by 230pm on the same day!
Price: $80 nett for 4 pax, $40 nett for 2 pax
Status: Halal-certified

2. Ramadan Pick-up Promo at Citrus By The Pool at Woodlands Swimming Complex

Get their specialty burgers, pastas and waffles here for your dinner! I’m a little sad the milkshakes and desserts are not available for this pick-up promo (because you always crave these rich sweet things when you’re fasting right?! Maybe that’s just me).

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The Shiok Burger featuring chicken thigh patty with chilli crab sauce!!

Citrus By The Pool (Takeaway)
Address: Woodlands Swimming Complex, 3 Woodlands Street 13, Singapore 738600
Validity: 17 May to 14 Jun 2018
Remarks: Make your pre-order by clicking here, or click here if you need instructions first on how to order online. Get 20% off your bill if you pre-order the day before pick-up, or 10% off if you pre-order by 530pm the same day!
Status: Halal-certified

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Citrus By The Pool II (New Burger Menu!)

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581
Online reservations: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun & PH: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Shiok Burger (Chicken patty with chilli crab sauce – S$12.90), Snickerhead Milkshake (S$12.90) Double Chocolate Milkshake (S$8.90)

Hey guys!! I’m so sorry I’ve been so MIA – I just had a work trip recently that kind of threw my entire schedule off. Also I guess I’ve been out WAY too much and haven’t had time to properly sit down and write this review! I mean, HAVE YOU GUYS WATCHED BLACK PANTHER? NO SPOILERS OR ANYTHING AND I WON’T EVEN SAY IF IT’S GOOD OR BAD. In all seriousness though, if you don’t understand the hype, go read this NY Times article about Why Black Panther Is A Defining Moment For Black America. It was so so good and so insightful.

Also the other reason I haven’t been blogging is I have been bingeing all 4 seasons of Silicon Valley 😩😩 It’s SOOOO funny especially Erlich and Jian Yang together UGH. I can’t wait for Season 5 already!! It’s coming out in just under 4 weeks on 25 Mar 2018!

OK so let’s talk about food now. Three weeks ago I was invited by the kind folks at Citrus By The Pool to taste their new burgers and shakes menu!!

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We got to try all 4!

The first burger was the Boss Burger (S$17.90 for double patty) featuring the beef-mutton patty layered with crispy fried onions, tomato slices, cucumber, lettuce and purple cabbage, smothered in satay sauce on toasted charcoal bun:

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Big Boss burger (S$17.90) – 7/10

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Visuals 💯

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Cross section!

OK so I was really excited about this, and the satay sauce was a great touch because I LOVE satay ugh. Even the purple slaw was yummy and helped cut through the richness a little. However, the patty disappointed me in that the ground meat came apart all too easily. I haven’t tried making patties from scratch myself so I’m not quite sure why the meat doesn’t bind well together. I also thought the bun was a little dry and aerated where it should have been a little chewy with more bite. Room for improvement on this one! 7/10

Thankfully, I LOVED the cajun fries that came with the burger. They were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just really well done. I have to say, Citrus by the Pool consistently delivers on its fries.

Next up we tried the Shiok Burger (S$12.90) featuring a deep fried chicken thigh patty with sliced tomatoes, lettuce and a sunny side up, topped with spicy chilli crab sauce:

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Shiok Burger (S$12.90) – 9/10

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Cross-section of the Shiok Burger!

Mm! I really liked the Shiok Burger – the chicken patty was juicy (not unlike the McSpicy burger which, come on, is always good) and I LOVED the chilli crab sauce!! I only wish they had added more of the sauce, although I’m sure next time I could ask that they put more of that magic sauce on my burger. Honestly I didn’t even need the sunny side up as an accompaniment because the patty and sauce alone would have been enough. 9/10

Our third burger was The Big Catch (S$12.90) with a buttermilk-battered dory, crispy fried onions, tomato, lettuce and tartar sauce:

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The Big Catch ($12.90) – 5/10 because I hate fish burgers SOZZZZZ

