Halcyon & Crane is a new all-day dining cafe-bar and evening roost on the third level of The Paragon. With a name inspired by two legendary birds of Greek mythology and Chinese culture tradition, this shining new establishment takes flight in the heart of Orchard Road with an East-meets-West concept akin to its sister — Birds Of A Feather at Amoy Street.
The design and interior aesthetics are spot on with the use of tonal colours and calm, soft lighting that are tastefully synced with the elegant ambience of the premier shopping mall. The full-fledged bar serves a discriminating selection of beverages, range from conventional brew and fancy coffee to innovative takes on cocktails, making it a perfect stop for relaxing and recharging.
On the menu, Halcyon & Crane‘s eccentricity comes through in the delectable palate of distinguished flavours from its modern European cuisine with a decidedly Sichuanese flair. The menu is created with a focus on wellness and it features a good mix of cafe-style food from wholesome breakfast, small and big, to casual comfort dining available throughout the day.
The inspired dishes on Halcyon & Crane‘s menu is well-curated, conjured up by expert chefs from Chengdu together with the local team to ensure that the culinary flavours are as authentic as those of their home province, and as richly realised which creates a win to every tastebuds.
King’s Chicken Hash Benedict ($21) — a popular item on the breakfast and all-day dining menu features the classic Eggs Benny with a twist. Comprises of two halves of an English muffin, the dish is substituted with Gongbao chicken that is stir-fried with chilli peppers, peppercorns and cashew nuts, then topped with cheddar cheese, crispy leek, Sichuan bbq-spices sautéed fried potatoes and Arugula salad on the side. The King’s Chicken Hash Benedict makes a nice choice for leisure brunch, not awfully spicy that even children can enjoy.
Another savoury egg sensation and well-liked breakfast option — Cured Sausage Shakshuka ($21), this representation of the Mediterranean dish is made with tomato sauce, corn, mushroom, white beans and cheese on the top. Sausage in the shakshuka is a Sichuan specialty, which has a spicy, mala pork stuffing and then air-dried. It is accompanied with house-made beetroot toast and a salad mix of Australian and local tomatoes dressed with aged Baoling vinegar for a sweet intro and tart finish.
For a well-balanced bite, the Smoked Tuna Tataki Salad ($21) is served with a mix salad of quinoa, lotus root and melba toast dressed in red oil vinaigrette dressing. Sliced maguro tuna is smoked with hickory wood chips, then dressed with a mouthwatering sauce made of red oil vinaigrette which is the essential part of this dish that makes the spicy flavours stand out. Adopted from one of the signature Sichuan dishes — Saliva Chicken (口水鸡) may not be the most appetising of names, but this inspired representation of the cold dish is undoubtedly drool-worthy.
Don’t be fooled by its unassuming appearance. This Australian Black Angus Beef Carpaccio ($23) may appear harmless, but this is one dish that can add sparks to your taste buds. Australian Black Angus striploin is lightly seared to give texture, while the salad is tossed with wild chilli vinagrette made with pickled chilli padi and ginger as well as scallion and Sichuan pepper dressing. Pickled daikon and pomegranate seeds are added to help tone down the spiciness.
Chicken and Mushroom Capellini ($23) — Comfort food at its best!
The Chengdu-imported vermicelli gives a deliciously unique twist to an otherwise ordinary soup and there is absolute comfort to this dish. The humble-looking vermicelli boasts a wildly chewy texture, a kind of mega fresh al dente that sops up the flavourful soup. Chicken bone is the main ingredient in the broth together with a variation of mushrooms such as shiitake, shimeiji and bamboo pith mushrooms, as well as celtuce and beetroot- dyed quail eggs. The soup is served on the side and then poured into the bowl well mixed with fresh coriander and chopped spring onions.
The Speciality Beef and Tomato Braised Rice ($28) offers an uplifting and homey experience that really satisfy without being too heavy. The rich and flavourful beef broth is made from Angus beef bone, skirt and brisket that has been slow boiled for over 16 hours. The tomato stew of beef brisket and beetroot is combined with a series of grains such as brown rice, pearl rice, kamut, pearl barley, quinoa and buckwheat, then topped off with parmesan cheese and 64-degree sous-vide egg for the extra nom.
For the more carnivorous diner, the Australian Angus Short Ribs ($42) delivers a hearty meal with a soul-satisfying umami from the house-made Hongshao (红烧酱) sauce prepared with ingredients like fenugreek, cinnamon, star anise, Sichuan pepper, chilli, soy sauce, carrots, onions, tomatoes and red oil. The beef is pan-seared then sous-vided with the special sauce in 82 degrees for 16 hours. The short rib is glazed with smoked Indonesian-style chilli glaze and then finished in the oven — the taste result is fall-apart tender and delicious.
You can’t go wrong with desserts — typically Molten Matcha Lava ($16) that never goes out of style. Matcha has many incredibly devoted fans, including myself. The lava cake is made with melted butter and white chocolate over gentle heat, followed by dry yeast, whole egg, flour, pistachio paste and imported Japanese green tea powder whipped together. The mixture is poured into a buttered mould with icing sugar then baked at 190 degrees for 120 minutes. The matcha fondant reveals a glorious molten centre and is served with a dollop of house-made cheese ice cream, strawberries, blueberries, cookie crumbles and fresh mint leaves.
Halcyon & Crane offers a delicious variety of dishes that has been given an unmistaken touch of Sichuan spices for every one to enjoy. Of course, there are non-spicy dishes too.
Do give the Orange Yuzu Passionfruit Coffee Cubes Latte ($14) a try — the unexpected pairing of coffee and orange juice was a perfect symphony and surprise! For those wanting to get a taste of fusion done differently, there couldn’t have been an apt location. Wing your way down to Halcyon & Crane soon for a wonderful respite in Orchard Road.