The long weekend beckons in a necessary time of rest for many, and also a festive celebration for the Muslims in our community. Meant to mark the end of ‘Hajj’, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are encouraged to make at least once in their lives, it comes as no surprise that the localised celebrations for Hari Raya Haji are often more muted. Nevertheless, the festive season still marks a time for families and loved ones to gather together—albeit in more quiet affairs, and perhaps over a hearty meal in one of our city’s Halal restaurants.
In the days of old, some families might still opt to cook up a table of conventional fare: think essential menu items such as Rendang, a slow cooked, spice-led beef offering or Sayur Lodeh, a vegetable dish cooked with coconut milk and turmeric often served with Ketupat, glutinous rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves. Yet the hours and energy for food preparation are currencies many cannot afford in this time-starved age. Instead, dialling in on reservations at outdoor establishments that could meet the needs of their families. Whilst some may continue to opt for restaurants that cater to more familiar taste buds, others might see the value in trying out a different cuisine altogether.
However, Muslim-friendly options that actually serve up formidable fare for non-traditional cuisines are hard to come by. But in recent years, collectives like the Black Hole Group have attempted to bring these flavours to a curious crowd, crafting well-travelled menus and eclectic fusion fare more accessible to the needs of Muslims here—from homemade pasta to tapas-style menus. Other restaurants and hotel buffets have also taken the lead in ensuring that the sentiment of good food on the table can indeed be shared with anyone and everyone.
Should you be searching for a last-minute reservation idea for your festive weekend with the family, or are simply on the lookout for the next place to suggest visiting with your diverse squad, Vogue Singapore has you covered. Below, we highlight the best Halal spots in town to consider a visit to next.
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Formerly known as Aquamarine, the buffet-led establishment now called Peppermint maintains its space in the heart of town, housed within Park Royal Collection Marina Bay. Bringing forth a farm-to-table concept with sustainability at its forefront, the restaurant’s new menu offerings now include plant-based options and the use of locally-sourced ingredients, which bring out the authentic flavours of their fresh harvest.
Emerald-tiled walls compliment the open farm concept situated just behind glass doors, warmly enveloping the diverse cuisine offerings of Peppermint. Make sure you’re going in with a hunger to satiate, as its menu items range from a fresh undertaking of raw seafood to the soulful comfort of Indian food.
Start off light and fresh by indulging yourself with a plateful of sashimi or Shucked Oysters. For mains, consider their July-exclusive Taiwanese-inspired menu—think a flavourful Home-style Steamed Sustainable Barramundi with Pickled Radish or their Flaming Diced Beef Cubes left to fire up over an open grill. Be sure to sink your teeth into the Black Angus Beef Gua Bao, where tender chunks of beef are enveloped in a fluffy soft dumpling. Trust other cuisines to deliver as well: perhaps look to the Cauliflower with Cheese and Roasted Almond parked at the Indian counter for a hearty addition to your table fare.
Be sure to save space for dessert; delightful textures come through in the vein of a Caramel Mochi Yam verrine and a Coconut Black Sesame Cake. The exclusive Honey Barley White Corn dessert is also one to serve your sweet tooth, where its natural sweetness sits as the perfect treat to end your night with.
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Taking the mantle of serving up solid Greek fare is Éla—one of the latest establishments under the Black Hole Group, known for other Muslim-friendly restaurants dotted across the island. In order for you to have your taste of Greece, one must first endeavour to the West, where Éla tucks itself away in the heart of Bukit Batok.
At first glance, the humble space is cast in warm beige and a charming quietude—bringing comfort to the soul just before the moment of bon appétit. The general word of advice at Éla? Visit with a hungry crowd. Its standout table offerings are best shared, starting off with a gloriously abundant Farmhouse Platter of flavourful lamb and beef kebab skewers, refreshed with a tangy onion tomato salad and chilled tzatziki on the side.
A dependable Greek meal should never come without its fair share of dips, and the Dip Party Platter is where Éla brings it home. At a reasonable price, two servings of toasted pita are accompanied by four delectable, homemade dip flavours: cod roe, cucumber yoghurt, roasted eggplant and spicy feta. The Taramosalata (cod roe) is a rich and creamy mix to behold, the Tyrokafteri (spicy feta), a perfect balance of spice and cheese, and the Melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant) takes the win with its addictive concoction of blended eggplant, red capsicum and fresh garlic. Of the seafoods, the Htapodi (Octopus) makes a case for itself all on its own—delightfully chewy alongside a creamy skodalia or mashed potato and a bright, zesty lemon sauce on the side.
Should you opt to follow up with dessert, call for the Baklava: a flaky pastry dessert filled with chopped walnuts, although the portion here does run small. For something lighter, take to the White Ginger Pear Tea to wash it all down.
Éla, 2 Bukit Batok West Ave 7, #01-07 A B, Singapore 659003
Enquiries: 8816 9418
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Named after the underused cut of beef from the rump cap muscle of a cow, Picanhas’ is essentially an ode to the depth of flavour the cut offers. Popularised in Brazil, it is commonly barbecued on the spits and over an open fire. In an attempt to fulfil this experience to a tee, one can opt for a bar seat within their space on Club Street—for that front row seat to the sizzle on the grill.
Keeping the menu simple yet substantial, their steak-led options are undeniably where they shine—think the Queen of Steak dish, where the meat is slow cooked and served medium-rare alongside a dollop of binchotan butter. For more fill in your meal, go with the Picanha Don: where a sizeable serving of fork-tender steak is centred onto a bowl of butterfly pea rice, laid with a textural mesh of caramelised onion, pickled cabbage and onsen egg.
Their sauces make more difference than one might think, and the Chimichurri boasts a splendid swirl of mint, vinegar and cilantro for dipping your cuts into. Choose from a selection of sides to complete the meal—from buttered shiitake mushrooms, to a creamy spinach dish mixed with nutmeg and served cold.
Picanhas’, 90 Club St, Singapore 069458
Enquiries: 9754 1909