True to its ‘City in a Garden’ moniker, Singapore is a marriage of lush tropical foliage and bustling metropolis. This emphasis on greenery is moving beyond the streets of our city and onto our plates, thanks to a growing number of chefs and restaurateurs who are whipping up cuisine inspired by Singapore’s natural surroundings.
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique
Southeast Asian fruits, flowers, pods, herbs and spices are the pride and joy of this gelato parlour. Its freshly churned, botanical-inspired gelato pays homage by using ingredients and flavours native to our region. So instead of hazelnut and chocolate, you can pick from lychee raspberry, pandan, white chrysanthemum, strawberry basil, and other refreshing tropical flavours. To lift those floral notes, ask for your gelato to be heaped on a crispy thyme cone for an extra dollar.
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique at Katong. 63 East Coast Road #01-05, Singapore 428776. +65 9678 6092.
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique at Jewel Changi Airport. 78 Airport Boulevard #01-214/215/216, Singapore 819666. +65 9678 6092.
Pints are not available at their Jewel Changi Airport boutique.
Executive chef Michael Wilson, previously from the one-Michelin-starred Claridge’s in London, serves up a tantalising range of modern dishes and vegetarian treats. Tropically-inspired dishes on the menu include pandan rice pudding with tropical fruits, and beetroot risotto with jackfruit.
After a meal here, explore the Flower Dome (you’ve already made it in, after all) and stroll through the sub-20ºC Mediterranean garden that’s set with exotic flowers and plants.
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay. 18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09, Singapore 018953. +65 6604 9988.
Wed-Sun noon-3pm, 6-10.30pm.
The Halia (named after the Malay word for “ginger”) is located in the Ginger Garden of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is home to over 250 species of the root. The restaurant takes the nature theme seriously: even the layout of its architecture conforms to the contours of the land, preserving the trees and foliage around it.
The food, on the other hand, combines refined European techniques with Southeast Asian ingredients and flavours. Dishes here include lemongrass & ginger prawn salad, accompanied by ginger flower dressing, while its oven-baked halibut fillet swims in a ginger-perfumed broth. Plus, you’re guaranteed excellent views of the surrounding greenery thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. It doesn’t get more idyllic than this.
Ginger Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens. 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569. +65 8444 1148.
Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat & Sun 10am-10pm.
Helmed by local chef Jason Tan—formerly the executive chef of Corner House at the Botanic Gardens—Restaurant Euphoria is a must-visit for epicureans of all stripes.
The culinary creations here are undergirded by chef Jason’s gastro-botanica cuisine—which highlights botanical elements like plants, spices and herbs in a variety of dishes. Indulge in an amuse bouche with hints of the tropics— made with scallops, coconut and finger lime—savour Maine Lobster seasoned with five spices, or dig into sea urchin with Thai Basil.
Restaurant Euphoria. 76 Tras Street, Singapore 079015.
Tue 6.30-11pm; Wed-Sat noon-2.30pm, 6.30-11pm.
Wildseed Café and Bar
Wildseed brings together a café, patisserie, cocktail bar and urban farm into one space, with produce from the farm making its way onto the plates and into the glasses. Sip on nature-inspired tipples like the lychee mojito—made with rum, lychee, mint and lime—and chow down on gourmet meaty sandwiches before grabbing a dessert. The desserts shine through with local influences, too. Banana loaf is topped with shavings of ginger flower, while a coconut muffin is coloured blue thanks to the addition of pea flower, an ingredient traditionally used in Peranakan* cuisine.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
The Summerhouse. 3 Park Lane, Singapore 798387. +65 6262 1063.
Knots Café and Living
Stepping into this one-stop furniture store and café is like walking into a greenhouse—it blooms with flower arrangements, terrariums, potted plants and other tropical flora. Everything here is for sale, including the tables you’ll be seated at while tucking into the desserts on the predominantly sweet menu.
Expect café-friendly treats: there’s the Blue Swimmer Crab Risotto, Egg Florentine, Gamberi Con Aglio and lots more. Food aside, Knots Café carries an impressive selection of upcycled and hand-crafted furniture pieces that range from dining tables to armchairs to cabinets.
Knots Café and Living. 160 Paya Lebar Road #01-07, Singapore 409022. +65 6817 0383.
Mon 10am-9pm; Tue-Thu & Sun 9am-9pm; Fri & Sat 9am-10pm.
Open Farm Community
At this open-concept restaurant in the Dempsey enclave of restaurants and bars, the chefs use ingredients plucked from a plot of land just steps from your table. Open Farm Community’s garden is located right beside the dining area, so it comes as no surprise that herbs and botanical elements take front and centre stage with its dishes. Try their Tiberias Snapper Ceviche with black rice and ginger flower or Spring Chicken Thigh served in a coconut ranch sauce.
Dempsey Hill. 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819. +65 6471 0306.
Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm, 6-9pm; Sat & Sun 11am-3.30pm, 6-9pm.