Posts Tagged ‘Botanic Gardens’

Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival–Lots to eat, see and do!

The annual Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Festival is back for 2 weekends from 30 June – 9 July 2017. There’s so much to see, do and eat that you might want to spend more than 1 day at the Gardens!

Check out this link for more details on the programmes and promotions lined up for the Heritage Festival, but here’s a short summary on what you can expect:

  • Performances at Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage and the Bandstand
  • Programmes such as laughter yoga to qigong to
  • Children’s craft-making activities
  • Talks such as why the Singapore Botanic Gardens gained UNESCO World Heritage status or getting to know your Kampung vegetables.
  • Guided tours of the Gardens
  • Plant sales
  • Free entry to National Orchid Garden
  • and more!

Singapore Botanic Gardens (1)

And of course, not forgetting the fooooood! The F&B outlets at the Singapore Botanic Gardens will be coming up with special heritage dishes and/or discounts to whet your appetite during this period. Scroll down for pictures of what to expect.

~~~ Halia ~~~

Check out the numerous food and drink selections that have ginger and other botanical inspirations in them. The Chilled Ginger Jive is particularly refreshing, especially after a long and sweaty stroll in the Gardens. The Lemongrass and Ginger Prawn salad is really good too. It has a zesty Asian dressing and is quite substantial as a meal actually. And of course, the Chilli Crab Spaghettini is their long standing house favourite.

Check out Halia’s Chilli Crab Sauce Cooking Demonstration approx 45min on 1,2,8,9 July 4.30pm. Demo is FREE but registration is required.

Halia’s Provisions Store will also be offering a 10% discount for various items during the Heritage Festival, such as Halia’s signature chilli crab sauce, ginger flower sauce, ginger pineapple jam etc.

Halia at SBG - Chilled Ginger Jive (Ice blend of fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey) $12

Chilled Ginger Jive (Ice blend of fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey) $12

These 2 glasses look like 2 birds perched on the railing!

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The Halia Restaurant at the Botanic Gardens

*Media Invite*

I was seriously elated when I received an invitation to try out The Halia Restaurant, a beautiful restaurant nestled in the heart of the Botanic Gardens. There is something magical and mystical about dining amidst lush greenery.

Up until then, I’d never dined at Halia before, but for those of you who have, The Halia Restaurant has rejuvenated itself with a new look, menu and culinary team since October 2011. Chef Reynaldo Arriola helms the kitchen now. “Halia” is a Malay word for ginger and the restaurant is aptly named so because it is smack in the middle of the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The restaurant now boasts a new show kitchen with counter seats, which I think is pretty rare for a Western restaurant.

It can be a tad inconvenient to get to The Halia Restaurant as it’s almost in the middle of the Botanic Gardens, but it helps that there is now a Botanic Gardens MRT station, which means it is only about a 10 – 15 minute walk after you get out of the station.

Ms Karen Wee of FoodNews hosted the dinner for 5 lucky diners, myself included.  Because there were so many of us, we were able to sample a great number of dishes. It’s almost incredible how we managed to finish all the food (there were hardly any leftovers!) and if you don’t believe me, you can count the number of dishes!! Between the 6 of us, we polished off 5 appetisers, 7 Mains and 3 desserts, with additional servings for some of the dishes too!

Most of the photos used are provided by The Halia Restaurant, as they have a professional photographer lah. My excuse is that it was dark when I took my pictures. 🙂

Halia - Ginger Jive - Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey

Ginger Jive – Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey @ $12++ – We started off the evening with a refreshing Ginger Jive drink. Refreshing it was indeed especially after an arduous day at work. Love it that it’s all healthy ingredients that is used! Preps you for any “unhealthy” things you might eat next… The ginger leaves a nice warm buzz in the chest too.

APPETISERS

Halia - Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters (2)

Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters @ $35++ – Oysters done in 3 different ways. I used to think that I only like my oysters fresh shucked and unadulterated, ie just with some lemon juice, and maybe some tabasco sauce if I’m in the mood. However, the tempura & ponzu oysters on the right were fantastic. The tempura was light and crispy, and the oyster just ever so lightly cooked such that it was still flavourful and succulent. The sauteed baby spinach with Pernod deglaze, nutmeg & parmesan gratin oysters on the left were also very good.

Halia Appetiser - Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked Yuzu walnut & olive oil

Next up Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked yuzu walnut and olive oil @ $30++. When this dish arrived, I tell you, there was an audible collective whoop of joy from all at the table. Just looking at the dish itself was a treat to the eyes. Jamón ibérico is a type of ham from Spain. It is very expensive, very delicious and not widely available outside of Spain. Each slice of this salty and fatty savoury goodness will send your tongue into the high heavens.

Halia Appetizer - Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole & mango salsa

 Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole, mango salsa, shiso and braised courgette @ $28++ – After the saltiness of the Jamón ibérico, it was nice to enjoy this vegetarian appetiser. Love the sweet mango salsa while the pine nuts gave the dish a good crunch.

Halia Appetizer - Foie Gras Salad

Salad leaves, ginger-infused foie gras, balsamic deglaze, green apple, fresh fig and piment flakes @ $29++ – The salad leaves were lost to me as my focus was only on the foie gras. The nicely seared outer skin gave way to a melt in the mouth fatty richness of foie. I don’t think I need to say much about foie gras, except to say that it was simply fantastic.

Halia - Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction

Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction @ $28++ – The 5th appetiser of the night, tempura of white prawn. The prawn was succulent and juicy under the tempura batter. Not that this wasn’t nice, but for just $2 extra, I’d highly recommend that you go for the Jamón ibérico.

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Au Jardin at Botanic Gardens

To celebrate her 4th year at the company, my very generous colleague decided to treat us to a huge meal. At first, it was going to be a 1 night’s stay in Bintan! But alas, we booked too late for the Hari Raya weekend.

The outing was the day after I arrived back from Norway. I woke up at an ungodly hour of 5am thanks to the jetlag, fell back asleep again somewhere around 8am, and managed to crawl to the Botanic Gardens at 10.30am. The rest of my colleagues were already there, snapping photos of everything in sight as we’d also organised a mini photography competition. Yours truly got second place, darn!!

After the photography session, we made our way to Au Jardin. In contrast to the hoards and hoards of people at Casa Verde, and just about any other spot in the Botanic Gardens, Au Jardin was refreshingly quiet and serene. Au Jardin occupies an elegantly restored 1920s colonial residence and serves French fine-dining food. A waiter greeted us at the ground floor and led us upstairs to our table. I was glad to discover that Au Jardin is quite small. Apart from us (9 people), most of the other diners were couples enjoying a romantic date together. It really is a very romantic and peaceful setting, with a view out into the lush gardens. I’m sure Au Jardin must have been witness to many a wedding proposal over the years.

We were there for the Sunday brunch, which comprises of an appetiser and soup buffet, plus choice of eggs, mains and dessert, for the price of $88. From the Les Amis website (they own Au Jardin), it appears that the mains and dessert selections have changed, but the following was what we had when we were there in the 1st week of November.

Au Jardin Dining Area

Photo courtesy of Au Jardin

Au Jardin - Appetiser selections from the buffet

Appetiser buffet – Vine-ripened tomatoes are one of my favourites. Ever since I learnt about the difference between vine-ripened and artificially ripened tomatoes, I’ve not turned back.

Au Jardin - Fried Egg sunny side up (2)

Egg selection – Eggs benedict, cocotte, scrambled or fried. I chose fried because I love my eggs sunny side up. Eggs benedict I thought would be a little too heavy considering that we still had mains coming up.

Au Jardin - Roasted Pork Loin

Roasted Pork Loin with garlic sausage, smoked bacon and mustard sauce – This was my choice of mains and I had no regrets. The pork loin was very tender and juicy. Finished the whole thing. Garlic sausage was a nice addition and made me feel like I was getting 2 for the price of one.

No idea about how the other mains tasted. Didn’t ask, shy lah…

Au Jardin - Panfried Meagre Fish

Pan fried meagre fish with butter leek and green peas

