Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens is one of my favorite restaurants! Set amid beautiful lush greenery, it is the perfect place for a romantic dinner, and the impeccable service rendered during previous visits certainly left me with a good impression. So when its sister restaurant, The Halia At Raffles Hotel, opened in one of Singapore's most iconic building in the convenience of town near City Hall mrt, I was keen to check it out too.
It was lovely to find the garden theme being replicated within the spacious restaurant, with lush foliage, wooden tables and classic French windows setting a gorgeous backdrop for the contemporary European cuisine infused with Asian touches which we were about to savor. The vibes is relaxed, casual, and radiating of urban chicness. Totally love it!
Instead of seeing a menu with the typical appetizers and main courses, the food is broadly categorized into "small plates" and "big plates", a concept which encourages communal dining. It worked out perfectly for our group of 5 as we ordered more than a couple of plates to share. Minimal pinch is felt on our wallets as prices are comparatively more friendly than its Botanical Gardens sibling. We were also glad that serving portions were generous and sufficient to satisfy all our tummies. No need to fight! Lol!
From the small plates, we had Deep Fried Squid ($14, ginger, spring onion lime syrup dip & piquant mayo), Foie Gras Salad ($23, apricot chutney, ginger, blueberry, crouton, almond kernel) and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($24, truffle aioli, micro cress, chilli lemon salt, pickled radish). All were executed brilliantly!
My friends were urging me to try the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, which they all enjoyed tremendously for its freshness and melt-in-the-mouth goodness. I'm not so keen of moo moo its raw primal form, but instead focused my attention on the amazing Foie Gras Salad.
Woohoo what a sinful indulgence! Nicely seared cubes of foie gras mingled among seemingly innocent salad greens, crunchy croutons and almond kernal while basking in the sweet and tangy fruity dressing. A most wondrous combination of texture and flavors!
We also couldn't keep our fingers off the Deep Fried Squid and side order of Potato Fries ($8, truffle aioli & piquant mayo). Both were equally munch addictive.
Our selection from the big plates includes the Halia Chilli Crab ($25, spaghettini, spring onion, egg), Sous-vide Baharat Chicken Leg ($28, butternut squash puree & roast, ginger, corinder red pepper salsa) and Chilean Seabass en Papillote ($46, sushi rice, wakame, shiitake, mirin broth, shallot butter, truffle aioli)
Their signature Halia Chilli Crab Spaghettini is an East-West marriage of Singapore's well loved dish with chunks of crab meat and thin pasta coated in a sweet, spicy sauce, threatening to capture our hearts as much as the version which we are all familiar with. It's lip-smacking delicious!
Sous-vide Baharat Chicken Leg holds promise of tenderness and it didn't disappoint in this aspect. First cooked in water bath and finished off with a grill, the chicken was juicy and aromatic with subtle notes of midde-eastern spices.
The Japanese-inspired Chilean Seabass arrived covered in parchment paper, which opened to reveal succulent snowy-white fish and shiitake mushrooms immersed in an intensely flavorsome mirin broth. The comforting dish went swiftly into our tummies in no time. We gave the accompanying sushi rice a miss though, general feel was that it was a tad boring.
It was tempting to order more of the small and big plates dishes such as Oriental Pulled Duck ($18) and Javanese-spice Maori Lakes Rack of Lamb ($49), but we wanted to save space for desserts which would be regretful if missed.
We all loved the Chilled Strawberry Soup ($12, sparkling wine, balsamic, lime sorbet, black pepper) for its invigorating taste, but the unanimous favorite went to the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($10, date, butterscotch sauce, sea salt, vanilla ice cream). Warm, moist and spongy, the pudding was surprisingly light on the palate. Paired with butterscotch sauce with a sprinkling of sea salt which lifted the overall taste and quality vanilla ice cream, this is certainly one of the most divine rendition we ever had.
"Halia" means ginger in Malay and it's being used as a main ingredient in Halia's classic dessert, Ginger Nougat Parfait ($10, caramelised pineapple, puff pastry, almond, anise, cinnamon). And of course, a drink which I must have every time I stepped into Halia is the highly refreshing chilled Halia Infusion ($10, sundried ginger & wild mountain honey).
Halia also features Express Lunch Set ($25++ for 3-course) for the time conscious executives and do check out the Pre-Theatre Menu ($25++ for 2-course / $33++ for 3 course) available from 5.30pm to 7pm daily if you're planning for an early dinner. Seriously good value for money considering that both showcases some of the signatures dishes from the ala-carte menu and the high quality of food served.
The al fresco bar at Halia would be the perfect post-dinner place to chillax with wines, cocktails and hand-crafted artisanal beverages sourced from around the world. I was told that the Hendricks bathtub is fully functional! Gin bath, anyone?
Service was immaculate as usual with servers who are friendly and knowledgeable about the food. Halia remains one of my trusted restaurants for an enjoyable dining experience.
Halia At Raffles Hotel
Address: 1 Beach Road, #01-22/23 Raffles Hotel, Singapore 189673
Contact: +65 96391148
Mon-Fri Lunch 12pm-2.30pm / Dinner 6pm-10.30pm
Sun & Public Holiday 11am-10.30pm
Brunch 11am-5.30pm (Weekends & Public Holidays only)
Afternoon Tea 3pm-5pm (Weekends & Public Holidays only)