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!


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!


Chill & Grill Options

So let me take you through the spread that evening.



Mussels and fresh prawns omg look how plump!!


Giant snow crab legs!!


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


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:


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


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


Mozzarella looks enticing!


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.


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.


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:


Oxtail stew yum yum


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:


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


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


This looks crazy tasty.


Teriyaki fish with so, so many cherry tomatoes


Wow these braised ducks look so taut and shiny


A closer look at that sheen on them braised ducks


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


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


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.


Items available for grilling


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

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


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.


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).


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:


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:





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.


Nodding while doing this 🤔


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.


Rojak Station! Also efforttttttt.


Ingredients for the rojak


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!


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.


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


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


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


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:




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



Plate 3: Grilled stuff!



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
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:


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:


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:


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:


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.


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!


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:


Superfood Granola (S$12) – 9/10


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:


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.


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:

Lychee & Thyme Drink (S$8) – 8/10



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
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:




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.


I love mango salad!!


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.


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!


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.



Condiments for the heaping 💯


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.




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.


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:


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


An army of mains waiting to be eaten lol


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


One more roast chicken photo for good measure


What is Pae Sah style?!


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:



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


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:


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)



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


DIY coconut soft serve!! I love.


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!


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:




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.


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!

Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spend like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

OK you guys I finally tried Hararu Izakaya at Bussorah St a couple of weeks ago! (edited to add: ok it’s now become a couple of months ago because I am just the worst and I sat on this review with about 20% to go and it just remained in drafts FOREVER).

Some of you might know I went to Tokyo on holiday in May this year, and came back literally 2 days before Ramadan began. I had an amazing time there eating my absolute weight in sashimi, sushi and even life-changing lobster rolls from Dominique Ansel Bakery (OK lah I’m not so strict which is why I *need* to keep a halal blog to encourage myself to find halal options). Unfortunately I only had time to visit one halal ramen place called Naritaya near the Asakusa shrine, prior to attending the Sanja Matsuri festival. (P.s. it’s not great, but it’ll do if you’re looking for halal food in the area!)

So you can imagine how happy I was at the opening of Hararu Izakaya in late April 2017, the first halal izakaya in Singapore! We’re still some ways away from like, a halal Shinji or even a halal Teppei for that matter, but still this is a welcome step in the right direction! You can read more about the restaurant founders in this article I found online here.

So hilarious fact: Hararu is how the Japanese would pronounce the term “halal”, just like how in Southpark, the (Japanese) people at Sony had a meeting to discuss their “serusu report” (sales report) for the new PlayStation and the launch of their Brack Friday Bunduru (Black Friday Bundle) LOL I died. Loved this episode.

Also, in case you guys didn’t know, the term izakaya refers to a Japanese gastropub, and has its origins in sake shops that allowed its customers to stay and drink on-site (‘”i” means to stay, and “sakaya” refers to sake shop.) So okay lah not super halal origins, but why should seekers of halal food be denied those delicious grilled skewers, right?



Located on Bussorah St right next to Kampong Glam Cafe and opposite the now-defunct Vintage Delicafe, Hararu Izakaya occupies 2 floors of the shophouse. I made reservations about 5 days in advance and was ushered to the more pleasant upstairs seating – sweet! We were asked to remove our shoes to sit on the tatami mats (don’t worry there’s a depression “moat” in the floor around the table so you sit on the edge and put your legs in, so you’re effectively sitting on a bench instead of cross-legged and risking accidental indecency if you’re wearing a skirt lol). I was so thankful I wore sandals that could be slipped off and on with ease instead of, say, shoes with buckles UGH. Or like sneakers with ratty sockettes lol. Y’all have been warned.


You sit on the floor and put your legs in the “moat”!


I assume all mountains in Japanese drawings are Mount Fuji because I don’t know any other names help omg let me read up more so I don’t stay ignorant ugh

We ordered from a digital menu on an ipad attached to the table – I can’t tell you how much I love this. This iPad ordering system is prevalent in Japanese izakayas as it facilitates ordering skewers gradually and incrementally. Love it. Plus you don’t have to keep calling the waitress over to take your order. It’s great, 10/10.

