Singapore's Botanic Gardens and Review of Halia Restaurant

One of the more tranquil spots in the city is the Botanic Gardens, a 74 hectare treasure trove of unique trees and flowers which is also Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site Nomination. 

We entered from the Tanglin Gate on Cluny Road (closest to Orchard MRT) and meandered our way through the pristine grounds towards Bukit Timah (closest to Botanic Gardens MRT). There are swans and turtles in the lake, and we spotted several beautiful and unique-looking flowers (pictured below). I especially enjoyed the Ginger Garden display.

It is free to enter the Botanic Gardens, but if you want to explore the National Orchid Garden, there is an entrance fee (SGD 5.00 for Adults). As we could see quite a number of orchids in the gardens themselves, we opted not to enter.

Of course all this walking meant a well deserved lunch, and we decided to dine at the Halia Restaurant, opposite the Orchid Garden. 

I do not say this often (nor do I say it lightly), but the service we experienced at lunch was exceptionally good. Despite not having a reservation, we were seated promptly, and the staff were friendly and attentive. There were five of us, but we wanted to share three mains. The wait staff didn't raise an eyebrow and even brought out extra small plates on her own accord for us to share the dishes. 

When the food arrived, we were very pleased with the quality and portion. The prawn satay was beautifully presented and fresh (with mango and glass noodles), while the celery soup was not too creamy and tasty. 

We tried three mains: the beef rendang, the mushroom tagliatelle with a 62 degree egg and the chilli crab spaghetti. The beef rendang was not the most authentic I have tasted, but all of us were satisfied and it was an enjoyable meal in a very pretty setting. 

The stand-out dish of the day was the frozen ginger nougat parfait with spiced pineapple sauce and ginger crumble. The ginger flavour was highlighted yet not overbearing, the texture of the parfait was perfection and all of it complemented by the pineapple sauce and crunch of the crumble. 

Overall, the Botanic Gardens is a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon and is definitely worth checking out (and not just because its on the tourist trail). I'm making a return trip for that frozen ginger parfait! 

xx Amanda

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