October 19, 2016
I’ll admit, it’s a pet peeve of mine when a person equates halal/Muslim food to Malay food. They’re two different things altogether! I love nasi padang but I wouldn’t want to eat it every single day.
It’s truly a breath of fresh air to live in a country with a wide range of food options available to people of all races and religions. Whether it’s bangers and mash you’re craving or a good ol’ taco, a halal version isn’t too far off.
Here are ten Muslim restaurants that serve yummy food AND are all about the aesthetics as well:
Having lived in the UK for three years, I’ve seen my fair share of British food. I’ve been hard pressed to find an equivalent halal version in Singapore so imagine my surprise when this gem opened on Haji Lane.
It’s hard to miss the bold and bright shop front with decor that is a quaint, eclectic mix of bits and bobs reminiscent of British culture. The staff are friendly, adding to the overall ambience of being back in a cosy British pub. And the food, oh, the food.
Hearty portions of British pub classics await you and trust me when I say that you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Bangers and Mash ($18) feature some of the biggest halal sausages I’ve seen in Singapore, atop a creamy bed of mash and if that’s too daunting a challenge, the Salmon Guacamole ($16) served on thick toast would more than suffice as a brunch option.
I’ve been spoilt back in the UK when it comes to Fish and Chips and The Mad Sailors’ version doesn’t disappoint. The proof for me is in the batter and the fish was just the right amount of crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.
Choose from Dory ($18), Cod ($20) and Haddock ($20) and enjoy with a side of chips and slaw.
This, my friends, is comfort food at its finest.
Muslim-owned Afterwit is all I can taco about these days. Taqueria refers to a restaurant specialising in tacos and rightly so since the cafe is all about combining awesome Mexican flavours with some uniquely Singaporean twists in wonderfully crunchy tacos.
A vibrant and interesting interior beckons, lending to that siesta setting perfect for the equally colourful food that’s up for grabs.
When I think Mexico, I think quesadillas, tortillas, burritos and of course tacos. Afterwit has crafted a menu featuring these classic favourites with some local flavours like briyani, dendeng and even nasi lemak.
I’ll try anything at least once, even a Nasi Lemak Burrito ($17 – $19).
I came for the tacos, and tacos I had. The Lime Butter Crab Taco ($16 – $18) was a fresh sight to behold. Colourful and inviting, theses three tacos were filled with pieces of mud crab generously dressed in a lime butter sauce that worked really well with the pico de gallo, guacamole, slaw and sour cream.
Afterwit even serves dessert tacos filled with nutella, black cherry fillings and covered in mini oreos and marshmallows. I can’t think of a better way to end a Mexican meal.
Primarily a burger bar, Working Title is nestled along the famous Arab Street. Having done away with their craft beers, the now halal Working Title draws a loyal following of customers, and for good reason.
Besides the food, the laid-back hipster interior makes this a space you’ll want to while away your afternoons at. With a hostel located directly above, the vibes are friendly and you’ll never be short of a conversation.
I’m all about the food though and wouldn’t mind being left in silence to appreciate some of these towering burger beauties. The sides on the menu probably deserve equal standing, with underrated Onion Rings ($9) and Portobello Strips ($9) getting my seal of approval.
But what’s a burger bar without burgers? The Working Title menu is pretty extensive but these bad boys made my day. The Hawaii Five-O ($20) featuring chicken katsu and The Working Title Tower Of Power ($24) with TWO beef patties are layers of burger goals, juicy with every bite.
Don’t forget to try some of their signature drinks like the Avocado Bravado ($9) and Bandung Latte ($5). Yupp, don’t hate on hot bandung until you try it!
Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro is no stranger to the halal food scene, having made quite the impression since the opening of its first outlet on Beach Road (near Arab St). Halal Swedish food is not commonplace in Singapore and with an inviting minimalist concept to boot, it’s no wonder Fika has now opened another two outlets following its success.
The Fika menu is filled with Scandinavian classics that incorporate a lot of potato, bread and pasta. A welcome change from rice if you ask me! The portions are quite large so be sure to leave room for some of the amazing desserts like the Lingonberry Cheesecake ($8.90).
Before Ikea started selling a halal version of its famous meatballs, Fika was probably the only place I could find something as authentic. The Swedish Meatballs ($19.90) or Köttbullar Med Persiljepotatis Och Lingonsylt (wow) tastes just as good as it looks.
A good steak is hard to come by, and a good halal steak, even harder. The Royals Steakhouse on Jalan Pisang not only boasts a convenient location and sleek interior, but also good cuts of halal meat cooked to perfection.
The meats are imported from Australia and New Zealand and the restaurant truly focuses on quality. The refined and simplistic decor is a reflection of the food that The Royals Steakhouse serves.
I love that they let you season the meats yourself so that you can customize every single bite. I found myself salivating at the options of Australian Striploin ($22), Australian Ribeye ($26) and New Zealand Tenderloin ($33), all served with a side salad and grilled tomato.
If you’re a meat lover, grab a friend and order the Cote De Boeuf ($68) which is approximately 700g of awesome. A slab of Australian 150 day grain-fed black angus beef is cooked to your desired doneness and may take 20 minutes to be served, but trust me, the wait is worth it.
