Posts Tagged ‘strawberry cake’

The Halia Restaurant at the Botanic Gardens

*Media Invite*

I was seriously elated when I received an invitation to try out The Halia Restaurant, a beautiful restaurant nestled in the heart of the Botanic Gardens. There is something magical and mystical about dining amidst lush greenery.

Up until then, I’d never dined at Halia before, but for those of you who have, The Halia Restaurant has rejuvenated itself with a new look, menu and culinary team since October 2011. Chef Reynaldo Arriola helms the kitchen now. “Halia” is a Malay word for ginger and the restaurant is aptly named so because it is smack in the middle of the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The restaurant now boasts a new show kitchen with counter seats, which I think is pretty rare for a Western restaurant.

It can be a tad inconvenient to get to The Halia Restaurant as it’s almost in the middle of the Botanic Gardens, but it helps that there is now a Botanic Gardens MRT station, which means it is only about a 10 – 15 minute walk after you get out of the station.

Ms Karen Wee of FoodNews hosted the dinner for 5 lucky diners, myself included.  Because there were so many of us, we were able to sample a great number of dishes. It’s almost incredible how we managed to finish all the food (there were hardly any leftovers!) and if you don’t believe me, you can count the number of dishes!! Between the 6 of us, we polished off 5 appetisers, 7 Mains and 3 desserts, with additional servings for some of the dishes too!

Most of the photos used are provided by The Halia Restaurant, as they have a professional photographer lah. My excuse is that it was dark when I took my pictures. 🙂

Halia - Ginger Jive - Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey

Ginger Jive – Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey @ $12++ – We started off the evening with a refreshing Ginger Jive drink. Refreshing it was indeed especially after an arduous day at work. Love it that it’s all healthy ingredients that is used! Preps you for any “unhealthy” things you might eat next… The ginger leaves a nice warm buzz in the chest too.

APPETISERS

Halia - Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters (2)

Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters @ $35++ – Oysters done in 3 different ways. I used to think that I only like my oysters fresh shucked and unadulterated, ie just with some lemon juice, and maybe some tabasco sauce if I’m in the mood. However, the tempura & ponzu oysters on the right were fantastic. The tempura was light and crispy, and the oyster just ever so lightly cooked such that it was still flavourful and succulent. The sauteed baby spinach with Pernod deglaze, nutmeg & parmesan gratin oysters on the left were also very good.

Halia Appetiser - Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked Yuzu walnut & olive oil

Next up Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked yuzu walnut and olive oil @ $30++. When this dish arrived, I tell you, there was an audible collective whoop of joy from all at the table. Just looking at the dish itself was a treat to the eyes. Jamón ibérico is a type of ham from Spain. It is very expensive, very delicious and not widely available outside of Spain. Each slice of this salty and fatty savoury goodness will send your tongue into the high heavens.

Halia Appetizer - Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole & mango salsa

 Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole, mango salsa, shiso and braised courgette @ $28++ – After the saltiness of the Jamón ibérico, it was nice to enjoy this vegetarian appetiser. Love the sweet mango salsa while the pine nuts gave the dish a good crunch.

Halia Appetizer - Foie Gras Salad

Salad leaves, ginger-infused foie gras, balsamic deglaze, green apple, fresh fig and piment flakes @ $29++ – The salad leaves were lost to me as my focus was only on the foie gras. The nicely seared outer skin gave way to a melt in the mouth fatty richness of foie. I don’t think I need to say much about foie gras, except to say that it was simply fantastic.

Halia - Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction

Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction @ $28++ – The 5th appetiser of the night, tempura of white prawn. The prawn was succulent and juicy under the tempura batter. Not that this wasn’t nice, but for just $2 extra, I’d highly recommend that you go for the Jamón ibérico.

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Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore Afternoon Tea

*Media Invite*

I haven’t had English Afternoon Tea for the longest time. It was a pleasant surprise when Ms Christina Tan, Marketing Manager of Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore after reading about my Afternoon Tea exploits, kindly kindly extended an invitation to me and to fellow blogger PXDKITTY.

Having afternoon tea always puts me in a good mood. One gets to delight in the beautiful chinaware used, the exquisite little morsels of cakes and finger sandwiches, and the girly company. For some reason, I cannot imagine 2 men having afternoon tea together.

It was particularly delightful to learn that the English Afternoon Tea at Rendezvous Grand Hotel costs only $18.90. Compared to the approx $32 Afternoon Tea at Regent Hotel or $38 at The Knolls Sentosa, the one at Hotel Rendezvous is a steal! Rendezvous Grand Hotel does not provide free flow of coffee or tea (just the 1 cup), but it’s still good value!

You may not know this but Rendezvous Grand Hotel has recently undergone a major Renovation, including a name change from the previous Hotel Rendezvous. The Palong Bar, located on the 1st floor of the hotel and where we had our Afternoon tea, looks sleek yet comfortable.

Rendezvous Hotel Palong Bar - Afternoon Tea 3-tier service (2)

Three tiers of finger sandwiches, savoury pastries and desserts!

Rendezvous Hotel Palong Bar - Various Desserts

Dessert was my favourite tier so I shall start talking about the dessert items first!

  • Paris Brest (hazelnut cream)
  • Macaroon (chocolate, orange or lemon)
  • Cheese cake
  • Tiramisu
  • Raspberry mousse

Those chocolate and lemon macaroons were fantastic. I wish there were more of them. The sweet filling sandwiched by 2 crisp layers of wafers, they were almost melt in the mouth. They are smaller than usual so I crunched them up whole. Delicious!

Rendezvous Hotel Palong Bar - Tiramisu

The other notable items were the raspberry mousse cake, the chocolate cake and the tiramisu. I like my tiramisus to be as moist as possible with more cake rather than mousse. I don’t mind if it’s swimming in the liquor actually! The tiramisu at Hotel Rendezvous had just the right ratio of liquor, cake and mousse.

Rendezvous Hotel Palong Bar - Raspberry mousse

The raspberry mousse cake was light and sweet without being cloying. Once again, there was more cake than mousse, which is really how I prefer it.

Rendezvous Hotel Palong Bar - Durian Pengat

Christina is a huge fan of durian. After she got us on that topic, and we realised that Hotel Rendezvous makes its own Durian Pengat, we just had to try it even if it wasn’t included in the Afternoon Tea Set! It was smooth and tasty with just the right amount of sweetness. I wouldn’t mind a more intense durian flavour if that could be possible.

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