So anyway we started off with the Hotate Turkey Bacon (S$6 for 2 skewers), which features grilled scallop wrapped in turkey bacon. You can choose the version with shio salt dressing or teriyaki sauce dressing, and we tried both:


Hotate Turkey Bacon on Teriyaki sauce (S$6) – 9/10


Hotate Turkey Bacon in shio salt (S$6) – 9/10

YUM I really liked these! The scallop tasted fresh and was flavourful, while the turkey bacon really helped raise the umami quotient. I’m a little torn with regards to which dressing is better than the other; it’ll really depend on your mood as the teriyaki dressing can be a little sweet for some but also more juicy than the salt. I’d say a solid 9/10 for both of these.

We were deciding between udon or soba noodles, and eventually decided on the Zaru Soba (S$8). Here’s a definition for you guys taken from Just One Cookbook:

Zaru Soba is a chilled noodle dish made from buckwheat flour and served with soy sauce based dipping sauce called tsuyu (つゆ). The word zaru means “a strainer” in Japanese and the name of the dish was derived from the way the noodles are served over a bamboo strainer during Edo Period.

So I always thought I was more of an udon girl; I find the chewy texture of the thick noodles in hot broth very satisfying and comforting. However, in the past year I’ve been dipping my toes in the proverbial cold soba waters (this metaphor does not work but go with me on it) and I’ve come to really like cold soba as a refreshing, light dish.


The ones at Hararu, unfortunately, were not great. The soba was too starchy, while the good-quality ones were more refined with a springier, lighter texture. The dipping sauce was just fine, but the noodles are really the star of the show, and to have them be mediocre is a little disappointing. I hope they tweak the texture next time! 5/10

We also had the Negima chicken thigh and leek skewers (S$5 for 2 skewers):


Negima Chicken Thigh and Leek Skewers (S$5)

YUM. Happy to report these chicken thighs were juicy and well-seasoned, yum! I even ate the leek which had a slightly charred taste yum and wasn’t super oniony YES. Definitely a staple skewer for me. 9/10

We tried to be all healthy and included the Shiitake Negi (S$4 for 2 skewers) in our order so we can say alright we had some vegetables:


Shiitake Skewer (S$4) – 6.5/10

I confess I am not usually the biggest fan of shiitake, especially in stir fries, but I don’t mind them grilled! That being said, I still found these were pretty average – a little dry and rubbery, although I honestly don’t know if they would’ve been better elsewhere. 6.5/10 I guess!

We also had to try the Gyu Kushi Ponzu (S$10) which were the beef skewers in a citrus + soy sauce glaze (bonus: click here for ponzu recipe):


Gyu Kushi Ponzu beef skewer (S$10) – 8/10

You will not believe how many times I accidentally typed Ponzi (as in Ponzi scheme) instead of Ponzu in this review lol. Anyway these skewers were just a smidge tougher than I would have liked, but I did enjoy the citrusy-umami flavour of the ponzu dressing. A little steep at S$10 but worth a try if you like your red meats like I do. 8/10

Moving on from the skewers, we tried the Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12 for 6 pieces):


Yuzu Miso Tebasaki Chicken Wings (S$12) – 7.5/10

These grilled chicken wings (tebasaki literally means wing tips) were not bad – they were savoury and lightly sour, with additional flavour from the sesame seeds and seaweed garnish! While the meat was succulent, I thought the skin could have been either a little juicier, or crisper instead of in-between. 7.5/10

Finally the pièce-de-résistance was the Gyu Nitsuke (S$18) featuring stewed tender beef ribs in some sweet-savoury sauce.


Gyu Nitsuke beef rib (S$18) – 10/10

OMG GUYSSSSSS this was really good!!! The beef was really so, so tender, and juicy, and packed with flavour!! I swear, it was super succulent and the meat slid right off the bone and onto my chopsticks UNFFFF YASSSSS.



OK full disclosure – towards the end, it did get just a little bit jelak because the sauce was a little sweet, but thankfully the dish came with some sort of dip on the side which had a hint of wasabi, helping de-cloy the flavour. I’d still rate it 10/10 though!

All in all I had a good time at Hararu Izakaya, although I do think there is room for improvement in the quality of the dishes. Nothing some tweaks and continuous fine-tuning wouldn’t fix. I LOVE the ambience of the 2nd floor seating, and I love the ipad ordering system. I do however wish they would serve more like sashimi stuff (OKAY I KNOW this is a yakitori place ugh I’m sorry but I love sashimi help please send me some).

Also I hate that they do not serve water, and a drink costs you like S$3-6 at this place. I def got a sore throat the next day because of all the skewers and not enough water (my fault for being too cheap to buy mineral water) so either come with a water bottle of your own or be prepared to pay for water (mmmm I just do not agree with paying for water ugh).