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Gurl you a haht messs

Oh my, okay so it’s not really fair for me to pass my judgement on this because I am really not a fan of breaded fish. Not in fish and chips and certainly not in burgers. I swear only mums love fish burgers (sample size 2 – my mum and my sister-in-law’s mum lol). Objectively though there was too much tartar sauce on the burger which made the whole thing a slick, jelak mess. I think maybe they could have also made the tartar sauce a little zestier with more lemon juice so that it’s more refreshing. Gotta pass on this guys. 5/10

The last of the burgers was the Dainty Trio (S$10.90 for three chicken sliders, or S$10.90 for three beef+mutton sliders) in a choice of teriyaki or BBQ sauce:

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Dainty Trio (S$12.90) – 6.5/10

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Beef+mutton slider in BBQ sauce!

The sliders were really pretty to look at, but overall I still found them lacking. The buns were a little dry and hard, which makes it a little challenging to bite through, especially given the proportions of a slider (a burger that is taller than it is wide). I liked the crispy onions, and the tomato slice did add some juiciness. Nevertheless, neither the teriyaki chicken patty nor the BBQ beef+mutton one left any lasting impression on me.  6.5/10

On to the milkshakes!!

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Sundae_Description

UNFFFFF

We tried the Snickerhead (S$12.90), Cookie Crush (S$9.90) and Double Chocolate (S$8.90):

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Snickerhead (S$12.90), Cookie Crush (S$9.90) and Double Chocolate (S$8.90)

OMG guys these are soooo sinful but unffffff. The Snickerhead and Double Chocolate were both really, really delicious with Snickerhead edging out just a little. It IS 4 whole dollars more, so if you guys are trying to save some money, go for the S$8.90 Double Chocolate which is almost as good! They’re both really rich and chocolatey and really filling; perfect for one of those days when you’re just super hungry and your stomach feels concave. 9/10 for both.

The Cookie Crush was the weak link here as it tasted too milky and just a little bland. Too much cream, too little cookie taste. I would skip this flavour. 6/10

Aaand finally, as if we hadn’t already had to loosen our belts a notch after eating ALL THOSE BURGERS and drinking all those milkshakes, we went for the sundaes.

We opted for the Coco Loco (S$9.90) with coconut ice cream, nata de coco, crushed matcha cookies and gula melaka syrup, and Berry Magic (S$11.90) featuring strawberry ice cream, strawberry jam, fresh strawberries, and a strawberry biscuit roll:

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Coco Loco sundae (S$9.90) – 8/10 & Berry Magic sundae (S$11.90) – 7/10

I’m not naturally a sundae person, but I thought the Coco Loco was pretty good. It helps that I have a weakness for gula melaka and nata de coco unffff. The coconut ice cream was a little tooo creamy for me; otherwise the nata de coco, the slightly bitter crunch from the matcha cookie crumbs, and the sweetness of the gula melaka syrup was a winning combo. 8/10

The Berry Magic sundae was okay – I love strawberry as much as the next person but this was a little overkill with the ice cream and the jam. The ice-cream on its own would have been pretty good – maybe they should sell it by the scoop; it would be less heavy than a whole sundae. Also S$11.90 is a little steep for what it is! 7/10

Overall a dinner of hits and misses, but I think I could probably get myself the Shiok Burger with a milkshake next time and be pretty happy with my order. That’s the benefit of having options! The location is not anywhere near my usual spots (home, office, friend catch-ups), but if I’m in the area I would definitely drop by for food. I might also consider bringing my family here for a pleasant, casual meal.

I’ll leave you guys with photos of the place and the menu:

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The entrance!

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A play corner for the kids and astroturf lovers, just outside the entrance

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Pretty cosy!