I haven’t even mentioned that the steaks are served with a choice of three sauces: Caramelised Onion, Black Pepper and Mushroom. I promise you though, good ol’ salt and pepper are enough so you can appreciate the quality and natural flavours of the meats here.
Sound familiar? Royz et Vous had its humble beginnings at Bali Lane and soon became one of the best places for coffee in the area. It has since expanded and moved to the CBD, making sure the coffee tastes just as good, while reeling in new customers with an impressive menu.
Its formula clearly works since Royz et Vous has recently opened a second outlet in Chai Chee. The 80 seater space is welcoming and channels European cafe vibes, perfect for a momentary escape from reality.
Since its inception, the Smoked Duck ($26.90) has been a hit with customers and given the generous portion, I can see why. Succulent pieces of smoked duck breast is served with roasted potatoes, salad and a homemade spice sauce that just elevates the dish to another level altogether.
If brunch is what you’re after, you have to try the Eggs Royale ($19.90). Silky poached eggs sit atop Norwegian smoked salmon and toast, covered in a smooth hollandaise sauce and served with a side of roasted potatoes and salad.
Being 100% Muslim-owned and a member of SMCCI, you’d think wine was definitely off the menu. Royz et Vous has found a way around that by bringing in dealcoholized wines that if you ask me, look just as appealing as the real deal.
Don’t fancy dealcoholized wine? Royz et Vous’s new Chai Chee outlet also dispenses Cold Brew ($8) and Cold Brew Nitro ($9) ON TAP. What a time to be alive.
You might remember FIX Cafe as one of the few places in Singapore selling something called a naanwich (naan + sandwich, duh) but the restaurant has since rebranded and ola amigos, another halal Mexican joint! FIX also has a pretty sweet location in the HomeTeam NS Clubhouse, so customers get to dine in a picturesque setting by the pool.
Besides Ala carte options, FIX has conceptualised a sharing menu which means you guys will just have to fight over fajitas and beef chilli cheese fries. A set for two to three people will set you back by $48 and includes a starter, main and dessert that highlight some of the best of the Ala carte options.
There’s even a set for four to six people that is truly value for money at only $118! Expect fresh ingredients and hearty portions that will keep you and the family happy and coming back for more.
If you’re a lone eater and proud, I’d recommend the Steak and Potatoes ($22) with a side of Grilled Corn ($7). There’s no way I would share that.
Hyde & Co.’s shop front is a sight to behold on North Bridge Road. Clean-cut and black and white, the halal-certified cafe has featured in many Instagram photos. Too bad about the parked cars out front huh.
I would love nothing more than to spend an afternoon here with a good book and a cup of tea, served from a quaint teapot. Hyde’s Cold Brew Tea Specials ($7.50) have such interesting names like The Addams Family and Prince of Egypt, you’ll want to try them all.
The aesthetics are really what gets the vibe going here and a well-crafted brunch and dinner menu will satisfy both local and western palates.
Fusion dishes like Nasi Lemak Risotto ($21) and Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta ($18) are elevated versions of the original with a western spin and are so beautifully plated that they almost look too good to eat. Almost.
Make sure you save some space for Grandma’s Bread & Butter Pudding ($8) or for that matter, any of the other mouthwatering desserts screaming your name.
Step into the charming eclectic mix of a space that is Kaw Kaw SG, and make sure you bring your whole family. This colourful makan spot is rightfully nestled in the Aliwal Arts Center and oozes culture all around.
Stick around every fortnight for an evening of live local music as you dig into the halal fare that has been delighting customers since its opening.
Western favourites adorn the menu; fries, salads, pastas and most notably BURGERS. Kaw Kaw SG specialises in stacking layers of awesomeness together and remains one of my go to places for a solid burger.
Go for the Classic Chicken Burger ($14) for crunchy goodness in a bun or the Smoky Beef Bacon ($16.30) if you fancy a bit of heat from jalapenos and a signature smoky sauce.
You can even customise your burger with add ons like extra patties, fried eggs, cheese, turkey ham and beef bacon. Whoever said too much of a good thing is bad has clearly never been to Kaw Kaw SG.
Kaw Kaw SG: 28 Aliwal St, Singapore 199918 | Opening Hours: (Mon – Thurs) 12pm to 11pm, (Fri – Sun) 3pm – 11pm | Tel: +65 64448349 | Website
Wilder is a small cafe with a big heart along North Bridge Road, championing local produce in a friendly and rustic setting. Halal ingredients are sourced locally and the menu is kept small to maintain the quality of the food served.
The menu is primarily western, with exceptions like the popular Salted Egg Taters ($11) or fries as I like to call them. Golden, crisp fries are coated with just the right amount of salted egg seasoning and curry leaves that are so much more flavourful than your average salt accompaniment.
While the list of mains offer some yummy sounding combinations, I’d recommend going for the wild card option and choosing the Surprise! The Chef will then whip up the surprise special of the day that will highlight the best of that day’s produce.
Sounds like a good deal to me.
Wilder also makes fresh cakes and baked goods daily so you should definitely head down early to make sure you get the full selection. Fresh scone anyone?
While there are days where all you may want is a plate of ayam penyet, take comfort in knowing that these restaurants are out there serving up some tasty halal western food for days when only a really good steak or awesome tacos will do.
Who am I kidding, I could definitely eat tacos all day, err day.