If you’re craving a getaway from the city life without getting on a tour bus or a plane, Kranji is one of the top recommended areas in Singapore to head to. Although pretty inaccessible if you’re without your own transport, it’s worth the scenic drive and respite from the maddening cafe crowd.
Although there are a few farm-oriented cafes in this ulu northern part of Singapore, Bistro Gardenasia is a cafe, farm stay and event space all in one.
The bistro itself is serene and was amazingly peaceful when I visited the site on a weekday evening. I reckon that would be the ideal time to come as there wasn’t anyone when I arrived, and the unforgiving day’s heat was much more tolerable. Instantly, it felt like I wasn’t in Singapore anymore.
The farm stay villas are located away from the bistro, to provide more privacy for guests. As such, I wasn’t allowed to stroll within the villa area as it’s closed off to the public, unless I was staying in one of the villas. No matter, with the surrounding lush greenery and only the buzzing of nature to accompany me, I was more than content.
The menu has appetising selections of salads, steaks, pasta and even local dishes with an interesting twist. They have a ‘Meat Add-On’ option, which allows diners to choose a salad to go with a protein, such as Pan-Roasted Lamb or Char-grilled Ribeye (among others) for a top-up of only $15 (if choosing a protein from the a la carte menu, it’ll be much pricier). From this section, I ordered the Pan-Roasted Lamb ($15) with Spinach Portobello Salad ($15).
The salad serving is huge, and the leafy greens are amazingly fresh and crunchy! What made me the happiest was definitely the generous amount of melted mozzarella cheese draped on top of the giant portobello. The red wine vinaigrette was rather bland, but after cutting up the mushroom and tossing the salad in cheesy glory, the salad was a delight to devour.
It can be difficult to find places that do lamb right, but Gardenasia’s lamb was succulent and flavourful. I prefer my lamb served with just the slimmest layer of fat still attached, and this one was perfect.
To quench my thirst, it’s highly recommended to try one of their cold beverages that uses farm-fresh ingredients, straight from the garden!
I ordered the Ice Cold Roselle With Real Cactus Extract ($4). The subtle fizziness was welcome, but I am glad it wasn’t overly sweet. The cactus bits were a refreshing treat, for sure.
I also browsed through the local dishes they served and an interesting item caught my eye: Char-grilled Ribeye Hor Fun ($20).
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be disappointed as the price almost didn’t justify a local dish that one could get anywhere else for a fraction of the cost. But I was floored on my first bite. Not only was the portion oversized, but the flavours were a big hit on the palate as well.
There was a generous bed of ribeye laid out atop the hor fun, and the sauce was sweet, salty and peppery. I wished my appetite was an abyss so that I could’ve tried their signature Wild Rocket Orange Salad ($15), Wild Mushrooms Fried Rice ($15) or even one of their tempting desserts, perhaps next time.
I came to Bistro Gardenasia with little expectations and came to find this quaint cafe that serves top-notch food with a tranquil ambience. It goes without saying, that I would have no hesitations making the journey up north again.
Expected damage: $15 – $50 per pax