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Citrus_By_The_Pool_Pasta_Burgers_Menu

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Burger_Menu

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Sundae_Menu

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Dessert_Menu

Citrus_By_The_Pool_Beverage_Menu

Citrus By The Pool
3 Woodlands Street 12
3-3A Woodlands Swimming Complex
Singapore 738600
Tel: +65 6366 6581
Online reservations: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun & PH: 9am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Shiok Burger (Chicken patty with chilli crab sauce – S$12.90), Snickerhead Milkshake (S$12.90) Double Chocolate Milkshake (S$8.90)

Kakak Kentang at FOMO Sultan Gate

Kakak Kentang at FOMO Food Court
38 Sultan Gate #01-01
Singapore 198486

Opening Hours (For Kakak Kentang)
Mon-Thu & Sat: 11am to 9pm
Fri: 230pm to 9pm
Sun: 12pm to 9pm
(FOMO itself opens 10am to 10pm daily)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$6.90
Recommended dishes: Bombistik (S$6.90)

Hey guys! How is January almost over? I can’t deal with thissssss before you know it we’ll be 80 😩😩. Anyway TGIF – I’m currently waiting my turn to see the doctor because I’m on the brink of a flu and am trying to stave off a full-blown one before the weekend ugh help.

Ooh but also – I recently started watching Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale based on the book by Margaret Atwood. IT IS GRIPPING OMGGGGG. It’s about a dystopian near-future where women are increasingly barren and infant survival rates are low as a result of STDs and environmental pollution. Society is ruled by a totalitarian, Christian theonomic government and people are assigned strict roles – some are handmaids who are kept by barren married couples for breeding purposes, some are cooks/cleaners etc. There’s a sort of strict religiosity overarching this new world and it’s a little creepy. You guys should DEF watch it. (Also read the wiki synopsis which is 100% better than mine.)

Anyway, have you guys checked out FOMO at Sultan Road recently? It’s an upscale food court with myriad options – there’s Kane Mochi serving halal mochi ice cream, Kakak Kentang by well-known restaurateur Ummi Abdullah, and also Mr Wholly (crab-in-the-bag style seafood stall pending halal certification). I can’t deal with the millennial name of this hipster food court but hey gotta roll with the times. I love that it’s air-conditioned so you get to enjoy your food in cool comfort! In memoriam our short-lived Singaporean winter earlier this January 😢. We hardly knew ye.

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How cute is this logo!!!!! She’s literally peeling her old skin being all “new skin new me!” (or is she undressing? Astaghfirullah.)

Kakak Kentang literally translates to Potato Sister, and the stall specialises in these kentang balls (or potato balls) which are mashed potato balls with meat stuffing. Kind of like a begedil on steroids. I didn’t know kentang ball was a thing, and so of course my eastie/Malay friends are giving me a LOT of grief about it. “You mean you haven’t tried it EVER?!” “But the Haig Road one is so good!” “And you call yourself Malay?” 🙄🙄🙄 y’all are racist eastie fascists.

So anyway Kakak Kentang offers two main dishes. There is the traditional chicken version called the Chikabom, featuring a mashed potato ball with chicken stuffing in soto soup. There is also the beef version called the Bombistik with minced beef stuffing in a tangy tomato “bistik” soup – bistik being the late-night mamak supper staple of beef cubes in that red tomato gravy with potatoes and peas.

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Sorry this photo is so bad; I couldn’t avoid the glare.

They also serve the Adik Char Kuay (S$5.90) comprising you tiao dough sticks with cuttlefish paste drizzled with 3 types of sauces, and also popiah!! I was very tempted to try the popiah for $2 but decided against it because I wouldn’t have been able to finish my potato ball otherwise!

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So I went for the Bombistik (S$6.90 for regular, S$9.90 for large) in regular size:

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Bombistik (S$6.90, regular size) – 9/10

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 Breakthrough! MEAT YUMMMMMM

Ooohhh chileeee. I liked this a lot!! The soup was really flavourful and robust, like the mee kuah or mee bandung type of tomato-based soup. It was a little spicy which I liked – I found my nose running the more I ate it. The potato ball was gooood; the mashed potato itself had good texture and flavour, although the meat within was a liiiitle dry but easily remedied with the soup. I also LOVED the coriander and strips of carrots and cucumber in the soup – it definitely adds to the complexity, texture and taste. This was solid comfort food, although I almost wished they had a mini-ball option with like 4-5 smaller balls; how fun would it be popping those in your mouth?! 9/10

