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) 

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Take Hyde Out (Formerly Hyde & Co) on North Bridge Road

Take Hyde Out
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Tel: +65 6635 5785
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 12pm to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 12pm to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$31 
Recommended dishes: Xiao Jiji/Chicken Little ($16.90), Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90)

Hey guys! How’s everyone doing? Hope you guys enjoyed your weekend and the week has been going okay so far.

I went to check out the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery again on Sunday and thankfully it was a lot more pleasant than my first experience during opening weekend. Don’t get me wrong; there were still loads of Instagram boyfriends taking photos of their girlfriends’ backs as these girlfriends pretended to admire the paintings (UGHHH I feel like a crotchety old woman saying this but I can’t even deal with those photos.) BUT at least one didn’t encounter them at every turn; maybe 2-3 of those per gallery, instead of literally everywhere.

Pumpkin – 1981

There’s just something so profoundly satisfying about her pumpkins in all their overripe poofiness, and I really liked some of her paintings too! You guys should check out the exhibition if you haven’t already – tickets for Singaporeans run at $15, and I highly recommend buying online and then collecting at the much-shorter priority/pre-booking line at the National Gallery. The exhibition runs till 3 Sep 2017!

So that was my Sunday, but on Saturday I was running some errands with my mum at Arab St and we decided to have lunch at Hyde & Co, except that now they’re calling themselves Take Hyde Out after some rebranding. The decor has also changed a little bit – now the walls are grey instead of creamy white, and the vibe is a little more modern than country.

Take Hyde Out - Decor 2

More industrial, less “pretty”

Take Hyde Out - Decor

You can check out their online menu here, but also I took pictures of it here:

Take Hyde Out - Menu 2

Main menu

Take Hyde Out - Menu 2

Brunch Menu

So they added more pastas and pizzas to the menu, compared with the old one which you can check out in my previous review here.

Thankfully old favourites are still around, such as the prawn paste chicken and waffles, renamed to Xiao Jiji / Chicken Little (S$16.90), which my friend told me informally meant small dick 😦 Anyway it came with 3 strips of prawn paste chicken, 3 waffles, a sunny side up and shoestring fries:

Take Hyde Out - Chicken and Waffles

Xiao Jiji / Chicken Little (S$16.90) – 9.5/10

OK you guys. I just loved this so, so much. I LOVE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES! I think I only know Take Hyde Out and Citrus By The Pool for having it, but perhaps there are more I do not know of. Anyway, Take Hyde Out’s version is the bomb dot com. The chicken is pungent (needs to be, or it’s not prawn paste), flavourful, savoury, juicy and delightfully crispy on the outside. I think they must use thigh meat because it’s just so juicy and tender. The waffles were also perfect – crisp with some chewiness within, and perfectly complemented by the maple syrup.

The fries were a little desiccated, and I wish the egg had been a proper runny sunny side up, but honestly I’m happy with just the chicken, waffles and maple syrup. The egg and fries are just a bonus. And all this for $16.90 with no added GST or service charge?! WHAT A STEAL. 9.5/10

My mum had the Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90) which featured linguine in spicy arrabiata sauce with blue swimmer crab, topped with herbed panko:

Take Hyde Out - Hyde's Chilli Crab Pasta

Hyde’s Chili Crab Pasta (S$22.90) – 9.5/10 (sorry for the over-exposure also lol)

Mmmm I had a couple of forkfuls of this pasta and it is still delectable. I found that the colour wasn’t as vibrant and red as the version that The Halia makes, but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste! I found the sauce perfectly balanced – spicy, savoury and sweet all at once. The serving of crab meat was also pretty generous, and the linguine was perfectly al dente, so that was great. 9.5/10

On top of the two mains, we also ordered the Pulled Beef Mantou (S$8.90 for 3 pieces) as my mum was curious to try after reading my earlier review of it:

Take Hyde Out - Pulled Beef Mantou

Pulled Beef Mantou sliders (S$8.90 for 3) – unreviewed because I didn’t have it

I’m afraid I do not have an updated review of these pulled beef mantou sliders because I was really working hard on my prawn paste chicken and waffles – you saw how big the serving was!! I couldn’t even finish the whole thing and had to ask to take the remainder to go. By the way, it costs you an additional 50cts to pack your food. A little unusual but I guess I understand the rationale behind it.

Anyway so no review of the pulled beef mantou; just the photo, although my mum liked it enough (“the bun’s a little oily though”).

Oh one thing to highlight – they changed the presentation of the Cold Brew Teas from this:

Hyde & Co - Into The Woods Drink

The old Into The Woods tea – so pretty, but so little

…to this!

Take Hyde Out - Cold Brew Teas

The new Into The Woods and Alice in Wonderland teas (S$6.50) each.

As you can see, the presentation is a little less “precious” and a little more practical – my one gripe was that we got so little actual tea in the previous incarnation, so this new version with a regular big glass was welcome.

So that was my review of the new Take Hyde Out – still madly in love with the prawn paste chicken and waffles and still loving the Chilli Crab pasta. I kind of latch on to one thing on the menu after I find myself liking it a lot, so I’m not sure if I’ll have the pizza when I’m back next, but we shall see!

Also good to note that this place does not have GST or service charge! You place your order at the counter and make a payment before eating (NETS or cash-only please!), and water/cutlery is self-service, but it’s a small-enough cafe for that not to be a problem. The staff are also great and will patiently take you through the menu and make some recommendations if you need.

