Traditional Malay dishes, juicy steaks, poke bowls and more

Not sure how time whizzed past us so quickly, but another year, another month of fasting. And with that comes the perennial problem of where to buka puasa (break fast), besides places like the ever-so-popular buffet favorite, Carousel, the delicious traditional Malay cuisine spot Hajah Maimunah, and the iconic Malay-themed restaurant in Kampong Glam, Mamanda. Fret not, there's a whole list of places to hit up between now and Hari Raya. Here are some highlights.
 

A Poke Theory


They've not officially announced it yet but they're in the final stages of becoming the first and only halal-certified poke store in Singapore. The sibling-run establishment in Telok Ayer has only been around for less than two years, but has opened up three more outlets in Duo Galleria, One@KentRidge and Marina One. They've made small changes to their sauces (and have even made their own togarashi which is line with the standards of the halal certification), but rest assured that their Hawaiian poke bowls still taste the same (we can attest to this). Choose from four different bases (signature sushi rice, lemon herb quinoa, brown rice and romaine lettuce) that can be plated with a choice of four different flavors—original Japanese-grade shoyu tuna, spicy garlic sesame tuna, spicy mayo salmon and avocado miso salmon—with a selection of toppings ranging from wakame seaweed to cherry tomatoes, and more. 27 Boon Tat St.
 

Afterwit


Not a hipster cafe, not a nasi padang stall and not an international buffet, Afterwit by the people behind Working Title is an industrial-looking, Mexican-leaning, halal joint with some pretty interesting offerings: sambal chicken burrito, torta ahogado, mud crab and avocado tacos, and huevos rancheros. 778 North Bridge Rd.
 

All Things Delicious


Unlike many Instagrammable halal cafes, the menu here goes beyond the usual sandwiches and pastas and delivers some pretty exciting dishes: crab cakes with a soft-boiled egg, smashed avo on sourdough, soy-glazed salmon rice bowls and shakshouka on the weekends. Best part? They only use naturally good ingredients with no artificial additives, trans fat or high-fructose corn syrup. #01-01 34 Arab St.
 

Aquamarine


This well-known 180-seater restaurant at Marina Mandarin restaurant with nautical cues is where you can tuck in at halal-certified Chinese, Japanese and Indian food stations. But this year, AquaMarine is working with Garuda Indonesia to host a special buffet, complete with special Indonesian dishes like rendang padang, ayam betutu and more, courtesy of guest chef Vindex Tengker. There'll even be cultural performances on some days, and if you're lucky enough, you might win a trip to Bali and Belitung on Garuda Indonesia. 4/F Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Blvd.
 

Badoque Cafe



Itik Bakar. Photo credit: Badoque Cafe's Facebook page

This cozy bistro in Bedok with an alfresco area has a loyal following. There are halal versions of Greek and Mediterranean dishes mixed with an Asian touch. Highlights include seafood aglio olio, beef ribs and Badoque lamb shank. Plus, it’s got iced drinks like salted caramel. For the month of Ramadan, they'll only be open from 6-11pm instead of the usual 12-11pm. Simpang Bedok, 298 Bedok Rd.
 

Blue Jasmine


If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine, Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park will have your mouth watering. Drawing inspiration from Thailand’s traditional dishes and street food culture, Blue Jasmine is all about authentic flavors presented in a communal dining format. Blue Jasmine serves up all the expected classics along with signature dishes like salmon larb, “Tiger Cry” beef salad made with grilled Australian rib eye, prawns with petai, and orange curry stingray. On top of that, guests will have a choice of four different types of rice—steamed, sticky, organic multi-grain and the restaurant’s namesake blue jasmine rice. There'll be a special Ramadan buffet available daily this season, with delectable dishes like lobster khao soi, crab meat laksa and ribeye satay offered on different days. 5/F Park Hotel Farrer Park, 10 Farrer Park Station Rd.
 

Burgernomics



Photo credit: Burgernomics' Facebook page

You may have heard of this small stall at the swanky new Pasir Ris Central Centre, a two-storey establishment serving traditional hawker cuisine on the first floor and more modern takes on those cuisines on the second. Less than a year old, these guys sell out their burgers every single time they're open, which is only between 12-3pm and 6-9pm, mind you. All their patties are made from scratch, and they only use fresh buns for their burgers. It's worth the journey to the East, especially if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on their Rendang Burger; a succulent combination of slow-cooked pulled beef topped with their homemade rendang sauce. Other dishes include their Deluxe burger (beef patty, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions), the Classic burger (beef patty, chili mayo, pickles, tomato and onion) and chili cheesy beef fries. #02-03 Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre, 110 Pasir Ris Central.
 

