We don’t know about you, but the two things we love about eating out are one: you get a night off cooking and cleaning up and two: thanks to a menu, you don’t have to think too long and hard about what to eat. Especially at The Halia restaurant with their Communal Feasting Menu.
Sitting pretty in the corner of Raffles Hotel, The Halia is the latest addition to the acclaimed Halia group of restaurants in Southeast Asia. Taking the place of the former Seah Street Deli, The Halia, with its relaxed, informal and inviting vibe, can sit over 100 hungry diners. Of course, for those hankering after one of the world-renowned Singapore Slings by Hendricks, The Halia bar is just outside in the Raffles Hotel’s lush gardens.
Open for both lunch and dinner, the restaurant is contemporary European with a distinct Asian twist and while it of course has a full a la carte menu, it’s the ‘communal feasting’ concept that really makes this nifty little place stand out. Call it the Asian way, the American way or even a tasting menu (as we have come to know if of late) – if you are after a delicious, interesting and fun meal with friends, then you really can’t go wrong.
While the Communal Feasting menu is designed for three to four people, we have to admit that just three of us popped along for lunch and we left with very happy, very, very full tummies and not much food left on the plates!
So what did we eat? Well, we started our culinary tour with a wonderfully refreshing jug of lemongrass water, perfect to cleanse our palettes and gear us up for the scrumptious food coming our way.
First up was the pumpkin soup with bread selection. Hungry and eager to see what the restaurant had to offer, we chomped our way through the utterly delicious and fantastically fresh delights, even going back for seconds. Word to the wise – this wasn’t the best idea we have ever had as ten more, increasingly delicious courses awaited us.
Moving on; came one of my favourite courses – the goats cheese mousse with heirloom tomatoes, olive, wild honey and brioche. With good cheese and indeed fresh tomatoes so hard to come by in Singapore, biting into this was like heaven! This was followed by a duo of pulled duck, which came with gherkins, soba noodles and herb salad and the house smoked salmon pate with Hendricks gin and cucumber. While both were magnificent, with the duck melting in your mouth, the salmon pate was really the piece de resistance with a puff of smoke coming out the pot once opened and one of the creamiest, freshest tastes I’ve experienced.
Next up it was time for the fish courses with the very Singapore focused dish of Chili crab dip which came with toasted baguette and baked Kingfish collar – finished with pickled vegetable miso, orange and ginger. Both excellent in their own way, where the crab peaked and perked your taste buds, the kingfish was more gentle and soothing – getting you ready for, yes you’ve guessed it; yet more food.
The tender and almost sweet Wagyu beef cooked with chorizo, oyster sauce and spring onion was accompanied by a course of twice-cooked spatchcock chicken. Served with the most hip-bustlingly delicious slaw, this easy to please dish is sure to suit even the pickiest of eaters.
Just one main course left to go and it was the undeniable ‘big one’. Mayura Station ‘Gunpowder’ Wagyu rump with spring onion mash and pepper sauce. What can I say, this one floored me. Although normally I am not much of a steak eater (not to mention the fact that I had already undone the top button of my trousers I was so full), this moist and almost creamy meat was just bursting with flavour. Perfectly paired with the fantastically fluffy spring onion mash, I am almost ashamed to admit I went back for thirds!
Last but not least came pudding. Coconut parfait with chocolate and ginger and sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, sea salt and vanilla ice cream. Mouth-wateringly delicious, the sticky toffee pudding was my particular favourite with it managing to be rich, gooey and light at the same time.
So would I go back to The Halia? Absolutely. But this time, I might take more people, it’s taken me weeks to work all that food off!
The Halia restaurant, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road, 189673, +65 9639 1148 http://thehalia.com/raffles/raffles/restaurant/