Halcyon & Crane takes flight with Sichuan spice
Mala-centric restaurant Birds Of A Feather now has a sister.
Halcyon & Crane is a cafe at The Paragon shopping mall serving food focused on wellness with touches of Sichuan.
The menu is filled with spicy dishes that are prettily plated and paired with grains, light salads and soups.
At a glance, the menu does not inspire.
Oh, they have crepes and eggs benedict - rather yawn-inducing because these dishes are everywhere.
But what sets Halcyon & Crane apart is not only that tinge of heat burning your tongue, but for most cases, the rush of flavours and textures that come with each mouthful.
The Marinated Baby Octopus Salad ($20) is one of my favourites.
The blanched octopus has the right amount of chew and flavour and the bed of egg plant, green chilli and red soya sauce is addictive.
It is not as pretty as many of the other dishes but it is a star in terms of enjoyability.
On the surface, the Australia Black Angus Beef Carpaccio ($23) looks mild but it has a kick.
The salad boasts a wild chilli vinaigrette made with pickled chilli padi, ginger and Sichuan pepper dressing, and that gives the whole thing enough fire for it to be memorable.
The Smoked Tuna Tataki Salad ($21) is another example of a dish having an unexpected kick.
Maguro tuna is smoked with hickory wood chips and dressed with a red oil vinaigrette.
The combination of spice and texture from the fish, quinoa and spicy sauce works.
I really enjoyed the Beetroot & Seafood Risotto ($32).
It is subtly sweet, aromatic and umami enough, thanks to the seafood.
It is a sight to behold, which adds to the pleasure.
You can have a vegetarian version, but I don't know if it will work without the savoury proteins.
My dining companions responded positively to the Cured Sausage Shakshuka ($22) but it is one of the few dishes I thought missed the mark.
The tomato stew is earthy enough to be interesting but that was the extent of it.
There just isn't enough heat or tart or even sweetness for it to be deemed interesting.
I've always been annoyed by the lack of decent breakfast options along Orchard Road, so I'm grateful for Halcyon & Crane.
Isn't choice a wonderful thing?
Halcyon & Crane
#03-09 The Paragon
Opens 9am to 10pm