My friend who had been there before ordered his usual Chikabom (S$6.90 for regular, S$9.90 for large) in regular size:

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Chikabom (S$6.90 in regular size) – 7/10

I tried some of this and okay I confess it was not my favourite. I would def stick to the Bombistik when I go back to Kakak Kentang next time, and if I’m hankering for some soto I would still go for my usual Soto Ayam so I can savour those soft pillowy lontong cubes together with the soto gravy, AND add begedil, you know? Best of both worlds. The soto soup was not bad, but a little on the thin side for me. I would have preferred it a little thicker and more savoury. According to my friend the one at Haig Road is better, although I can’t verify that until I go try the Haig Road kentang ball myself! 7/10

All in all I had a positive experience at FOMO and will definitely going back to try the other stalls maybe during dinnertime. The lunchtime crowd was manageable and there were still enough empty tables for us to buy our food before getting our table.

Kakak Kentang at FOMO Food Court
38 Sultan Gate #01-01
Singapore 198486

Opening Hours (For Kakak Kentang)
Mon-Thu & Sat: 11am to 9pm
Fri: 230pm to 9pm
Sun: 12pm to 9pm
(FOMO itself opens 10am to 10pm daily)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$6.90
Recommended dishes: Bombistik (S$6.90)

Beyond Pancakes at Marina Square

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 10pm
Sat-Sun: 10am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

Hey guys!! Can you believe it’s a week to Christmas? So many things to get done, so little time. I usually look forward to some down time towards the end of the year but things aren’t looking like they’ll let up, ugh. Also, I just read about the food crisis in Venezuela where babies are dying from malnutrition because the oil-rich country’s been severely impacted by economic mismanagement coupled with declining oil prices. To make things worse, the government isn’t accepting foreign aid because it’s adamant on maintaining that the country is just fine. I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. UGH. You guys can read all about it here.

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at Beyond Pancakes, a halal-certified joint at Marina Square serving up (you guessed it) pancakes! It’s pretty special though – they don’t just have regular breakfast/dessert pancakes but also Dutch and French-style savoury pancakes, respectively called pannenkoek and galette.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Tiru, who brings with him 10 years’ experience of working in European restaurants in Singapore. After honing his expertise in these establishments, he set out to open his own joint and decided to make it halal-certified to be more inclusive. I 100% approve. (Next up, please make a halal version of Morton’s thanks.)

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#Alhamdulillah

I’ll leave photos of the menu towards the end of the post but for now let’s dive into the dining experience!

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The entrance

I first ordered the Avocado Juice (S$8.90) since my mum is a huge fan off avocado drinks and I wanted to QC it for her:

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Avocado Juice (S$8.90) – 8/10

The consistency is quite light and not too thick, unlike say the Es Alpukat from Ayam Penyet Ria. It was also lightly flavoured with honey so the drink isn’t too sweet. I quite enjoyed it, although there was some graininess almost like it was a chiku drink. Also I may have been tripping but I thought the taste was a little reminiscent of persimmon, so that could be a draw/drawback depending on the individual. I would consider ordering next time although the price point is rather high. 8/10

For starters we got a tasting portion of the Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), featuring nachos, mozarella cheese, avocado, sunny side up egg, onions, olives and capsicum served with various dips. there was the cheese sauce dip, the spring onion dip, cheesy sundried tomary dip, and tangy tomato salsa.

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Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90) – 8/10

OK so this was interesting. I was expecting the nachos to be a little lemau (stale) but surprisingly they retained their crispiness. The mozzarella wasn’t as melty as I would have liked (which is maybe why the nachos remained crispy) but the DIPS! OMG.

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Clockwise from left: cheesy sundried tomato, spring onion and sour cream, cheese, and tangy tomato salsa.

OKAY I could not get enough of the sundried tomato dip!! It was super tasty and went really well with the nacho. The spring onion and sour cream dip was also really refreshing and light, while the cheesy sauce is a safe and predictable choice. The tangy tomato salsa was the weakest link for me though – it was a little too like raw tomatoes. Def worshipping the cheesy sundried tomato dip. 8/10 for this starter.

