Wednesday, August 13, 2014

(CLOSED) The Halia @ Raffles Hotel

Media Invite

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The food scene in Singapore is growing so quickly that we are often at a loss when it comes to picking a venue for dinner. We have to look through reviews, look up locations and decide what to have when we get there. How does a fuss-free and sumptuous dinner for a party of four sound to you?

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Embracing the longstanding traditional Asian concept of communal dining, the Communal Feast at The Halia boasts a carefully curated line-up of well-executed European dishes that are infused with Asian touches.

When diners choose to have the Communal Feast at The Halia, a pretty table mat designed by one of their very own staff will be placed over the table.

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Bread selection with balsamic vinegar & olive oil and curry dip & sweet sauce
The tasty curry dip took me by surprise! The mild curry flavour melded seamlessly with the sweet sauce and together with freshly baked bread, this was a perfect item to kickstart the meal with!

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Chef's soup : Cream of Potato & Leek
Intimidated by the colour of this concoction, I was initially hesitant to try the soup but was impressed by its creamy texture and rich flavour!

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Communal Drink : Lemongrass
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Iced Cardamon Milk Tea - $10
I've never been a fan of ginger or any sort of spices but I decided to give this a shot. Cardamon belongs to the same family as ginger but is supposed to be milder in taste. On the first sip, the spice present in the drink came across as being too strong, but I grew to appreciate it after a few more sips!

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Goats' Cheese Mousse
This colourful platter of heirloom tomatoes, olives, dried brioche and goats' cheese mousse drizzled with wild honey not only brightened up my day, but also wowed me. I've never liked goats' cheese or most cheese, in fact, and I wasn't too keen to try it. However, a small piece of the crunchy and fragrant brioche with goats' cheese mousse slapped on was all that it took to convince me otherwise!

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Oriental Pulled Duck
Although an interesting fusion of different flavours and cultures, the soba noodles tossed in sesame oil with pulled duck didn't leave as deep an impression as the other dishes.

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House Smoked Salmon Pate
The jar arrived with smoke encapsulated in it. We were all, okay maybe I was the only one haha, excited about the opening of the jar!

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While everyone else applauded the texture of the pate, I felt that it was a tad too creamy. But it was still a joy cracking into the crusty crostini smothered with savory paste

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Chilli Crab Dip
Undoubtedly my favourite dish of the night, the chilli crab dip was so palatable! It was rich but not heavy, strong but not too intense. It carried a sweetness that pleased my palate and most importantly(for me), it wasn't too spicy! This was an awfully fine and beautifully crafted dip that will leave you craving for more!

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Wagyu Beef "Zhajiangmian" 
A unique interpretation of zhajiangmian, there isn't actually any noodles in this dish. The noodles have been replaced with a mix of vegetables, and covered with a blend of Iberico chorizo from Spain and Wagyu beef from Australia. Definitely an interesting take, but I wasn't huge on this as I don't eat vegetables and I could hardly taste the meat

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Baked Kingfish Collar
As I bit into the thin crisp layer, my teeth sunk into the soft meat of the kingfish collar. I could taste the distinctly salty miso before the taste of orange struck. I really adored the creative pairing of the flavours, especially the lingering aftertaste of orange

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Twice-cooked Spatchcock of Spring Chicken
One of the highlights of the Communal Feast for me has to be the spring chicken. Crazy tender and insanely juicy, the spring chicken was encased in a perfectly crisp skin. As I was relishing it, I was thinking to myself "how can chicken taste this good?" Cooked sous vide, before being flame-torched, huge efforts were placed into the preparation of this dish to ensure its great taste and fantastic texture!

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Mayura Station 'Gunpowder' Wagyu Rump (Signature Series 9+)
Wait, what? A jaw dropping marbling score of 9+?
I had to calm myself down and listen to how rigorously the Wagyu rump cap is prepared(while salivating at the sight of it). First, the Wagyu rump cap is marinated for four to six hours with charcoal and nitrate salt which are elements similar to gunpower (thus, the name). This prevents oxidation and adds smokiness to the meat. Next, the meat is cooked sous-vide at 59 degrees celcius for 30 to 45 minutes before it is grilled and served.
The end result? An amazingly tender and gorgeous Wagyu rump that melts oh-so-slowly in your mouth.
It's impossible not to love the texture of the beef but I thought the "beefy" taste was a little too strong. But the delightful and light spring onion mash balances that out!

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Coconut Parfait
Sprinkled with popping candy coated in chocolate, this new addition at The Halia was a refreshing finish to the meal. And we had fun waiting for the popping candy to pop! Do be patient as the candy only starts popping when the chocolate has melted away! I was slightly too fascinated and asked for extra popping candy HAHA.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding
The pudding was a little dry on its own but lovely when paired with the rich salty butterscotch sauce. Love how everything came together almost flawlessly. Would have loved the pudding more if it was moister! 

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Serving up only dishes created from ingredients of excellent quality and stringent preparation methods, I have to say that the Communal Feast is really value-for-money. Priced at $270, the Communal Feast is said to be good for a group of 3 or 4 but I think it will feed a table of five fairly well too! I left The Halia with a terribly happy and bursting tummy. If you haven't tried it, I strongly suggest that you do!

The Communal Feast is available daily from 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-1030pm. And if you're a light eater, you'll be pleased to know that the Communal Feast now comes in a Light version ($160++) too!

Thank you FoodNews for having me!

1 Beach Road, #01-22/23
Raffles Hotel

Monday-Friday : 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Saturday :11am – 11pm
Sunday & PHs: 10am – 11pm


Love, K

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