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Casa Verde at Botanic Gardens

Recently, I received an email from a lady living in Australia asking me for recommendations for 2 “must visit” cafes in Singapore when she is here. After thinking long and hard, and taking into account proximity to tourist locations, I finally recommended Casa Verde at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

I love Casa Verde because of its unique location. It’s right smack in the middle of the Botanic Gardens, which means you get to dine in lush greenery, with the sounds of some fountains to aid your digestion. The breakfast at Casa Verde is quite good, and very affordable. An English Fry-up aka Big Breakfast aka Gourmet Breakfast costs only $14! If you come before 11am, you get a drink thrown in as well. There are some local favourites like Laksa and Mee Siam too, but I’d rather go to a hawker centre for that.

Seating is a bit of a problem on the weekends when everyone descends upon this place, children, dogs and more. If you don’t mind not having the free drink, you can still enjoy the all day breakfast at other times of the day.

Here’s what we enjoyed for brunch some months ago. We arrived just after 11am so we had to order from the lunch menu.

Casa Verde - Gourmet Breakfast with Scrambled Eggs Casa Verde - Gourmet Breakfast with Scrambled Eggs (2)

Whole Day Gourmet Breakfast (Choice of fried or scrambled eggs, mushrooms, back bacon, Cumberland sausages, has brown, grilled tomato & 2 slices of toasted country bread served with butter and preserves) $14 – You know I have this love affair with eggs, I just can’t resist posting close up shots of eggs. I think for $14, this is a pretty good deal! My favourite breakfast joint Epicurious still takes the trophy, but this is not too bad either. Only thing is, they don’t have baked beans.

Casa Verde - Gourmet Breakfast with Sunny side Up

Casa Verde - Gourmet Breakfast with Sunny side Up (2)

This is also part of the Whole Day Gourmet Breakfast Set, just that I have chosen eggs done sunny side up instead of scrambled. I like it that the bacon used is back bacon. Streaky bacon just feels too oily and sinful for me when not cooked by myself.

Casa Verde - Toast with butter and jam

Lovely warm toast to go with all the eggs.

Casa Verde - Tuna Mayonnaise on Foccacia Casa Verde - Tuna Mayonnaise on Foccacia (2)

Tuna Mayonnaise on Foccacia $12 – There are not that many pescetarian options at Casa Verde so my father was forced to order this despite not liking tuna all that much. In the end, the tuna mayonnaise was a bit too creamy to his liking. We have eaten really good tuna mayonnaise sandwiches before at Egg3 Cafe and this one at Casa Verde didn’t quite match up.

Casa Verde - Club Sandwich

Casa Verde Club Sandwich $12.50 – Loved the chicken within the sandwich. It was tender and flavourful. Tomatoes and lettuce tasted fresh and complemented the chicken well. Once again, the chef was rather heavy handed with the mayonnaise. If you don’t like too much of it, be sure to tell them in advance.

Casa Verde by Les Amis Group

Crowded crowded crowded! This was 1pm on a Sunday!

Botanic Garden

Dining amidst greenery is a really good way to spend a lazy weekend

Casa Verde (by the Les Amis Group)

Visitors Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Cluny Road Singapore 259569

Tel: 6467-7326

Sundays to Thursdays: 7.30am – 11am (Breakfast) 11.30am – 6pm (All-day Dining) 7pm – 11pm (Dinner – Last order at 9.30pm)

Fridays, Saturdays and eves of Public Holiday

7.30am – 11am (Breakfast) 11am– 6pm (All-day Dining) 7pm – 11pm (Dinner – Last order at 10pm)

http://www.lesamis.com.sg (click here for menu and prices)

Casa Verde Facebook

Singapore Botanic Gardens

Let’s take a break from food photos for a while and let me indulge in my other favourite things to do in Singapore…visiting parks, museums and old buildings. Here’s some photos I took a few days back at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. You can always find something interesting to see and do if you just slow down and let the world go by. Someday soon, I plan to prepare a little picnic basket and have a nice homemade afternoon tea with the Partner at the Botanic Gardens. Why live, if it’s not to enjoy the little wonders in everyday life?

Shy tortoise basks on roots

Some animals wait for you to snap as many photos as you want, although they may still feel shy about it and tuck their heads in.

Bird sipping nectar from flowers

I was so lucky to be able to take numerous shots of this little birdie sipping nectar from the flowers. He was doing all sorts of acrobatics, sometimes sipping nectar while hanging upside down, not a metre away from me. Can anyone identify what this bird is?

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