Dinner at The Halia at Raffles Hotel

A name familiar to regular visitors of Singapore Botanic Gardens, The Halia sees the opening of a new outlet at Raffles Hotel. The Halia Group has reaped tremendous recognition and several awards since its launch in 2001. Following the group’s expansion with the opening of Villa Halia, The Halia in Hanoi is its first venture out of Singapore.

The Halia at Raffles Hotel is housed in the premises of the former Seah Street Deli, where most elements of the old interior such as the checkered floor tiles and classic French windows are retained. Adapting to the colonial charm without refashioning the entire space into an unrecognisable state, the Halia Group brings in its distinctive traits such as lush planted foliage and rustic wood-carved tables to bring the garden setting into the indoors.

Cured Hiramasa Kingfish ($25)

The menu is divided into “small plates”, “large plates”, sides, desserts, and drinks.

Under the “small plates” segment, the appetising starter of Cured Hiramasa Kingfish is not only striking to look at, but thanks to the glorious interplay of paprika, citrus, espelette pepper, lemon, daikon and sauce vierge, your appetite is bound to be enlivened.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($24)

Also worthy of mention is the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, which features paper-thin slices of beef that’s utterly smooth on the palate. Dollops of truffle aioli, sprigs of micro cress, a sprinkling of chilli lemon salt, and equally-thinly sliced pickled radish are instrumental in bringing about a cohesive amalgamation.

Celeriac “Lasagna” ($12)

The pungent taste of celery in the “lasagna” sheets made wholly of celery root is so pronounced you can hardly mistake it for anything else. Those with a disdain for celery will not be able to truly appreciate this thoughtfully composed dish, although the earthy fragrance of mushroom in an enriching Madeira cream, coaxed with aromatic thyme, help make this more palatable.

Foie Gras Salad ($23)

The Foie Gras Salad is another standout. Tossed with the greens are croutons for a needed crunch, apricot chutney that lends an appealing sweetness, and unexpected ingredients such as blueberry, ginger and almond kernel.

With this dish, my love for foie gras has increased by multiple folds, and my only gripe is the scarcity of it. (The portion is decent, but you can never get enough of the things you love, can you?)

Oriental Pulled Duck ($18)

While the dishes offered at The Halia are fairly segregated without a definite cuisine type, this dish is clearly a nod to both eastern and western palates. The well-balanced melange of incredibly tender pulled duck, gherkin, caper, micro herb salad, soba noodle and sesame oil work faultlessly together despite its unorthodoxity.

Potato Fries served with Truffle Aioli and Piquant Mayo ($8)

Polenta coated Asparagus served with Basil Lemon Mayo ($9)

The Polenta-coated Asparagus is of instant appeal. Delightfully crunchy on the outside without the greasiness, even the most ardent veggie haters will overlook the fact that what the crust encases is actually green. Extra points go to the inventive usage of polenta.

Javanese spice Maori Lakes rack of Lamb ($49)

“Big plates” include expressive interpretations of poultry, meats and seafood.

The noteworthy Javanese spice Maori Lakes rack of Lamb, done to tender medium-rare perfection, is accompanied by a delectable eggplant puree and piquant red pepper relish.

Sous Vide Baharat Chicken Leg ($28)

Also worth ordering is the Sous Vide Baharat Chicken Leg. Despite its charred appearance, their adept handling ensures that moisture is locked in, boasting juiciness in every bite. Accompanying the poultry are roasted chunks of butternut squash and puree, ginger, coriander and red pepper salsa. The charm of this dish will start to seem self-evident as soon as you take your first bite.

Seafood Gratin ($26)

While the dishes served are most artfully presented, those in need of hearty comfort food are not forsaken.

The seafood gratin turns out to be my favourite dish of the evening, as most comfort foods would garner the same biased remark from me.

Lusciously creamy, generously scattered with seafood and sufficiently cheesy, there’s nothing not to love about this dish except the amount of calories you’d be consuming.

Chilled Strawberry Soup ($12)

Desserts are equally captivating.

The Chilled Strawberry Soup will please alcohol lovers. The combination of strawberry puree, balsamic, lime sorbet, black pepper and sparkling wine may sound strange at first, but after a few spoonfuls it all starts to make sense.

Sticky Toffee Pudding ($10)

Date, butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream

Ginger Nougat Parfait ($10)

Caramelised pineapple, puff pastry, almond, anise and cinnamon

White Chocolate Mousse ($12)

The White Chocolate Mousse is a personal favourite, although all four desserts that I tried fared well in their own unique ways.

The perfectly creamy, minimalist spoonful of white chocolate mousse is something you’d want to have an affair with. Served alongside is a scoop of chocolate ice cream, raspberry, peach puree and chocolate soil.

Halia Mint Berry ($12)

Ginger, mint leaf, fresh blueberry and sprite

As you approach the end of the meal, you may consider ordering a tipple or two, especially the highly praised cocktails and signature Singapore Sling, so as to find more excuse to linger longer in this spiffy enclave.

Non-alcoholic drinkers have mocktail options such as the Halia Mint Berry and Ginger Jive.

The Halia at Raffles Hotel
#01-22/23, 1 Beach Road
Raffles Hotel, Singapore 189673

Website: thehalia.com