I have always wanted to try The Halia at Botanic Garden but the thought of the inaccessibility always put me off. When I heard that Halia has opened a new restaurant at Raffles Hotel Singapore, I jumped on the opportunity to check out the new establishment.
A highlight of The Halia at Raffles Hotel is its al fresco bar that serve handcrafted artisanal beverage products around the world.
The Halia at Raffles Place is located at the defunct Seah Street Deli. Position as an urban casual restaurant, serving contemporary European cuisine with Asian touches, the restaurant has removed the usual appetiser and mains from the menu. Instead it introduces an unique concept of small plates and big plates to encourage communal as well as customising your own degustation in a fun and flexible manner.
Foie Gras Salad 3.8/5
From the small plates, we tried the Foie Gras Salad, Chicken Breast Salad, Celeriac Lasagna, Confit Salmon and Oriental Pulled Duck.
Some of us do not like our greens because of the bitterness. The apricot chutney and blueberry of the Foie Gras Salad ($23) masked off that unpleasant taste, giving the greens a nice fruity sweetness. Unfortunately the sweetness was a bit overwhelming towards the end when the greens got lesser.
Chicken Breast Salad 4.2/5
Moving on to the other salad small plate, The Chicken Breast Salad ($14) was more balanced in execution and flavours. The radish, chilli, hazelnut and ginger flower dressing worked in harmony while the chicken breast was surprisingly tender and moist.
Celeriac Lasagna 4.2/5
This is one dish at Halia that everyone is raving about. The Celeriac Lasagna ($12) is a vegetarian dish but adores by carnivores too. The innovative dish substituted the lasagna noodles with slices of celeriac. Instead of meaty mixture, a vegetarian mixture of mushroom, thyme, baby spinach, lemon and madeira cream is used. The earthy flavours and the crunchy celeriac opened my eyes to the world of culinary and changed my mindset about vegetarian dish.
Confit Salmon 4.5/5
The exquisite Salmon Confit ($16) was surrounded by a beautiful garden of roast floret, tomato and cauliflower puree with vanilla. The pinkish salmon was cooked to perfection. The texture of the cauliflower puree was smooth. However I did not really enjoy the vanilla flavour with the cauliflower puree. I am glad to just leave out the vanilla.
Oriental Pulled Duck 3.5/5
The Oriental Pulled Duck ($18) is an interesting dish, light and refreshing. The oriental pulled duck was packed with flavours while the soba provided the texture contrast. It was something different for a contemporary European cuisine restaurant but not memorable for me.
Potato Fries 4.2/5 and Polenta Coated Asparagus 3/5
After trying out the the small plates, we had some Potato Fries ($8) and Polenta Coated Asparagus ($9) from the side orders while waiting for our big plates. The potato fries is paired with truffle aioli and piquant mayo dip while the polenta coated asparagus is paired with basil lemon mayo dip.
Javanese spice Maori Lakes rack of Lamb 4.8/5
The Javanese Spice Maori Lakes Rack of Lamb ($47) was my favourite for the night. Served with eggplant puree and red pepper relish, the lamb was tender and not gamy. There was a hint of sweetness on the lamb, probably from the marination of the javanese spice.
Sous vide Baharat Chicken Leg 4.5/5
The Sous vide Baharat Chicken Leg ($28) turned out to be one of the most well received dish for the tonight. Pardon the appearance that looks like 2 burnt pieces of chicken breasts. The chicken leg was surprisingly tender and juicy. Complementing the lovely flavours with the butternut squash puree & roast, ginger, coriander red pepper salsa.
Chilean Seabass en Papillote 3/5
The new The Halia at Raffles Hotel also served some of Halia classic dishes. One of them is the Chilean Seabass en Papillote ($43). The seabass is baked in parchment paper and served with sushi rice separately. Probably my least favourite as I thought the fish was a bit bland.
Halia Chilli Crab 4/5
Another Halia classic is the Halia Chilli Crab ($25). A fusion pasta dish of the signature local chilli crab with spaghetti and egg. I like the fact that this is the real stuff using real crab meat instead of substituting it with soft shell crab.
Seafood Gratin 4/5
This is probably one of the bigger serving portion among the big plates. The Seafood Gratin ($26) is baked to a nice cheesy crust covering a bed of pignolina pasta and seafood underneath.
Donald Russell Angus Tenderloin (Ireland) 200g 4/5
Hardly do we get to have beef from the Unit Kingdom being served in Singapore's restaurant. The Halia at Raffles Hotel imported the Donald Russell Angus Tenderloin (200g for $60) which is grass fed 21 days dry aged. Pardon my immature palate, I am lost of words to describe this new found flavour. It tasted flavoursome but different from the beef from the other regions I have tasted so far.
Ginger Nougat Parfait 4.2/5
Another Halia classic is the Ginger Nougat Parfait ($10). I am taken back how spices (ginger, anise, cinnamon) can work beautifully for dessert too. It is also smartly harmonised with the fruity sweetness of pineapple.
Sticky Toffee Pudding 3.5/5
The Sticky Toffee Pudding ($10) may look rather boring but it was really quite good. The date pudding was moist and was excellently paired with butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate and Orange Custard 4/5
Chocolate and orange combination you just can't fault it. The Chocolate and Orange Custard ($10) was bursting with richness. The shortbread and almond provided that lovely texture on top of the rich flavour.
Chilled Strawberry Soup 3/5
Before serving, some sparking wine is poured into the Chilled Strawberry Soup ($12). A light and refreshing dessert suitable for the humid Singapore weather. It is nice but soup for dessert is a first for me. It probably takes a while for me to really appreciate it.
We were recommended to try the so called warm cocktail of Halia, the Hendrick's Hot Gin Punch ($120++ ). The cocktail consists of Hendrick's gin, madeira wine, lemon, fresh pineapple, honey, fresh orange, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Serving is good for 6 people. It was a welcome drink to cleanse the palate after a meal. All of us were also very fascinated by the vintage teacups and teapot.
I have heard good reviews of The Halia at Botanic Gardens and I am glad that they have opened their 2nd branch at a more accessible location, Raffles Hotel. Besides introducing a new dining concept of small plates and big plates. The Halia at Raffles Hotel also offers a Pre-Theatre Dinner Menu of 2 course or 3 course ($28++/$33++) meal daily 530pm to 700pm.
The Halia at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
Tel: +65 96391148
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line), Bras Basah (CC Line)
Mon-Fri: 1130am - 10pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 10am - 10pm
1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Cut across Raffles City Shopping Centre to Bras Basah Road. At the junction of Bras Basah Road and North Bridge Road, cross the road to Raffles Hotel. Journey time about 5 minutes.
2) Alight at Bras Basah MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk southwards towards Victoria Road along Bras Basah Road. Continue southwards to North Bridge Road. At the junction of Bras Basah Road and North Bridge Road, cross the junction to Raffles Hotel. Journey time about 7 minutes.