We moved on to the savoury pancake section and went for the Le Poulet (S$14.90), featuring grilled chicken strips with capsucum, onion, cherry tomatoes and homemade honey mustard sauce, served with mushroom/spring onion pancakes.

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Le Poulet (S$14.90) – 8.5/10

I didn’t expect to like this so much but this was my favourite of the night. The pancakes were fluffy and savoury, and the grilled chicken strips were quite tender and flavourful. Hated the onions but it was nbd I pushed them aside. I wish they had drizzled more honey mustard sauce on the chicken/pancakes because the dish did feel quite dry. I suggested to Tiru maybe like some honey sriracha sauce to go along with it – that would’ve been the bombzzzz dot com. 8.5/10

For our second main we tried the Saumon Fumé galette (S$16.90) comprising smoked salmon, zucchini strips, mozzarella cheese, sunny side up on a bed of pesto sauce and served with crème fraîche:

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Saumon Fumé (S$16.90) – 7/10

The first thing I noticed was that the crêpe-like base of this Galette was a little too thin. It def didn’t hold up under the weight of the ingredients, so we cut them into slices and roll them up before eating. We initially forgot about the crème fraîche so we found it a little dry and lacking in taste, but after the crème fraîche it did taste a little more refreshing and balanced. I also liked the zucchini strips adding crunch to the otherwise all-soft texture of this dish. I wish the strips were a little more substantial though. Not my favourite dish. 7/10

Just as we thought we were done, Tiru whipped us up a tasting portion of the dessert pancake comprising one Original Pancake (S$5.90 for 2 pieces) and one Chocolate Chip Pancake (S$7.90 for 2 pieces).

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The Original Pancakes is $5.90 for 2 pieces, and the Chocolate Chip Pancakes are $7.90 for 2 pieces.

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Original ($5.90 for 2) and Chocolate Chip (S$7.90 for 2) Pancakes – 7.5/10

Yum, I’ll say that Beyond Pancakes does a good, fluffy pancake! There isn’t an annoying baking soda taste, and the texture is really good! The chocolate chips were a little burnt, which is not the worst I guess, but not great. As for the original, it would’ve been good if it had been served with better butter, but the butter we got was unsalted and really very plain. I would’ve preferred salted butter or cultured butter to add more taste, as unsalted butter feels like you’re just eating tasteless slick. 7.5/10

All in all, I had a good time at Beyond Pancakes. I feel like service is a little casual and could use some polish, and the menu could use some refining. It’s a WAYYYY extensive menu with like pancakes and burgers and pasta and pizza – how will the kitchen manage that on a busy day? Plus if they focused on some key items and make that their specialty, I think it could do them some good. (OMG am I a restaurateur now?!)  I haven’t tried the more pedestrian items like the pasta etc but personally I would focus on the pancakes in future. I can definitely see myself coming here if I’m hankering for some fluffy pancakes, or just to have a taste of their dessert pancakes after dinner somewhere.

As promised, here are photos of the menu!

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 11am to 10pm
Sat-Sun: 10am to 10pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

 

 

Saltwater Cafe Buffet at Changi Village Hotel

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

GUYSSSS why has work (and life in general) been so stressful this month?! I swear I legit had several of those moments where I wish I were 5 again with barely any responsibilities. Except for attending K1 classes I guess. I remember once in class we were supposed to draw a bus based on this cartoon picture the teacher gave us. It was a shot of the bus from the front – but at a slight angle – so you could see part of the body off to the side. I absolutely could NOT deal with the spatial aspects of drawing a 3-D bus, so I just drew a 2D bus – a bus profile, if you will. It was the saddest thing ever 😦

Also, this past week has seen the release of six extracts from Malaysian-born billionaire Robert Kuok’s memoirs on South China Morning Post! They’re fascinating – you guys should check it out here.

Finally on to food – have you guys heard of halal-certified Saltwater Cafe at Changi Village Hotel? I hadn’t heard of it but I was recently invited to try out their dinner buffet so off I went!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Entrance

I was there to try the Weekend Chill & Grill dinner buffet featuring an international spread as well as a live grill station outside the cafe!

