The name Halia brings back fond memories for me.
The Halia at the Botanic Gardens was one of my most memorable dining experiences: YZ and I spent our first anniversary there, and it was an unforgettable night for me, the beautiful garden setting, the amazing culinary fare we tasted, and also how we tried to walk our way out of the Botanic Gardens and ended up lost, we wandered our way through the private estates until a kind lady in a Mercedes actually drove past us, and backtracked to inquire if we needed a ride out to the main road!
We were dressed in matching couple tee-shirts and I was carrying a bouquet of flowers, so you can imagine what a ridiculous sight we were. Thank goodness, there are still many kind-hearted Samaritans around, and we were fortunate enough to encounter one! It was a memorable night in many ways, and almost five years down the road, I still have a special spot in my heart for The Halia at the Botanic Gardens.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Halia has now branched out of its leafy setting at the Gardens, and you can now find The Halia at the iconic Raffles Hotel, which is conveniently located right in the heart of Cityhall. Super awesome news!
Not a bit of ambience is lost: there are gorgeous French windows and planted leafy foliage within the restaurant, in line with the garden-themed dining that The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens is so famed for. A garden in a concrete jungle. I love it!
If you’ve dined at Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens, you know that the prices are pretty exquisite, if you know what I mean. Hahaha.
The Halia at Raffles Hotel is positioned as an urban-casual restaurant, serving up contemporary European cuisine with Asian touches. When I took a look at the menu, I was wow-ed by how much more affordable the prices were, in comparison to The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens! Affordability is always good news for the consumer. Yay!
Also, The Halia at Raffles Hotel introduces a new dining concept of “Small Plates’ and “Big Plates” instead of the typical “Appetizers” and “Mains” that we have come to expect at such restaurants, and it is a really refreshing way of dining! This allows you to create your own unique dining experience that’s both flexible and fun!
Singapore Sling by Hendrick’s $28
Hendrick’s Gin, CHerry Brandy, Cointreau, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine Syrup and Benedictine D.O.M
I started the night by indulging in a Singapore Sling. Not much of a drinker, but this had a nice tangy taste to it without too much alcohol. I still couldn’t finish it though!
An assortment of small plates were served, which was extremely enjoyable. I love variety in my food, so the more the merrier!
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio $24
Truffle aioli, micro cress, chilli lemon salt, pickled radish
This was delicious: the thinly-sliced pieces of raw wagyu beef simply melted in the mouth, and was well-complemented by the additon of spices and picked radish! No raw meat taste whatsoever. Loved it!
Celeriac “Lasagna” $12
Mushroom, thyme, baby spinach, lemon, madeira cream
An interesting dish that is surprisingly rich for being meat-less! It is actually made of Celeriac, but designed to taste like a Lasagna, with sheets of celeriac in a delicious cream sauce. Great option, even if you’re not vegan!
Cured Hiramasa Kingfish $25
Paprika, citrus, espelette pepper, lemon, daikon, sauce vierge
This tangy dish really whet my appetite and I enjoyed the tender Kingfish slices in it that gave a nice contrast to the crunchy daikon (there are three kinds of radishes in it if I recall rightly!)
Oriental Pulled Duck $18
Gherkin, caper, micro herb salad, soba noodle, sesame oil
I thought that this dish was pretty interesting because it’s so asian, duck and soba, anyone? I found the pulled duck unmemorable, while the soba noodles were firm and tasted delicious coated in a light sesame oil.
Foie Gras Salad $23
Apricot chutney, ginger, blueberry, crouton, almond kernel
You definitely have to try this if you enjoy foie gras! This is sinfulness masquerading as a salad haha. Every bite of foie gras is pure heaven, and surprisingly tasted wonderful with the apricot chutney, fruity bits and greens! The rich flavorful taste of the foie gras was well-balanced by its salad counterparts. Definitely one of my favorite “small plate”!
We also had two side orders to share, and both were so addictive to munch on! Meh. So much for my non-fried food diet, but they were too good to give it a miss!
Polenta coated asparagus, basic lemon mayo $9
Greens are good for you, right? Not so sure about this dish, but it was certainly crispy and crunchy with the polenta coated batter, and with the lemon mayo dip on the side, it was hard to stop at a few!
Potato fries, truffle aioli and piquant mayo $7
Okay, I LOVE fries, and this just made it to the top of my list. The fries had a crisp exterior with a soft potatoey interior, and accompanied by the truffle aioli and piquant mayo, they were so good I really couldn’t help myself. There you go #dietfail
We then moved on to the big plates.. But you can probably imagine that I was quite stuffed by then! Thankfully (or not), my appetite can be humongous, especially if good food and occasion call for it. HAHA.
Sous Vide Baharat Chicken Leg $28
Butternut squash puree and roast ginger, coriander red pepper salsa
I’ve been reading a lot of food blogs lately, and this Sous Vide cooking method has really intrigued me! Well, this dish certainly is a glowing testimonial to the wonders of Sous Vide, the chicken meat was absolutely tender and juicy, while being flavorful and firm! It was not dry at all, really. You have to taste it to believe it!
Seafood Gratin $26
Pignolina pasta, basil, parmesan, olive oil
We Asians love our carbs. I’m sure my boyfriend would have a field day with this dish, it’s cheesy carb goodness in one huge dish you cannot miss! The texture of the pignolina pasta was interesting, because it almost tasted like rice, but had a firmer and more chewy texture! Yums!
Halia Chilli Crab $25
Spaghettini, spring onion, egg
East meets West in The Halia’s signature Chilli Crab pasta dish, and it comes with generous chunks of crab in our favourite chilli crab sauce! It’s not as spicy as the typical Chilli Crab dish, but on the whole very palatable and tasty.
