Three to try: Butcher Boy, Halia, Restaurant Ards

Three to try: Butcher Boy, Halia, Restaurant Ards

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Text: Janice Sim Adibah Isa

Our shortlist of top eats and treats in town

Butcher Boy

Loved Andrew Walsh's creations at Cure? Here's another joint by the talented chef — this time, it's called Butcher Boy, conveniently located on Keong Saik Road. Named and inspired by Walsh's favourite novel and movie, The Butcher Boy, expect cool convivial vibes, amazing grub, and delicious libations from this swanky joint. We particularly enjoyed their Korean steak tartare spiked with onion kimchi, which gave a spicy sour kick to the classic dish. While you're at it, dig into their impressive platter of meats, from short ribs to Black Angus rib eye — all of which have been sous vide for two days and marinated with a miso rub before hitting the grill. The meats here are also accompanied with a selection of Asian-fusion sauces — all you have to do is choose from sambal, XO, or Yuzu bearnaise. Last word of advice? Wash it all down with one of their enticing cocktails. Our favourite was the Lychee and Fennel Punch, a sweet and savoury combination of aged gin, house-infused fennel syrup, and preserved lychees. — JS

Three to try Butcher Boy

31 Keong Saik Road, Tel: 6221 6683
Opening hours: 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-12am

Restaurant Ards

This new kid on Amoy Street isn't your usual millennial joint serving up fusion tapas — instead, Restaurant Ards is a new Asian fine-dining 40-seater restaurant situated in a two-storey shophouse. The acronym stands for 'Asia, Roots, Distinct and Singular', all the binding elements of what the elegant space aims to serve up. The menu here at Ards comes in six to 10 course sets, with all of the ingredients sourced from different parts of Asia. While the spread here is authentically Asian, the techniques and creations are unconventional and ingeniously creative. Their starters include a fun spin on classic egg tarts — named 21st Egg Tart, this dish serves up mentaiko fish roe custard and raw corn dressed in vinegar, served in a homemade butter crust tart. A dish we would love to have again and again? Their Fish On Fish, essentially a red grouper poached in scallop butter and sea water, alongside their housemade XO sauce and aromatic flower clams drenched in Shaoxing wine. If you're looking for an unadulterated Asian dining experience, this is definitely it. — JS

Three to try Ards

76 Duxton Road, Tel: 6913 7258
Opening hours: 12pm-2pm, 6.30pm till late


Muslim foodies rejoice — for Halia ("ginger" in Malay) is now Halal-certified. You know the 16-year-old restaurant as one of Singapore's famous dining destinations, surrounding itself within the lushness of the Botanic Gardens. Ciaran Armstrong heads the kitchen, which has done more than just a few tweaks for a more inclusive menu. Diners can choose between the Light, Large and In Between portions of the menu, where sharing is preferred. Start with the Boston Bay mussels, which set the tone for a Modern European meal with Southeast Asian touches. Instead of the usual garlic and white wine base, Halia goes Thai with a coconut and ginger flower broth in a zesty and spicy kick. Mop it up with their grilled focaccia, one of their best items. While you'd usually ignore the chicken breast option from a restaurant, give Halia's a try. Given the sous vide treatment, it offers a tender, juicy bite each time. The accompanying minced chicken and potato gratin is also given a familiar twist, thanks to the addition of curry powder and masala that won't give your carb addiction a rest — for better or for worse. Also note-worthy are Halia's array of herbal teas such as the refreshing and soothing lychee and thyme concoction, great for those alkies who want to give their liver a rest. — AI

Halia Botanic Gardens

1 Cluny Road, Ginger Garden, Tel: 8444 1148.
Opening hours: 12pm to 9.30pm (Monday-Thursday); 12pm to 10pm (Friday); 10am to 10pm (Saturday); 10am to 9pm (Sunday)