Whether it’s for a casual chow-down or a formal feast, there are plenty of eateries serving halal fare. We nosh our way from Mexican and Cajun specialities to keto croffles with ondeh ondeh gelato to give you a taste of some delicious dishes, with a twist.
TEXT: JUNE LEE
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s more important than ever as we eat our way through our island. Several halal and Muslim-owned establishments have opened up in Singapore in the first quarter of this year – testimony to the great demand from local adventurous foodies looking to experience different cuisines and cultures.
This round-up includes five of these new openings — that dish out delights ranging from healthy award-winning gelatos to Singapore’s first halal (certification pending) woodfired pizzas — as well as three stalwarts that we find ourselves returning to for their excellent creations.
FAST AND CASUAL
Los Angeles celebrities love it, and so do NBA star players. 800° Woodfired Kitchen is the American restaurant chain that landed in Southeast Asia in March. Even better, it’s in the process of receiving its halal certification in Singapore.
What’s the fuss about its pizzas? Available in 10-inch or 14-inch sizes, the authentic Neapolitan pizza is made from custom milled flour. It then achieves a perfect crust and “leopard print” char in the very hot wood-fired oven that uses a blend of different woods for added aroma. You can choose from speciality pizzas like the Philly Cheesesteak with sliced ribeye and green pepper ($17, $27) or create your own (from $10) with a base of Margherita (tomato), bianca (white) or verde (pesto).
#01-52/53 KINEX Mall, 11 Tanjong Katong Road
Inspired by Mexican cuisine, Afterwit might have found its niche as one of the very few halal Mexican restaurants in Singapore offering elotes (grilled corn), ceviche, tacos and burritos. Since 2015, this popular burrito bar located within the historic Kampong Glam district has been serving up fully-loaded tacos and burritos with toppings like pulled meat (beef, chicken or lamb), charred baby corn, salsa and/or pico de gallo.
Go for the Ban Me Tacos (S$13.90) with pulled meat, chipotle sour cream, pickled radish, crumbled feta, and pickled quail eggs; or Muvuca burrito (S$13.90) with beef chorizo, braised black beans, cheddar, and pickled quail eggs. While there’s no alcohol, the creative mocktails – berry mojito, pina cilantro, margarita zero and Sunrise in Tulum – are guaranteed to quench your thirst on a hot day.
778 North Bridge Road
Did you know that Blimpie is one of the world’s first submarine sandwich chains? Started in 1964 in New Jersey, it has 200 locations around the world and landed on our shores in March with halal-certification on the way.
What makes a difference to the taste of these subs are the halal deli meats that are sliced to order, Provolone cheese that has been aged a minimum of four months for extra flavour, and the brioche and ciabatta which are freshly baked daily. The Blimpie Best (regular S$10.50, large S$19) is an all-time favourite that lives up to its name, with turkey ham, beef salami, oven-roasted turkey, beef pepperoni and Provolone cheese, all in one tasty wrap, panini or sandwich.
#01-52/53 KINEX Mall, 11 Tanjong Katong Road
IN THE MOOD FOR A FEAST
Cajun on Wheels gets its name from the famed New Orleans/Louisiana-styled seafood boil where items like crabs, prawns and clams and typically sweetcorn and potatoes are cooked with Cajun spices. It offers a local twist with a choice of eight sauces including salted egg yolk, Singapore chilli crab and black pepper.
Founded in 2016, the homegrown halal seafood eatery today boasts regional franchises in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. At the Plaza Singapura outlet (as well as for online orders), the menu also includes an Asian Charcoal Grill section featuring individual or sharing grilled seafood platters served with vegetables and aglio olio or rice.
Grab your whole squad for signatures like the Olympian Bucket (S$226, serves 5-6) which includes Sri Lankan crabs, Boston lobster, prawns, white clams and blue mussels; and Charcoal Grilled Seafood Bucket (S$95, serves 2-3) comprising charcoal-grilled Sri Lankan crab, crayfish and whole squids.
#03-92 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road
Formerly known as AquaMarine, Peppermint is the new all-day dining restaurant at the Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay hotel which relaunched last year. The restaurant introduced its halal-certified kitchen and buffet counter in March 2021.
Featuring a luxe botanical decor, Peppermint focuses on the use of sustainably and locally-sourced ingredients in its Western, Asian and local dishes. Diners can visit the restaurant’s own urban farm on the terrace where herbs, edible flowers and vegetables are grown and used in their dishes.
In addition to its regular buffets, look out for its themed/festive menus such as the Ramadan Iftar Buffet Dinner which runs till 12 May. Creations include braised lamb shank tulang casserole, baby rock lobster Indonesia kalio, and coconut ice cream with goreng pisang. Starting on 1 June will be the Roast and Grill themed buffet. Prices range from S$65 to S$88 per adult, S$32.50 to S$44 per child.
6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square Singapore 039594
Located within the Botanic Garden’s Ginger Garden, Halia (meaning ginger in Malay) has been an iconic restaurant since it opened in 2001 serving modern European and Asian dishes. The restaurant received its halal certification in 2017.
With a view of the lush surrounding greenery and decades-old palm trees, it’s a popular spot for romantic dates whether it’s breakfast (weekdays), brunches (weekends), lunch or dinner. Breakfast favourites include braised wagyu nasi lemak (S$22) and chili crab eggs (S$16). From the all-day menu, signatures include Singapore-style chilli crab spaghettini (S$26), paperbag oven-baked halibut fillet (S$33) and slow-cooked white Pyrenees lamb shank (S$40). As part of their 20th anniversary, there are several ongoing promotions such as a spin the wheel instant draw (till 30 Jun), monthly social media giveaways, and a $20 return voucher on $100 spent from Mon to Fri (till 30 Sep).
1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden Singapore Botanic Gardens
SWEETS AND TREATS
When you walk into the tropical, kampung-inspired Momolato Cafe gelateria at Haji Lane, you’ll find sweet treats that are not just award-winning but also healthier and sustainable. Gelato queen Sharon Tay won the Asia-Pacific title in the Gelato World Tour Finals in 2015, and you can finally have a taste of her halal-certified gelato, popsicles, smoothies and more under one roof.
Choose from keto, sugar-free and diabetic-friendly options, in flavours as enticing as Chocolate Arabica Coffee, Ondeh Ondeh Sweet Potato Swirl and Kochi Yuzu (S$4.90 to S$5.90 per scoop), in a pandan leaf wrapped cone or with keto croffles.
Enjoy a complimentary beverage with every double scoop of gelato this Ramadan till 12 May, daily 8-10pm.
34 Haji Lane Singapore 189227
We couldn’t resist adding Muslim-owned La Fez, the prettiest pink-hued, Instagram-friendly modern Moroccan cafe and bakery that just opened in March. While the restaurant uses halal-certified ingredients, it is not applying for halal certification at this time.
This East Coast destination makes a good backdrop for desserts and coffee, but it is just as well-appointed for a wide range of Moroccan and Middle Eastern meals. The Majorelle Shakshuka with feta cheese (S$19.90) is served in a traditional tagine for all-day brunch cravings, but all eyes will be on the delicate pomegranate rose mille feuille (S$12.90) that you won’t want to share.
Linger as you mop up the Marrakesh dip platter (S$19.90), with hummus, smoky zalouk, baba ganoush and muhammara, or lunch on aamir lamb tagine (S$30.90), which is a lamb shoulder cooked in spices with carrots, dates and almonds.
#01-04 Springvale, 907 East Coast Road