Javanese spice Maori Lakes Rack of Lamb $49
Eggplant Puree, red pepper relish
I am not a huge fan of lamb, but this has got to be one of the most delicious racks of lamb I’ve tasted! The lamb meat was tender, with a rich meaty flavor that was not gamey at all! The well-charred exterior of the lamb revealed a soft juicy interior, and the eggplant puree and red pepper relish went so well.
We then moved on to desserts, but not before I settled my tummy with another of The Halia’s signature ginger infusion drink!
Halia Infusion (Hot) $10
Halia signature of sundred ginger and wild mountain honey
This is said to aid digestion and it certainly felt like it helped to wash down all the food that I had! I like the sharp taste of the ginger with the sweetness of the honey, and the soothing warmth of the hot infusion.
A meal as fine as this is not complete without desserts! And yes, there is always room for desserts, muahahaha.
Ginger Nougat Parfait $10
Caramelised pineapple, puff pastry, almond, anise, cinnamon
Ginger lovers would adore this! I found the taste interesting, it was a combination of the sharp tang of ginger with the rich nuttiness of the almond and anise, and the aromatic scent of cinnamon. But I still prefer my slightly more traditional desserts..
Chilled Strawberry Soup $12
Sparkling wine, balsamic, lime sorbet, black pepper
A super refreshing way to finish off a solid meal, the chilled strawberry soup was tart and invigorating with every spoonful! I loved the lime sorbert, and the slightly acidic taste of the balsamic vinegar. Did you know that balsamic vinegar draws out the natural sweetness of strawberries? Match made in heaven! The unexpected addition of black pepper was a surprisingly nice touch as well!
Here is the sparkling wine being poured into the dish on the spot. You cannot taste the alcohol much, or so I felt! Which is a bonus point for me. Hahaha.
Sticky Toffee Pudding $10
Date, butterscotch sauce, sea salt, vanilla ice cream
Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of my top favourite desserts! This was SO good we had to ask for seconds. And we did!! Promptly wiped out by the four girls on our side of the table, in probably about twenty seconds or less. The pudding was rich and moist, while the butterscotch sauce gave it that extra savoury kick. Also check out the specks of vanilla bean in the scoop of vanilla ice cream! Went so so so well with the pudding. And by the way, it is only $10 which is super affordable? (Marmalade Pantry’s is about $14.90 if I remember correctly…) Now I know where to go when I’m craving for my Sticky Toffee Pudding fix!
White Chocolate Mousse $12
Chocolate soil, peach puree, raspberry, chocolate ice cream
This deconstructed looking dessert was almost as good as the Sticky Toffee Pudding (well, I’m biased) The scoop of chocolate ice cream was sticky and rich, and the white chocolate mousse is just to-die-for with its milky sweetness! The texture of the chocolate soil gave this dish a different dimension, while the tart raspberry helped to offset the almost-too-rich taste of the chocolate ice cream and white chocolate mousse.
And that was the end of our delicious meal: I am SO bringing YZ here soon! I love it that the prices are much more affordable, so while The Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens is somewhere special I would reserve for occasions, The Halia at Raffles Hotel is a place I know I’d end up being a regular patron of, what with its convenient location and affordability!
Here’s the lovely ladies who shared the table with me, Jess, Rachie, and Nadia! Thankfully, I know these girls pretty well, so our dinner was a fun session with all kinds of non-appropriate dinner topics flying around the table. Muahahaha.
By the way, The Halia at Raffles Hotel also has an al fresco bar!. Positioned to serve hand-crafted, artisanal beverage products from around the world, the bar has been chosen by William Grant & Sons to become an international showcase for their range of products, and is slated to host all Balvenie & Hendrick’s Gin brand ambassadors visiting the region.
Here’s a lovely shot of the three ladies and myself. Ooh we are so color co-ordinated like a traffic light. Lolol.
Rach and myself, we’re actually secondary school classmates and it’s really nice to re-connect with old friends after so many years! Had a great time catching up!
With the small but feisty Nadia, we frequently moan together over the woes of weight loss! Well Nad’s doing pretty well, but myself, MEH.
And pretty Jess! Always such a pleasure to dine together with Jess! Can’t wait for us to go nom on some Northern Indian cuisine together soon! ;D
Outfit shot. Hahaha I feel so awkward posing sometimes. MEH. Apparently you just have to throw a scarf over everything and you’ll look like a tai tai! 😀
Wore the Scallop Hem Suede Skirt in Black (I must have worn it countless times!) with just a bright lime yellow tube and a scarf! My most trusty nude wedges from Sœurs (located at Cineleisure level 2) And my hair looks oh-so-gorgeous because that was the day I got it done! Blog post on that soon. Heh.
The Halia is located at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
Tel: 9639 1148
Mon to Fri
11.30am – 10pm
Sat, Sun & PH
11am – 10pm
One last very important thing: Go for the Pre-Theatre Dinner Set if you can, because it is super super value for money! For $28++, you can get a 2 course meal, while for $33++, you can get a 3 course meal (1 small plate + 1 big plate + 1 dessert)
THAT IS EXTREMELY GOOD VALUE. Especially for the amazing quality of food you can expect!
Only available from 5.30PM – 7PM though!
Thank you FoodNews PR for the invitation! 🙂 I had a spectacular dinner and I can’t wait to be back at The Halia at Raffles Hotel again! 🙂
Gonna spend my Sunday replying emails! Yes the emails are almost exploding out of my inbox nooooooo. Go go go fighting!