If you’re not one of those people who are taking advantage of the upcoming super long weekend to jet off somewhere, let me assure you that it’s really not such a big deal. There are plenty of fantastic spots right here you can go to get away from the maddening crowd and just chill out, unwind, and catch up with an old friend. Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering one such place and I have to say, I’m almost reluctant to write about it as I love the fact that it’s not currently buzzing with massive hordes of people but … yeah, sharing is caring, right?
The place I’m talking about is Halia at Raffles Hotel. More specifically, high tea at Halia. It’s done the really old-school way – bite-sized nibbles served on a two-tier tea set. The Afternoon Tea Service (as it’s called), also comes with your choice of premium Gryphon teas, freshly-brewed coffee or their signature Halia Infusion (ginger drink).
There is a good mix of sweet and savoury treats here, all with Halia’s signature decadent touch, such as an Irish smoked salmon blini with caviar, and a foie gras mousse served within a flaky puff pastry. What stood out from the savoury selection was the blue cheese, which came with apricot chutney, pickled celery and honey walnut. It was an amazing explosion of flavours and textures. Others, like the aforementioned foie gras mousse didn’t really hit the mark – you couldn’t barely taste the fois gras.
For me, the standout item in this entire set was the scone. It was buttery and not at all dry, and had just the right amount of saltiness. It comes served with a lovely homemade jam and clotted cream, and it’s proof that simplest things in life offer give the greatest pleasure.
Food-wise, the Afternoon Tea Service has a good and varied selection of items. You’ll inevitably end up liking some items over others, but you’ll be willing to overlook this tiny detail for everything else this restaurant has to offer. Instead of opting to sit in the restaurant itself, snag a table in the courtyard behind the restaurant to soak in the lovely ambience of Singapore’s most iconic hotel. Seriously, I can never get bored of wandering around Raffles Hotel just admiring its colonial architecture.
Afternoon Tea Service is available daily from 3pm to 5pm for just $35, so why not take advantage of this holiday to pay Halia a visit? But hey, just because the tea service ends at 5pm doesn’t mean you have to leave just then. While we’re on the subject of life’s greatest pleasures, I’m fond of saying that the ultimate decadence is having a drink while the sun is still up. And Halia has just become my number one go-to spot for happy hour. Surprising it may be, but Halia actually has some great drink deals going on. Pints of Archipelago’s brews, for example, go for just $10 a pint!
Fascinated with Halia’s offerings? There’s more. If you’re in a particularly patriotic mood (and if you’re not going to be patriotic in the month of August, when will you be?), celebrate our nation’s independence by grabbing a couple of your buds to check out Halia’s Uniquely Singapore Set, $48. This set includes their signature dish, the Chilli Crab Spaghettini, as well as a Singapore Sling by Hendrick’s cocktail. I’ve had the Chilli Crab Spaghettini on a couple of occasions and I love it for its delectably light flavours. Plus it’s great for those who enjoy crab but don’t fancy the mess of peeling it yourself.
The Afternoon Tea Set is only available at Halia at Raffles Hotel, while the Uniquely Singapore Set is available at both Raffles Hotel and the Botanic Gardens.
Material World was invited to a tasting of Halia’s Afternoon Tea Set and was not paid for this review. All opinions are the author’s own.
About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Hit her up for the best happy hour deals in town. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.
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