We met my old friend D at Halia for lunch today, another place that we’ve been meaning to try for ages. Halia is located within the Botanic Gardens, and as a result the ambience is lovely, but the outdoor seating can get a bit hot and bug-infested, and parking is a bit of a problem. Understandably though, it’s an expat haven and A noticed that during the entire fully booked lunch service, there were only 2 tables of locals.
We ordered the seared tuna tataki and the bocconcini and cherry tomatoes to start. The tuna was black-pepper crusted and served with a creamy diced avocado topping. This was pretty good, but the bocconcini and cherry tomato was much better. Each bite-sized mouthful of cheese and tomato was perfectly seasoned with enough salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. What I didn't quite get, though, was the watermelon and cucumber granita. I didn't think it was really necessary to the dish as a whole.
A initially ordered a chilli crab pasta, but when we saw three scrumptious-looking plates of Eggs Benedict being delivered to the neighbouring table, we quickly changed the order to an Eggs Ben with bacon. (Turns out the breakfast specials were hidden away at the bottom of the drinks section of the menu) The Eggs Ben was really good – it rivals the one at Choupinette; in fact, we recently had a rather substandard Eggs Ben there, so the one at Halia was actually better.
I decided to try the Kurobuta Pork char siew cappelini – it seemed quite fusion on the menu, but when it arrived it essentially was wonton mee, with just angel hair pasta instead of egg noodles. This was pretty good, but it was a bit too local than I would have preferred for my first Halia experience. Plus, while the char siew was good, unfortunately the kick-ass char siew at Canton-I has spoiled me for all char siews in future.
The 3 of us shared the chocolate dipping pot with shaved espresso ice and brownie sticks for dipping. This was really potent, both in the chocolate and espresso departments. My only complaint is that the meagre serving of 3 brownie sticks is no where near enough for the quantity of the chocolate dip.
The place is very pleasant, and service was very good. I think we need to come back in the evening to try their regular menu before deciding if we’ll make this a semi-regular option.
Another excellent discovery we’ve recently made on a “treat ourselves” month. It’s very expensive but worth it for a special treat. The Eggs Ben is one of the best I’ve had recently.
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden(enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Lunch: 12 noon to 3pm
Dinner: 6:30pm to 10:15pm
Sat, Sun and PH
Brunch: 9am to 3:30pm
Dinner: 6:30pm to 10:15pm