I suppose that communal dining is a pretty Asian thing. Think casual zi char to chinese banquet dinners, dishes are placed in the middle and shared, fostering that unique type of bond by people at the table. On the other hand, western dining is pretty individualistic with its own pros and cons, though you can now enjoy the fun of western communal dining at Halia at Raffles.
The casual eatery at Raffles Hotel shouldn't need too much introduction by now with two previous write-ups, but it is constantly refreshing its menu to keep diners coming back for more. With a brand new 12-course communal dining menu at $260++ (good for 4 pax) and matching communal table mats, Chef Ciaran Armstrong is instilling elements of "sharing fun" into Asian-inspired dishes.
While the communal set includes a jug of barley, it never hurts to have their signature Chilled Halia Tea on a warm, humid day.
Thick and creamy with distinct minute pieces of mushroom, this is definitely a hearty bowl to start the meal. The accompanying assorted bread are great for soup-dipping, as well as being paired with olive oil and balsamic, and a certain curry-flavoured oil.
Pretty garden to look at and equally tasty with dried brioche serving as base for the mix of cheese, tomatoes and honey drizzles. The duck soba was consistently good, being already introduced several times on previous visits.
Trapped in a bottle of smoke, the salmon pate was light and creamy to my liking. Nothing to complain about the other one which is an adaption of their signature Chilli Crab Pasta, perfect for lazy poeple like me who wants their crab meat without the de-shelling hassles.
With Grilled Hamachi (yellowtail) Collars being pretty common in Japanese restaurants, it was the first time that I had a Kingfish version with plenty of fine meat and refreshing with orange glaze and pickled vegetables. On the other hand, while I usually like all things Wagyu, the "zhajiangmian" (which is really just plenty of vegetable peels with minced beef) wasn't that impressive on texture, but had a nice blend of sweet, savoury meat sauce with greens.
Twice-Cooked Spatchcock of Spring Chicken, 'Gunpowder' Wagyu Topside Mayura Station
Time and again I have little praises for chicken dishes, but this was different as the sous-vide effect produced juice-retaining, tender meat. The last savoury mains was an interesting creation, as the Wagyu topside is marinated to a smokey "gunpowder-like" flavour, then sous vide to break down the tough cut into something more tender. Not your usual steak definitely.
Moving on to the sweets, the parfait were playfully presented as ice cream popsicles, sprinkled with chocolate balls and popping candy, while the other was yet another Halia classic that could hardly go wrong with.
At about $65++ per pax, the communal dining set is actually pretty good value given the number of courses and portions of food, showcasing several Halia signatures and new creations that are potential crowd pleasers. Tired of sharing chinese stir frys? Give this a go then!
Halia at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road
#01-22/23 Raffles Hotel
Tel: 9639 1148
Special thanks to Ivy & Cyndiana of FoodNews for the invite!
Taken with Nikon D7100