Saltwater_Buffet_Chill_Grill

Chill & Grill Options

So let me take you through the spread that evening.

I) COLD STARTERS

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Mussels_Prawns

Mussels and fresh prawns omg look how plump!!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Snow_Crab_Legs

Giant snow crab legs!!

Saltwater_Buffet_Oysters

A super blurry photo of the oysters because I was way too excited!!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Crab_Scissors

They have these nifty crab scissors for you to cut through the snow crab legs!! And a bowl of lemon water for you to rinse your hand with – you can get them replaced every time it gets dirty, but also there’s a bathroom right after the entrance of the cafe, on the inside! One needn’t worry about switching from hand-food to cutlery-food and back!

OK so this was my first plate:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Seafood_Sashimi

Plump prawns, ONE mussel, fresh oysters, snow crab leg and some pickled ginger peeking out from the bottom of the picture.

Cold starters verdict: I died and went to seafood heaven, basically. The prawns were super plump and juicy, I couldn’t get enough of them. I tried one mussel which was a bit of a non-event. The oysters were a little thin, i.e. not as plump as I would’ve preferred but they were still decent!! I LOVED the snow crab legs – the flesh was slightly salty and really succulent.  9.5/10

II) Salads, Sushi & Sashimi

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Beef_Octopus_Salad

So much carrot on the beef salad ugh no. Octopus salad looked interesting though.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Salads

Mozzarella looks enticing!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Assorted_Sushi

Assorted sushi! There was also salmon sashimi but I forgot to take an individual picture of the sashimi 😦 You guys can check out pictures of my first plate tho where there are a few slices of sash.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Wasabi_Sashimi

Essentials. Also I LOVE pickled ginger!!!

Salads and sushi verdict: OK first of all I’m SO sorry I forgot to take a photo of the salmon sashimi 😭 I was too excited to eat them!! Secondly, I mean, I literally skipped all the salads and even the sushi. I straight up just had like 10 slices of salmon sashimi 😩👅💦 DEF loved the salmon sashimi which were fresh and pretty good!

III) Mains

I found myself quite impressed with how the buffet had a variety of main dishes to cater to different tastes. Literally, there was every kind of protein – mutton, beef, chicken, fish, duck, and of course, CRAB.

OK this is where I confess I ignored absolutely everything else in the mains line up and zeroed in on the crab like it was a Walmart TV set on Black Friday.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Salted_Egg_Crab

Salted egg crab omg!! DELISHUSSSSSSSS.

It was worth it. The salted egg crab sauce was creamy, salty, and sweet all at once. It’s got bits of curry leaves which of course are the magic ingredient in every salted egg sauce worth… its… salt. (OK you can call the pun police on me for this offence.)

Towards the end of my meal, when I’d had my fill of seafood, I also tried the oxtail stew:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Oxtail_Stew2

Oxtail stew yum yum

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Oxtail_Stew

Mmmm glistening

The oxtail stew was pretty good!! The carrots were soft and juicy, and the oxtail meat was rather succulent. I did think the stew would’ve been better if it had been more heated up, but that’s me. I love piping hot soup. The higher your chances of going to the A&E with a semi-cooked oesophagus, the better. (Please don’t report me I swear I’m not crazy).

Here’s all the other dishes:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Mutton_Curry

Oof mutton curry looks legit. It’s like midnight right now as I’m typing this, fully regretting not eating it during the buffet 😭😭

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Baked_Cajun_Chicken_Main

Baked cajun chicken! I did not realise cajun cooking looked like this.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Baked_Cajun_Chicken

This looks crazy tasty.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Teriyaki_Fish

Teriyaki fish with so, so many cherry tomatoes

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Braised_Duck_Main

Wow these braised ducks look so taut and shiny

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Braised_Duck

A closer look at that sheen on them braised ducks

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Mixed_Vegetable

Why are the broccolis so underrepresented here? I so much prefer them to cauliflower fr.

Saltwater_Buffet_Wok_Fried_Beehoon

Wok-fried bee hoon, but seriously, who can spare the stomach space for this?

