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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Food review 2008 #02 - The Halia

For DH's b'day dinner, I chose to go to a restaurant with a very beautiful setting. It's the Halia at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The restaurant is so called the Halia 'coz it's set next to the Ginger Garden there. They have a signature drink which ginger (or halia) was used. I had read good reviews for this restaurant... and situated at the fringe of the busiest part of the city (Orchard rd) and yet a secluded corner with beautiful surroundings, all the more I was game to give this restaurant a try.

It was located very near the entrance to the ginger gardens (at Tyserall Road) and parking is really convenient.

I reserved a table at the outdoors dining area as I dun see the point of sitting in the air-con area when we've been experiencing such cool(er) weather recently. Furthermore, I love to be seated right next to greenery and taking in all the fresh air! We even spotted some squirrels playing at the branches right next to us!

Looking at the menu, actually I found that the variety isn't tat great. While researching thru' the net, I saw that they have a few signature dishes. So we decided to go for that.... we can't go wrong with those choices!

For starters, we went for the fried soft shell crabs accompanied by mayo-wasabi sauce. It was really delicious! DH who does not take wasabi in any form did not mind the sauce! maybe the wasabi added was too little, or maybe the crabs were too yummy! LOL... the crabs were deep fried to perfection! It was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside! and the crabs were rather huge, not like those small miserable looking crabs we often have at Japanese restaurants. This was easily DH's most satisfied dish for the dinner.Next, we had cream of mushroom soup. This was shitake mushroom. Initially I had my reservations abt this soup. Usually, one would not use shitake mushroom for a western cream base soup... the aroma/taste of shitake mushroom is usu too overpowering for it. But since the other soup that's available is a clear-based one (chef's choice, or, in other words, soup of the day - ginger soup with veg) and DH wanted to have a creamy soup, we decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, it was pretty well cooked. There's not strong shitake mushroom taste and yet there's even slices of shitake mushrooms in the soup. DH loved the soup too, but for me, well, it's still not that impressive. :PFor the main course, I ordered the rack of lamb. It was FANTASTIC! the lamb was really tender and juicy on the inside! I would say it's cooked to perfection! It was seasoned with Asian spices and I even tasted a tinge of satay in it.DH had the hokkaido scallops and sea-prawns linguine. There's asparagus and it was topped with some Salmon roe. I chose this dish 'coz DH loves seafood. But well, in the end we found that this dish is not as good as the others we tried. DH even remarked that the scallops were too big?!?!? *rolls eyes*
To end off the meal, we had a chocolate torte with molten chocolate. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream at the side and some slices of strawberry. While the cake really tasted very good, I was lamenting abt the amt of chocolate in the cake. They could've added MORE! LOL... but overall it was a really satisfying end to the meal.
Pardon the poorly taken pics of the cake. By the time we had our dessert, it was pretty late and the lighting where I'm seated din help.Overall, I love the ambiance of the restaurant. The food's fantastic! however, i'll prefer a wider variety of dishes on the menu. Also the service could've been better. The waitress in charge of our table seems miles away most of the time. And maybe she's an overseas student working part-time, I was having a hard time trying to understand what she was saying! That said, I hope to see improvements in the service 'coz I'm oredi planning to return for a lunch!
Halia restaurant is located next to the National Orchid gardens, Singapore Botanic Gardens. Besides lunch and dinner, they also provide Traditional English Tea from 3-5pm, from Monday-Saturday.

For reservations, please call 64766711. http://www.hali.com.sg/

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