Raffles Hotel is a one of the Grande Dame hotels, probably in the world. And within the beautiful fascade, are some very good eateries. Amongst them the Long Bar Steakhouse and Halia.
Originally located within the Botanic Gardens, the restaurant has made its name in interesting, and often fusion styled cuisine. Afterall, its name means ginger in Malay. So I had expected a mix of cuisine. I was not disappointed in some, but felt some dishes could be a bit more innovative.
The ambience is excellent, service very good, as is befitting a 5 star hotel.
I had lunch recently at the restaurant, and was well pleased. For starters we had the deep fried calamari, which I found to be nice, but not unusual. But the braised lamb was rather spectacular
The 12 hour braised leg of lamb, beautifully done so that the aroma and fragrance is very well done. Eaten with the very crisp toasted sliced baguettes. Very good.
Their speciality is a spaghettini with a chilli crab sauce
Spaghettini is a thinner version of spaghetti...similar in texture and taste to spaghetti. The sauce is quite interesting. A mildly tangy and spicy with a light flavour of crabs. Some strands of crab were detected. The serving is rather large. Interesting, and lives up the fusion namesake.
But yet, one of the speciality recommended by the chef is the utterly standard steak.
I ordered it medium/medium rare inside, and charred outside. But delivered as above. Not quite what I ordered. But the steak turned out rather nice. The meat, an Irish angus rib eye, was tender, though I had a tendon running through the side, and a sliver of fat which was too rich to be eaten. But the lean meat was nicely flavourful, good beef taste, and very tender. The fries were standard offering, nothing special.
For dessert, we shared a sticky toffee pudding
This was heavenly, as desserts often are. The blend of sweet, salty and the hot and cold was masterfully done, and it was rather nice. In case some of you are wondering, the watch was the business at hand, as this was a business lunch for Vulcain to re-introduce the alarm mechanical watch to the market with their new distributors: Melchers.
Overall, Halia kind of lives to its expectation being in a 5 star hotel, and a name which suggests fusion cusine. I recommend this restaurant.