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Dried_Shrimp_Rice

OK this looked more appetizing than the bee hoon so I tried literally a spoonful of it. It was aiiight.

Mains Verdict: Great variety for everyone, although the highlight for me definitely was the salted egg crab!!! They really got the sauce right for this one.

IV) The Chill & Grill Station

So every Fri-Sun, the buffet includes a Chill & Grill station outside where fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables are grilled on-site by the restaurant chefs. I LOVE that you get to pick whatever food you want to be grilled at the counter, leave your table number with the staff, and then have the food delivered to your table once they’re cooked. It’s a great system and it’s just the best.

Saltwater_Buffet_Chill_Grill

Items available for grilling

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Tomahawk_Beef_Steak

A truly terrible photo of the beef tomahawk steak, I’m so sorry

Here’s what I had from the Chill & Grill section:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Grilled

Clockwise from left: Tomahawk steak, scallops, tiger prawns, lamb chop

So for me, the tiger prawns were the star of the grill station. And okay I think all the non-seafood lovers have long since given up on this review lol. SORRY GUYS. I love seafood so much 😭. For real though the prawns were just really fresh so it doesn’t take much beyond some simple grilling to make them taste good.

The lamb chops were also really juicy and flavourful even without any additional sauce. Special mention also goes to the grilled asparagus (not pictured lol) which still had decent snap while being really tasty.

Although I looked forward to trying the tomahawk steak, I was a little let down. The steak was quite dry! I had ordered it in medium, and while I thought it looked pink enough (ref picture below), it just was not juicy :/ I also couldn’t find mustard anywhere to go with the beef – when I asked one of the staff near the grill, he said “all the sauces are inside.” I couldn’t find it though, which was sad.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Medium_Tomahawk_Steak

The tomahawk steak – even from here you can see it’s a little dry, no?

The scallops here take a major L for tasting as insipid as they looked. Boy they really should’ve grilled them with some butter or something. Butter hotate is for real my fave. To be fair, there are plenty of condiments available for you to flavour your food, but I don’t know I prefer natural jus with basic salt/pepper/butter when it comes to grilling. (Unless you’re talking about satay because that’s a whole other thing).

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Asian_Sauces

Sambal belacan, asian BBQ sauce, Thai chilli sauce and belacan cincalok!

Speaking of cincalok, it’s usually really good with SAMBAL STINGRAY, and guess what at the al fresco Chill & Grill station there was also a platter of nyonya stingray:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Stingray

The picture is ugly but the stingray is DELICIOUS trust me.

Guys, I mean. The portion was just phenomenal and I took as much as I could while trying not to ruin my appetite for everything else. The sauce wasn’t exactly like the kind you have in sambal stingray – this one was rather spicy and lightly sour thanks to the pineapples. Very, very yummy. The stingray flesh itself was plump, fresh and delightful to bite into.

Chill & Grill Station Verdict: Hits and misses. DEF go for the tiger prawns, lamb chops, grilled asparagus, and the nyonya stingray. Maybe give the scallops a miss.

V) DIY Food Stations

So they had a laksa station, a rojak station, as well as a kueh pie tee station where you can DIY your own serving and put in as much of each ingredient as you want! Out of these three, I only tried the laksa:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Laksa_Station

I LOVE QUAIL EGGS IN EVERYTHING UGHHHHHH

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Laksa

LAKSAAAAA

Okay I was a little disappointed with this laksa – the gravy was too thick and not tasty enough. It fell a little flat for me. However I did still enjoy it because I love all laksa and fishcake and quail’s eggs and taupok lol.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Kueh_Pie_Tee_Info

Nodding while doing this 🤔

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Kueh_Pie_Tee

That jar cover was really the one thing standing in the way of making my own kueh pie tee. It’s one effort too many to lift that up and try to put it aside somewhere.

Saltwater_Buffet_Rojak_Station

Rojak Station! Also efforttttttt.

Saltwater_Buffet_Rojak_Ingredients

Ingredients for the rojak

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Rojak_Station

I actually really love rojak sauce ugh but idk the ingredients did not look too inspiring so I strategically left this out.