Byblos Grill


In prioritizing genuine Lebanese cuisine, Byblos Grill simultaneously debunks every self-proclaimed Lebanese restaurant that serves a confusing mix of Turkish, Mediterranean and Lebanese food—and reminds uninformed Singaporeans everywhere that Lebanon isn’t just about shawarmas. For Ramadan, they're offering free dates, a soup, salad and drink with any main course between 6:30-8pm for (mixed grill not included). Highlights include the lamb kofta (minced lamb), lahem mashwi (charcoal grilled lamb cubes) and cordon bleu (chicken breast stuffed with cheese and chicken ham). 14 Bussorah St.
 

Chef-in-Box Vending Machine Cafe


It's not entirely the most glamorous or usual of choices, but if you're in a rush to go somewhere but need a place to break fast (and halal), Chef-in-Box's first VendCafe on Level 3 of Suntec Convention Centre is your answer. Catering to the City Hall office crowd, the VendCafe houses seven vending machiens offering quick, hot takeaway meals ranging from Korean to Thai, Indian to Spanish and many other cuisines; all cooked fresh daily by renowned chefs before being transported and stored in the machines. 3/F Suntec Convention Centre, 1 Raffles Blvd.
 

FatPapas



The Together-gather Platter. Photo credit: FatPapas' Facebook page 

It’s pretty much the halal version of Fatboy’s, now at Kampong Glam and Geylang. And just like the original, the menu features value-for-money specialty burgers with beef, lamb and chicken options. Get the classic Wimpy (beef patties, fried egg, turkey bacon and BBQ sauce), or try the new Black Peppercorn Burger, for those who like a peppery kick to their burgers. Besides the usual mozzarella sticks and sweet potato fries, sides like chili chicken boners and BBQ beef ribs are welcome new additions. The build-your-own-burger option remains as well. Otherwise, you can go for their special Ramadan platter aptly called "The Together-gather Platter" for $99. 17 Bali Ln. / 465 Joo Chiat Rd.
 

Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro


This Swedish bistro has the whole Scandinavian works, down to the minimalist Ikea-esque furniture. This Ramadan, the offering a shortened menu between 6:30-8pm for the first seating, but will go back to the full menu during the second seating (8:15pm). Favorites include Swedish meatballs, Pytt I Panna, which involves sauteed diced Black Angus beef, potatoes, onions, a sunny-side-up egg and served with pickled red beets and side salad, as well as Swedish pancakes and pies. 257 Beach Rd.
 

The Halia and The Villa


This local restaurant, set amid the garden's curated flora, is pretty much an institution at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. While known for a solid breakfast menu, they're introducing a Ramadan Communal Feast Menu at Halia, which serves up to four people and features a total of 11 dishes, including the Blackmore Wagyu Masala beef, pan-fried Barramundi with beetroot salsa, and bluefin tuna tartare; and a buffet menu with up to 20 dishes to choose from at The Villa on Fridays and the weekends. Ginger Garden (enter via Tyersall Ave.) at Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd.
 

Hararu Izakaya


The first halal Izakaya in Singapore, Hararu Izakaya specializes in Japanese grilled cuisine using traditional charcoal grills. Amongst artwork of Japanese landscape and icons, choose from a diverse menu of Japanese dishes like ever-popular kushiyaki (grilled skewers), available in wagyu beef, quail egg and chicken thigh; or heartier options like the Saba Shio Yaki and Unagi Kabayaki—grilled mackerel and grilled eel respectively. Hararu Izakaya’s signature dish, however, is Gyu Nitsuku, stewed tender beef ribs cooked for eight hours so they melt in your mouth. 16 Bussorah St.
 

Iftar Buffet at Hilton Singapore


Halal-certified Iftar buffets with a view? Head up to the 24th floor of Hilton Singapore where they've brought back their popular pop-up restaurant specially for the Ramadan month. The buffet spread presents more than 90 dishes across six carving and action stations, with a la minute specials like the roasted whole baby lamb with ketchumber salad and mind chutney, whole roasted beef sirloin, Singapore laksa, mixed fruit rojak, Ramly burger and ice kacang. Other dishes you can look forward to include their signature bubur lambuk daging, beef rendang, ayam masak merah and so, much, more. Paranoma Venue, 14/F Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Rd.
 