Take Hyde Out
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Tel: +65 6635 5785
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 12pm to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 12pm to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$31 
Recommended dishes: Xiao Jiji/Chicken Little ($16.90), Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$22.90)

Flava Bistro at East Coast Road

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

I’ve been on a mission to introduce my family to more food options outside of our Arab St comfort zone, so yesterday for lunch, I brought them to the newly-halal Flava Bistro at Upper East Coast Road. I’d had some snacks here a few weeks ago when they were in the process of getting their halal cert, and remember being really impressed by what little I had, so I figured I should come back for real real.

Flava Bistro - Ambience 3

Warm lighting and a pleasing aesthetic

Flava Bistro - Ambience 2

Booth seats for 4 pax

For starters, we shared the Prawn Paste Chicken Wings (6 pieces for S$8):

Flava Bistro - Prawn Paste Chicken

Prawn Paste Chicken (S$8) – SO GOOD 9/10

Right from the time the waitress served us this plate of chicken wings, we knew we were in for a treat. The intoxicating smell of the prawn paste was irresistible, and we could already see the accompanying achar on the side, which was really a bonus. I LOVE ACHAR (crying emoji).

The chicken wings tasted as good as they smelled, which is to say they were fantastic and very flavourful. I did find them sliiightly on the oily side, and wish they had been strained a little better. Otherwise, exceptional, and a steal at S$8++. 9/10

For my main I opted for one of the Chef’s specialty, the Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16), which consisted of linguine, clams and prawns sautéed in a fusion of Peranakan laksa spices and Italian pesto.

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta 2

Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16) – 9/10

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta

YUMMMMMMMM

So to break this down into pros and cons, let me just start with the cons. Firstly, the menu indicated there would be fishcake in this dish, but I didn’t have any, so that was a little disappointing. Secondly, the clams did not taste super fresh, they were a bit dehydrated and tasted of nothing. Thirdly and less importantly, the linguine was JUST a shade overcooked, but I really didn’t mind that, so that’s fine.

The pros lie in the abundant prawns and the delicious, delicious taste of the laksa spice combined with the Italian pesto. It was really flavourful – just spicy enough without being too fiery – and I could taste the dried shrimp in the sauce, which was just heavenly.  I counted about 7 plump prawns in the whole thing, which is great because I love prawns. I wish there had been squid though. 9/10

My mum got another chef’s specialty, the Chili Crab Linguine (S$16), which consisted of linguine tossed in with the FLAVA signature chili crab sauce, and topped with generous chunks of chili crab meat:

Flava Bistro - Chili Crab Linguine

Chili Crab Linguine (S$16) – 7.5/10

My mum really liked it, but personally I found the sauce just a tad sweet, and too tomatoey for my liking. I loved the generous chunks/flakes of white crab meat though. 7.5/10

My sister-in-law went for the Balinese Beef Stew (S$22), also a chef’s special item, consisting of slow-braised Angus beef brisket, potatoes, and other root veggies in a special blend of Balinese herbs and spices, serbied with a choice of country bread or golden turmeric rice:

Flava Bistro - Balinese Beef Stew Closeup

Balinese Beef Stew (S$22) – 8.5/10

Wow, you guys. The beef brisket was SO, so tender and absolutely melted in the mouth! Props for that good beef. The stew was tasty and robust, a little bit like an upgraded mutton soup. The chunks of potato and carrot were soft and delicious. We opted for the bread, which was basically ciabatta, and pretty average. The stew itself was far and away the star of the show. At S$22 though I did think it was just a little pricey given the portion. 8.5/10

My brother got the Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18), essentially 180gms of juicy all-Angus beef patty, beef bacon, swiss cheese and FLAVA beef sauce, with the usual accoutrements like tomato and lettuce with a side of coleslaw and fries.

Flava Bistro - Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18) – 10/10!!

UM YOU GUYS. This burger!!! Was a revelation. No sooner had I taken a bite of it than the taste absolutely exploded in my mouth. Yes, it was a mouth party. The patty was so thick and juicy, with a great consistency that wasn’t too minced or berderai. The Swiss cheese added a slight bitter but delicious taste, while the beef bacon was actually quite moist and salty. LOVED IT ALL. The bun was also soft which a slightly chewy texture, like all perfect burger buns. 10/10

Just a note about the fries – these too were awesome. Very crispy on the outside but mushy on the inside, just how I like my fries. Perffff.

My other brother had the Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26), which comprised turmeric and basil-crusted grilled lamb chops, served with Asian potato croquettes (alah fancy begedil, you know lah):

Flava Bistro - Asian Crusted Lamb Chops

Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26)

Sorry the photo is so blurry! Pretty sure I got grease on my iPhone camera lens :/ Anyway so I’m not a fan of the breading around the lamb chops because that takes away from the flavour and the juiciness of the meat itself, but that’s what the sauce in the middle is for. It tasted rather like satay sauce, which is good and all but I’d rather just have satay then. I had a bite of the lamb and thought it was just a little overdone, and slightly dry. Not my favourite dish of the day, sorry! 7/10

I didn’t have any dessert because by the end of the mains I felt wayyyy full and just could not stuff myself anymore, although my family happily went ahead with an assortment of desserts ugh no.

All in all I had a really great time at Flava bistro. Service was super pleasant, smiley, and accommodating (you know how it gets sometimes with family meals). The food was very impressive and surpassed my expectations. Ambience was lovely, and quiet, what a gem of a place. I will def come back again next time in spite of the distance.

Brunch/Lunch menu:

 

Dinner menu:

 

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40