Still, looking forward to going back and trying that amazing Gyu Nitsuke beef ribs ugh.

Hararu Izakaya
16 Bussorah St
Singapore 199437
Tel: +65 62915373
Online reservations: Click here
Online menu (no prices tho): Click here

Operating Hours
Mon-Sun: 12pm to 11pm (Last Order @ 10pm)

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$44 (omg why do we spending like kings)
Recommended dishes: Hotate Turkey Bacon (Scallop) (S$6), Gyuniku Nitsuke (Stewed Beef Ribs) (S$18), Negima (Chicken & Spring Onion) (S$5)

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?).


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!


Beautiful shadows on the ceiling!


Super romantic outdoor seating


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.


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:


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):


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:


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


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:


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:


Glass Noodles (S$16) – 9/10


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):


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:


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:


Half Roast Chicken (S$16) – 8/10


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:


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




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:


I love green mango salad omg.


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


Mmmm ceviche! Super refreshing.


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.


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.


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


So many desserts omg where got space


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
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


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:


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.


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. 


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:


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:


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


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:


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).


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:


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?!


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:


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
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

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Buffet at The Holiday Inn Atrium

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Extravaganza
Atrium Restaurant
Level 4, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road
Singapore 169075
Reservations: +65 6731 7172

Remarks: Prayer room available from 630pm onwards!

27 May – 2 July 2017
Sun to Thu: S$90++ per adult | Fri to Sat: S$100++ per adult (before 1-for-1 discount)*
Child (12 years and under): $25++ per person

(*Enjoy 1-for-1 discount for every 2 adult diners! Dine in a group of 10 and receive a complimentary car park coupon!)

Hey guys!! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted anything up in forever 😦 I’ve been travelling quite a bit for both work and leisure so that usually throws my schedule way off. ANYWAY Ramadan kareem to all of you!! Can you believe it’s already Day 7?! Help I’m still not spiritually at my best UGH. But anyway I hope you guys are doing great. I’ve been trying to keep up my prayers, keep up the yoga classes/runs, and eat healthier sahurs (pre-dawn meal) — I try to be all healthy with overnight oats and blueberries but then my family whips out like freshly-fried popcorn chicken and it is GAME OVER. It’s #strugglecity outcheah.

Of course, the only reason I try to eat healthy for sahur is so that I can eat whatever I feel like for iftar – and that is exactly what I did this past Tuesday at the Iftar Ramadan Seafood buffet dinner at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium!


You guys, in all seriousness, there is SO MUCH seafood you guys will die. I know $90-100++ per adult sounds steep, but there is a 1-for-1 promo for every 2 adult diners so that’s like $45-50++ per diner, which is really a bargain.

Let me take you through what I had that night so you get an idea of what you’re gonna get!

I usually break my fast with a date, and they had a whole salad bowl of ’em:


A must. Did you actually iftar if you didn’t eat a date?

After a date I moved on swiftly to the cold seafood starters, namely the half-lobsters, the fresh prawns, and some salmon and tuna sashimi!



So let me just remind you – lobster rolls at other establishments in Singapore can come up to an insolent S$68. Here you eat them fresh and you can have more if you want! I loved it. The prawns were also super juicy with a hint of sweetness and good bite. And seriously tho the sashimi portion is insane – just go up to the sashimi station and they’ll slice it for you!


Can’t resist salmon sashimi plz help

Next I had some oysters which were so painfully delicious, just thinking about them now is making me drool a little UGH. The trick is to squeeze some lemon, add just a drop of tabasco and slurp up that deliciousness!


I’m sorry I know they look gross but they are so yum!

Quick story – I went to France on exchange when I was 16 and my host family very generously bought some fresh oysters for me to try. I put one in my mouth and then had to run to the kitchen to spit it out! What a loser 😦 15 years later I have fully gone over to the other side, and to this day I still look back on that moment with regret ugh.

ANYWAY what I meant to say was – strong start with the cold seafood!

Things got way serious though when we moved on to the chilli crab and salted egg lobster claw!



The juicy, fresh crab meat and the super fluffy mantou buns were really the star of this dish. I felt like the chilli crab sauce lacked a little something, like maybe it wasn’t as tasty as I wanted it to be, but it was still decent. Just remember to make space for the mantou buns guys they are WORTH IT.


I waited a while before eating my salted egg lobster claw, which resulted in it drying out a little as it sat on the plate. Boo! I would counsel that you guys eat it right away after taking it from the food station! I wish they had more salted egg sauce slathered on those claws though; that would’ve helped.