DIY Stations verdict: Fun for those who like to feel like they’re cooking, or like they’re in control of whatever they’re eating. Otherwise, I’d give them a miss in favour of other more delicious food! (Like a second helping of the cold seafood dishes, which I totally went for).

VI) Dessert Selection

The dessert selection was quite extensive!! They had lots of mini cakes, nyonya kuehs, asian desserts as well as western offerings like bread pudding! There was also some ice cream but I also did not remember to take a photo :/ I was too distracted and excited by the other desserts!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Pengat_Durian

Pengat Durian – truly the jewel in the dessert crown at Saltwater

LOVEDDDD the pengat durian so so much!! In case you guys didn’t know, pengat durian is made from simmering durian pulp in coconut milk and fresh milk, together with some pandan leaves and gula melaka thrown in. I’m not usually a big fan of durian derivatives (like durian ice cream eww bye) but thisssss was sooooo so good. WHY AM I TYPING THIS AT MIDNIGHT UGH NOW THIS IS ALL I WANT. It was sweet, a little bitter, and oh so so creamy.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Mini_Pastries

Assorted mini cakes that I didn’t get to try 😦

Saltwater_Buffet_Nyonya_Kueh

Steamed cake and ang ku kueh which had a great peanutty filling but whose skin was a little tough

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Fresh_Fruits

Fruits!! I had a couple of slices just because. Even though I was bursting at the seams by this point.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Dessert

Clockwise from left: Caramel cheesecake YUMMMM, pengat durian (SUPER YUMMMM), assorted nyonya kuehs (I love peeling off the kueh lapis layer by layer unffff), and BREAD PUDDING that was really yummy!

Desserts verdict: LOVED IT. Loved the variety (I don’t need a chocolate fondue and other fancy stuff), and I was VERY happy with the pengat durian, the caramel cheesecake, and the bread pudding. Textures and tastes were on point.

Overall Saltwater Cafe buffet verdict: This restaurant is about as far east of Singapore as I am far west, but I had a really good time overall!! The spread is quite extensive, and all my basic buffet needs are met! – terrific cold seafood starters WITH OYSTERS – yassss. Crab of some sort – yasssss. Grilled red meat of some sort – yassss. A variety of dessert options – yassss. Done and done. In fact, I’ve already made plans to go eat with my friends when one of us comes back from London for winter break 😀

Service is good; we had a particularly helpful wait staff who replaced our handwash bowls, got us more napkins, and gave us extra cutlery etc. The place is not too crowded and can be pretty peaceful! It’s def not one of those places where the crab tray is left with only empty claws lol, h8 those.

I’ll leave you guys with pictures of my plates as a summary of my experience at Saltwater Cafe:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Seafood_Sashimi

Plate 1: COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS YASSSS

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Second_Plate

Plate 2: Shrimp fried rice, nyonya stingray, grilled asparagus & salted egg crab. The latter three were TERRIF.

 

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Grilled

Plate 3: Grilled stuff!

Plate 4 (not pictured): MORE COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS AND SASHIMI.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Dessert

Plate 5: Dessert!

 

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

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:

The_Halia_Chilli_Crab_Eggs

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:

The_Halia_Toast

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.

The_Halia_Ginger_Jam_Kaya_Honeycomb_Butter

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:

The_Halia_Granola

Superfood Granola (S$12) – 9/10

The_Halia_Superfood_Granola

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:

The_Halia_Organic_Chia_Seed_Porridge

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.

The_Halia_Banana_Almond_Smoothie

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:
The_Halia_Lychee_Thyme

Lychee & Thyme Drink (S$8) – 8/10

The_Halia_Lychee_Thyme_Drink

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:

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Ambience

Dreamy

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Al_Fresco

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.

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Mango_Salad

I love mango salad!!

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Salads

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.

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Starters

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!

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Sauces

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.

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Prata_Menu

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

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Fried_Seabass

What is Pae Sah style?!

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Massman_Lamb

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:

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Mains

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:

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Durian_Sticky_Rice

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.

Blue_Jasmine_Buffet_Teh_Tarik

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!