Afternoon teas are always luxurious affairs (Which we are so used to mistakenly-saying high tea as it has a rather different meaning historically). Be it the traditional triple tiers or the simple cake and tea combo, the meal has always been a symbol of self-pampering. And if you would like to spent an afternoon relaxing among the lush greens, Halia might be where you will be heading to.
Nestled within the iconic Botanics Garden, Halia has built up quite a fan base over the years with its signature dishes and unique location. Under new Executive Chef Peter Rollinson, the menu has been refreshed yet again to highlight European dishes with Asian influences. While the spacious alfresco area seemed pretty inviting, we were beaten by the heat to hide indoor for our tea tasting session.
Halia Infusion (Cold)
Included one-off in the afternoon tea set, this was my first timing opting for the cold version of the signature drink. Expected to be slightly diluted than the hot one, it was still very refreshing with its spicy aftertaste.
Now here's the double tier tea set that we will be trying for the day. At 28++ per pax, there's quite a number of sweets and savourys in the set and came with Halia Infusion and unlimited coffee refills. Items are also changed periodically and reflected mini versions of the ala-carte creations. Let's take a look at the sweet ones first.
(Clockwise from middle)
Coconut Panna Cotta, Mango, Passionfruit and Lychee, Toasted Coconut - While the ingredients might taste overly creamy/sour individually, it actually all came together pretty well. Take care to dig your spoon all the way and scoop out a mix of everything.
Freshly Baked Scone, Orange and Ginger Jam, Chantilly Cream - Soft, slightly crumbly and butter-ish in taste, these were good enough to be eaten on its own or with the jam and cream.
Carrot Cake with Crème Cheese Icing and Toasted Walnut - Not as much cream cheese as I would prefer, but still reasonably fragrant with an airy texture.
New Opera (Chocolate Sponge Layered with Raspberry Buttercream) - Breaking away from the traditional all-chocolate Opera, I thought this one was too sour for my liking.
Quince and Almond Cake with Crème Fraiche - Not much impression of how this was like, honestly.
Ginger Flower Macaroon - Paying tribute to Ginger usage, I personally prefer my macaroons with less adventurous flavours.
(Clockwise from middle)
Wagyu Beef Rendang Samosa - Wagyu-ing it didn't make an obvious difference, but was still a pretty decent snack.
Fennel Custard with Parmesan and Almond - Interestingly presented in an empty eggshell, another combo that worked.
House-Cured Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Toasted Rye - While the salmon itself was alright, the accompanying veggies were too raw for our likings.
Smoked Trout Parfait, Cucumber, Apple and Lime - Yet another creamy finger snack that deserved thumbs-up.
Gorgonzola and Caramelised Onion Quiche - Again, one that didn't make an impression.
Poached Chicken and Smoked Paprika Finger Sandwich - No surprises here, and better to tackle this one first before the bread dries up.
While the tea items were not particularly mind-blowing, the pricetag is a pretty big pull factor as compared to afternoon tea sets elsewhere. Fancy spending a slow afternoon in much greenery while nibbling on decent bites? You got it right here.
Special thanks to Ivy of FoodNews for the invite!
Ginger Garden @ Singapore Botanic Garden
1 Cluny Rd, 259569
Tel: 8444 1148 (Reservations are not accepted for brunch and tea)
Taken with Nikon D70