After stuffing my face with so much seafood I wanted to switch it up so I went to the Atrium Terrace right outside where these 2 guys were in charge of barbecuing whatever you picked out! – lamb chops, chicken thighs, otak-otak, corn (sorry corn ain’t nobody got time for you) – the works.


Argh that view tho!!! It was perfect for sunset.


I wish they had grilled lobster tho.

The lambchop was juicy but I wish the marinade was a little stronger/tastier. The otak-otak was good but also just a little dry.

No matter, because I moved on to the indoor meat station where they had some lamb marinated in its own jus, and you guys know I love anything with fancy jus in it (it just means juice in French).


This is a terrible photo that does not do the meat justice, I’m so sorry. I’m the worst with photos 😦

OMG loved the lamb!! It was super juicy and tender, and went surprisingly well with the mint sauce, better than the mustard! YUM. I suppose mustard goes better with beef. Don’t skip the lamb guys.

I wanted so much to be greedy and stuff my face with more lobster and oysters and crab, but after all that food before, I was pretty much ready to move on to dessert.


Clockwise from left: Earl grey tea (lol so step), Thai milk tea and cookies & cream ice-cream, fruits in chocolate fondue, marshmallows in chocolate fondue, and chendol which was very poorly made by me

They had SO much to offer for dessert! There was a chendol station with a DIY ice machine and all the ingredients like green chendol jelly, red beans, attap seeds, corn, gula melaka syrup and coconut milk in neat little bowls. Just take whichever ingredients you want, press the machine button and pile on the shaved ice! Then you can drizzle as much sizzurrppppp as you want.


A closer look at my anemic chendol 😦 I should’ve added more syrup

They also had an assortment of mini cakes, fruits (yuck get away from me I have limited stomach space) and a chocolate fondue with marshmallows, dried apricots, and apples. I REALLY liked the chocolate sauce omg it was delicious and I could’ve had literally 3 more bowls of it with marshmallows but I stopped myself ugh.

Oh and there’s also GELATO omg.


Thai Milk Tea, Chocolate Rocky Road, Vanilla Pods, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookies & Cream, Mocha Biscotti and Salted Caramel!

OK I LOVED my Thai Milk Tea ice cream!!! It was creamy and full-bodied and not overly sweet in my opinion (although, to be fair I have a sweet tooth). I didn’t try the rest except for my friend’s Cookies & Cream which is pretty standard, but I’m sure they’d all be equally good.

I left the buffet feeling so, so stuffed and satisfied. It was a very pleasant experience as the layout was pretty well-spaced and it wasn’t crowded. The food was always topped up and the staff were very attentive and always ready to clear plates or see to your request for ice (for the Bandung!) or more napkins etc. I might come back here again if I have time – I’d really like more of those oysters and the chocolate fondue UGH.

I’ll leave you guys with more photos of the buffet offerings – there was so much I really could not try more than half of what was there!


Yum, assorted salads and sushi!


Salmon and squash YUM. Peep the oysters just chillin’ at the back.


The best


FOUR TYPES OF KEROPOK omg the papadum was my favourite omg it was mad crispy and tasty.


A noodle station with assorted ingredients and condiments! I wish they had other types of noodles though I much prefer rice noodles to yellow noodles




Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce! In hindsight I should’ve def taken this 😦 I might go back and if I do I WILL.


Aloo gobi, an Indian dish with cauliflower and potatoes in spices!

One last thing – there’s a prayer room called the Foyer Room just a few steps away from the entrance of Atrium Restaurant, for diners to catch Asar/Maghrib. Just ask the front of the house and they will be happy to guide you to it!  The room has both male and female sections, with hotel slippers and prayer mats. Unfortunately there is no adjoining wudhu area, but the restroom is also right opposite the Atrium Restaurant entrance. For ladies who require telekung, please bring your own as the room does not have them!

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Extravaganza
Atrium Restaurant
Level 4, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road
Singapore 169075
Reservations: +65 6731 7172

Remarks: Prayer room available from 630pm onwards!

27 May – 2 July 2017
Sun to Thu: S$90++ per adult | Fri to Sat: S$100++ per adult (before 1-for-1 discount)*
Child (12 years and under): $25++ per person

(*Enjoy 1-for-1 discount for every 2 adult diners! Dine in a group of 10 and receive a complimentary car park coupon!)