|An abundance of daylight at Halia (Raffles Hotel)|
Helming the premises of the former Seah Street Deli, Halia (Malay for ginger) at Raffles Hotel preserves the charming black and white floors of its predecessor, while incorporating the lush surroundings of Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens. The 100-seater restaurant offers a spacious dining environment decorated by planted foliage, a collection of wood-carved tables and an abundance of daylight that peeks through the restaurant’s classic French windows. When I visited on a Sunday evening, the service was top notch though the restaurant was relatively empty.
|Oriental pulled duck sitting on cold soba noodles, |
thinly julienned carrots, spring onions and soy sesame dressing
|Deep Fried Wagyu Beef served in Dim Sum bamboo basket|
On the menu, Halia at Raffles Hotel showcases contemporary European cuisine with Asian inspirations and uses the communal dining style of two plate sizes, small plates for appetisers and big plates for main courses. We started with an order of oriental pulled duck. The base is formed with cold soba noodles, thinly julienned carrots, spring onions and soy sesame dressing. The pulled duck which lay on top of the noodles was seasoned using five spice with the cinnamon lending a sweet flavour to the dish. The micro herb salad rounded off the top of the dish which tasted as good as it looked. Next we had the celeriac lasagne which turned out to be a surprising vegetarian combination of mushrooms, thyme, baby spinach, lemon and Madeira cream layered between celeriac sheets. The mushrooms which were cooked in the Madeira cream sauce and finished with some truffle oil was full of flavour. The celeriac sheets were slightly crunchy and the only small problem with the dish was it did not hold together when you cut it. The last small plate we had was the deep fried wagyu beef with salt and chilli which was served in a dim sum bamboo basket. The tender strips of beef was heavily seasoned, in particular with the hot Spanish La Chinata smoked paprika powder. The beef dipped in the piquant mayo was very addictive and even found myself finishing the crumbs.
|Halia Chilli Crab Pasta|
|Wagyu rump cap steak topped with tobacco onions|
For the main, we had the signature Halia chilli crab pasta. The dish consist of spaghettini cooked with crabmeat and a spicy egg based gravy which was sweet and spicy. The thick sauce held on well to each strand of pasta but personally I prefer something a little spicier. I can only imagine how Jumbo’s chilli crab sauce would taste with pasta. Maybe I should ta pao some of the gravy next time and try it! Halia’s version though suited my wife who polished it off quite quickly. I had the wagyu rump cap steak topped with tobacco onions which was served on a wooden board with my side choice of garden salad and foie gras butter. The wagyu rump cap was tender and full of beefy umami and sweetness. I chose to add the pan fried foie gras on the steak however I realised that it was not the best decision as personally I felt the foie gras overpowers the taste of the steak. I prefer to eat it separately and enjoy the taste of each one. The tabacco onions are deep fried flour coated onions which are crispy and resemble tabacco.
For dessert, we had the ginger nougat parfait. This was served with caramalised pineapple and a puff pastry stick. The ginger parfait was not too sweet and had a pleasant taste of cream, anise and cinnamon with bits of ginger in it.
There are not many places in Singapore that do a good job of blending east and west cuisine but I think Halia has done an outstanding job of it. Their ranking of 25th out of 7000+ Singaporean restaurants on Tripadvisor certainly proves that.
Halia at Raffles Hotel: 1 Beach Road #01-22/23 Raffles Hotel, Singapore 189673
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~ Andre Huber