Katong Kitchen


In the heart of the Food District of Singapore, Katong Kitchen is located at Level 4 of Village Hotel Katong (formerly Paramount Hotel). Take your pick from the Ramadan Halal Buffet spread, like their ayam masak merah, kambing soup, sayur lodeh lemak, sotong masak kicap and more. There are also prayer rooms for Muslim diners. 4/F Village Hotel Katong, 25 Marine Parade Rd.
 

The Mad Sailors



Photo credit: The Mad Sailors' Facebook page

It can be pretty daunting to walk down Haji Lane, what with the crowd of tourists all lining up to take photos with the colorful, art-splashed walls and restos all vying for your patronage. But amidst the noise is a gem of a restaurant, located in a space that was once famous for its shisha offerings back in the day. The same guys behind the nearby Afterwit and (working title) opened up this oh-so-British establishment in the hopes of pulling imagery of dining in a chippy's, sipping tea at Mrs Atha's or queuing up for other street nosh on Brick Lane. The menu boasts familiar British dishes like house mash, British bulldog (grilled beef sausage with carrot, onion and herb tomato ragu in challah), a full English breakfast involving garlic and beef herb sausage with baked beans, beef bacon, tomatoes, eggs and pretty much the full works, among others. Otherwise, there are two Iftar sets you might want to go for. 24 Haji Ln.
 

Oliyve Cafe



Photo credit: olivye.com

While some of our favorite halal cafes are in Kampong Glam, this one out in Changi Village has quite a following too, thanks in no small part to its extensive gelato selection, with interesting flavors like blood orange, bandung, Horlicks and more. The savory menu is simple, but extensive: pastas like turkey bacon aglio olio, fish and chips and teriyaki chicken. #01-2009 Blk 5 Changi Village Rd.
 

The Royals Steakhouse



Australian 150 day grain fed black angus beef. Photo credit: The Royals Steakhouse's Facebook page

While there are numerous prolific steakhouses in Singapore, it's hard to find one that's halal and worth the calories. Enter The Royals Steakhouse—a no-frills spot on Jalan Pisang that imports fresh prime cuts from Australia and New Zealand. All steaks are served separately from the sauces so you can fully experience the flavors in all its glory, no matter if you order the Australian rib eye, 150-day grain-fed Cote De Boeuf or Tomahawk steak. 10 Jalan Pisang.
 

Rumah Rasa


Rumah Rasa is the first Indonesian restaurant in Singapore to use herbs and spices from its own edible garden in their dishes. Here you'll find an amicable space that doesn't draw attention away from the Indonesian dishes that aren't commonly found in Singapore, like the ikan kakap bakar cianjur and sate lilit, as well as dependable ones like sup buntut, ayam panggang and tahu telur. This Ramadan, enjoy their buffet offering every evening, where special items like Chick Kut Teh and Ayam Woku Belanga are featured, while live stations serve up asam laksa, crayfish and calamari. 1/F Bay Hotel Singapore, 50 Telok Blangah Rd.
 

Saltwater Cafe


Tucked away in the serene neighborhood and set amidst the lush greenery of Changi Village, Saltwater beckons you to taste the most out of their Asian and local fare. You can opt to dine in the spacious indoor area, or dine alfresco, overlooking Changi Golf Club. For Ramadan, go for their buffet spread of chili crab, tahu goreng, kambing soup, oxtail rendang, mutton masak merah and many others. 1/F Changi Village Hotel, 1 Netheravon Rd.
 

Straits Cafe


The long-standing Straits Cafe in Rendezvous Hotel Singapore has been around for two decades, focusing on a wide range of local and international cuisines from the Straits Settlement. For the first time, they can cater to Muslim guests after receiving the halal certification this year. Their evening break fast spread includes both signature dishes and familiar delectables like gado-gado, chicken tikka pitta pockets, ayam percik, Ipoh chicken rice and more. 1/F Rendezvous Hotel Singapore, 9 Bras Basah Rd.
 

Straits Kitchen


If you’re feeling both local and atas at the same time, Straits Kitchen is the place for you. Gather your group of friends for their Iftar dinner buffet, which features dishes like Baklava, Basbousa, the slow cooked Arabic spiced lamb shanks with oriental nut rice, homemade mezzeh and bread, as well as local faves from the restaurant's Chinese, Indian, Malay and Peranakan kitches. G/F Grand Hyatt Singpore, 10 Scotts Rd.