Friday, June 27, 2014

Halia at Raffles III: Communal Feasting

This is an invited session

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.

Cream of Mushroom Soup, Bread Selection

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.

Goats' Cheese Mousse, Oriental Pulled Duck

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.

House Smoked Salmon Pate, Chilli Crab Dip

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.

Baked Kingfish Collar, Wagyu Beef "Zhajiangmian"

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.

Coconut Parfait, Sticky Toffee Pudding

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
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just a Short Hiatus

Toby's Estate, my Cappuccino, E's Skinny Latte

Hola! I know I have disappeared since I promised an update two weeks ago, but I will continue the writing break till next week cos
1. Work overwhelms at times
2. My cough is acting up at night these days
and most importantly 3. The girlfriend is leaving for France next week for a 4 month job attachment and am trying to spend as much time as I can with her.

Much more active on Instagram so do add me @memoirsoffood if you wanna see what I'm sinking my teeth into.

Next week, Halia at Raffles!

Taken with HTC One
Thursday, June 05, 2014


That's my medicine for you. Down with a slight flu + wheezing cough, so gonna be lazy and skip writing this week. Next up, Communal dining at Halia at Raffles!