Sunday, August 2, 2015

Gastronomy at Singapore Botanic Gardens - Corner House, The Halia, Food Canopy and Casa Verde

Singapore Botanic Gardens has been recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and this is the first for our country. But for many of us, the Botanic Gardens is an icon in many other ways as well.

For our parents, it might have been the place to go to for a romantic stroll and date. For families, it has always been an ideal and scenic place for picnics and family gatherings.

Over the years, the staff at the gardens has diligently maintained this place and has periodically enhanced the environment without changing it's original identity and charm.

What many of us do not know is that within this beautiful greenery are some very delightful and tantalising eating establishments to cater to a variety of tastes and palates. Just in time for our jubilee celebrations, the eateries inside the gardens have come up with specific SG50 themed menus for this period.

Halia Tea Inspired Desserts and Cocktails

The Halia has incorporated the infusion of orchid tea into some of their desserts and cocktails/mocktails. The yuzu and tea flavoured iced granita is my pick and makes the perfect refreshing tonic after a walk around the gardens.

The housemade kueh lapis with orchid tea ice creams makes for a much more substantial plate for those who crave to have their tummies a bit more filled.

Yam Seng and 1965 make a couple of tasty alcoholic beverages for those who need a bit more kick for their afternoon breaks.

Casa Verde's Local Favourites

At Casa Verde, from August 3 to 17, they will be having a quartet of local favourites exclusively at their outlet. These are your familiar char kway teow, laksa, mee siam and mee rebus.

As can be seen from the photo above, they are plated more exquisitely than your usual hawker variants and they are affordably priced here as well.

Oyster Omelette from Corner House

Corner House has been rated as one of best restaurants in Singapore and it is no surprise considering Chef Jason Tan's remarkable brilliance in the kitchen. His reconstructed orh lua, or oyster omelette is one of the best dishes that I have tasted all year.

He has cleverly concocted a plate of Royale Oyster fried in a thin, crisp batter with a sous vide egg and burnet leeks as garnishes. It is finished off with a fine caviar topping and when you mix it all up, the familiar and comforting taste of your neighbourhood orh lua just pops up impeccably. A sublime dish.

Durian Bread Pudding

Otherwise known as My Corner of the World, it is a corner that I might refuse to share with the rest of the world if it is this good. And it is.

Full of rich durian flavours, the bread and butter pudding never threatens to overpower and it is restrained enough to provide a light, airy counterpart to the durian sweetness. It is just too difficult to describe the layers of pure joy and ecstasy as you devour mouth after mouth of this gorgeous plated dessert. Heavenly.

Teochew Classics from Food Canopy

Unbeknownst to many, there is a food court within the gardens that actually serves up pretty decent and authentic Teochew classics.

Cold crabs are available and while they may not be the most premier cold crabs around, they are still worth the price of admission. What is even better is their chai por char kway teow that is so hard to find these days.

Fried with a slight tinge of wok hei, the savoury chai por beautifully mixed into the flat rice noodles for the kway teow to absorb every single last drop of  chai por flavour. They also have a classic Teochew dessert, Fried Yam Sticks which is every bit as addictive.

Now that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is good to see that the gastronomic aspects of the gardens is just as world class. If you feel a bit peckish or thirsty after seeing the greenery and orchids, you can do little wrong than to step into one of these places to recharge yourselves.

You might discover that the food is just as interesting as the gardens.

The Halia
1 Cluny Road
Near Burkill Gate

Casa Verde
1 Cluny Road
Near Nassim Gate, Visitor's Centre

Corner House
1 Cluny Road
Near Casa Verde, 5 to 10 minutes walk

Food Canopy
1 Cluny Road
Nassim Gate, Raffles Building

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