The Halia at Raffles Hotel
The Halia Group who first started the award-winning Halia restaurant at the Botanic Gardens 11 years ago is back again with its second outlet- The Halia at Raffles Hotel. Located at the now defunct space of Seah Street Deli, against the historic colonial settings of Singapore most iconic hotel, The Halia at Raffles Hotel serves up a contemporary European menu with a touch of Asian influence. Working with the concept of ‘small plates’ and ‘big plates’ instead of the usual ‘appetizers’ and ‘mains’, dining here at The Halia is all about casual and flexible fun as you create your own degustation menu and enjoy it with friends.
The 100-seater restaurant is airy, spacious and adorned with natural foliage, paying tribute to its flagship. An ancient old tree takes centre stage with a wooden carved table which will make excellent conversation fodder for whoever is dining there. Others can relish in the lush flora and black/white motif tiled floors of this cosy space as you sit in your cushioned chairs, waiting for the food to arrive.
The perfect marriage of the East and West, this MUST TRY small plate of Oriental Pulled Duck $18 is most riveting. The duck confit (classically French), had been marinated overnight, allowing all those duck meat to bask in the juices while the very Japanese Soba noodles gently tossed in sesame oil proved to be an elegant compliment. Overall, a simple yet dynamic dish that had much love from me.
Not the healthiest of salads but certainly one of the most indulgent, this Foie Gras Salad $23 was a beautiful medley of textures and flavours. From the infusion of sickly sweet apricot chutney and blueberries to that buttery texture of the foie gras and a nice crunch from the candied ginger pecans, everything was pulled together quite harmoniously and effortlessly.
Nothing too complicated about this Chicken Breast Salad $14 but just some really tender pieces of white chicken breast meat in fresh greens. The spotlight goes to that chilli, hazelnut and ginger flower dressing which was utterly refreshing and slightly spicy. I could have mistaken this for a great Thai Chilli salad.
My favourite small plate of the evening was this Celeriac Lasagna $12 which is actually a vegetarian dish. The ‘lasagna’ sheets were made from Celeriac, a type of root vegetable with a crunchy bite. With the Madeira cream laced with thyme, mushrooms, spinach and lemon enveloping those sheets of celeriac with much intensity, this might actually convince you that going vegetarian aint half bad.
Perhaps the most aesthetically plated of the small plates, the Confit Salmon $16 was truly a piece of art on a plate. Poached at a low temperature to seal the moisture, this confit salmon was prepared with much precision and finesse. Coupled with the ‘swoosh’ of cauliflower puree, a couple of roast florets and diced tomatoes, this was certainly a pretty sight.
The Javanese Spice Maori Lakes Rack of Lamb $47 served with eggplant puree and red pepper relish was a crowd pleaser with its sweet tender meat and charcoal- roasted till crisp exterior.
Prepared Sous Vide, this Baharat Chicken Leg $28 was quite the charmer with its Middle-Eastern Baharat spice marinate, enlivened by the butternut squash puree and coriander red pepper salsa surrounding it. The plus factor was probably the deboning of the chicken leg, serving it fillet style and making it extremely convenient to eat.
The Donald Russell Angus Tenderloin 200g for $60 features a grass fed 21 days dry aged beef from Ireland prepared impeccably and served Medium Rare. It was almost impossible to fault the pink toned and incredibly tender meat that had succulence and an authentic charred flavour.
A Halia classic, this Halia Chilli Crab $25 still remains one of the most popular dishes on the Halia at Botanic Gardens’ menu till today and with good reason. I thoroughly enjoyed how the thick, sweet and savoury sauce stayed true to the original version and the generous silvers of shredded crabmeat which was tossed with spaghetti. A great way to get your Chilli Crab cravings fixed, without getting the hands dirty!
The ultimate pairing in dessert, this Chocolate and Orange Custard $10 brings an uncomplicated end to a meal. I simply could not get enough of the top layer of chopped almonds and shortbread crumbs that was so addictive to munch on while the velvety smooth chocolate mousse laced with Grand Marnier was simply brimming with exuberance. Here’s one dessert I would not mind drinking to.
My favourite dessert of all was the delightfully refreshing Ginger Nougat Parfait $10. This Halia signature won me over with its ingenious use of spices in a homemade nutty nougat and pairing of caramelized pineapples which drew a positively unique and pleasantly sweet outcome.
The working crowd will be pleased to know that the al fresco bar here at Halia Raffles Hotel features a bevy of hand-crafted, artisanal beverage products from all around the world and a cocktail menu with a wide array of special concoctions, making it a charming and laid back watering hole to drop by for Happy Hour.
Do note that Halia at Raffles Hotel also has pocket-friendly pre-theatre menus at $25++ for 2 courses and $33++ for 3 courses from 5.30pm to 7pm daily so dont miss out on those!
1 Beach Road
Tel: +65 96391148
Mon-Fri: 1130am – 10pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 11am to 10pm
Brunch on weekends and PH: 11am to 5.30pm