Restaurant Review: Halcyon & Crane Is A Spicy Blend of Sichuan and Modern European Cuisine at The Paragon, Singapore

Almost two years ago, we gave a positive review to a restaurant serving a unique blend of Sichuan and contemporary Western cuisine. Called Birds of A Feather, it was the kind of place where you’d find a grilled cheese panini stuffed with spicy mala pork belly, and it was great. Now, its owners have come up with a similar concept — this time more ambitiously in an Orchard Road mall.

Sitting on the third floor of Paragon, Halcyon & Crane draws on an open-plan concept. There are umbrella-like motifs near the ceiling, matte linen diffusing the stark mall lights into something warm and welcoming. The clean geometrical lines and a soft palette of brass, marble, and woven chairs are reminiscent of a trendy cafe, and in a sense, it is. Starting from 9am every morning, Halcyon & Crane dishes out all-day breakfast menu centred around Sichuan and modern European tastes. But that concept of ‘brunch’? It’s pretty much where the similarities stop.

The odd King’s Chicken Hash Benedict ($21) sees gong bao chicken (a stir-fry dish of chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chilli pepper) and crispy leek on top of English muffins, while a Ham & Cheesy Egg Crepe ($19) comes as a shout-out to Shanghainese pancake wraps with Sichuan-style sausage, Black Forest ham, and smoked cheddar. A mix of Kewpie mayo and Lao Gan Ma chilli forms a sauce for the latter. In both instances, there’s a ton of flavours and textures to mull over — smoky, spicy, crispy, savoury, numbing. Take your time to appreciate them.

Ham & Cheesy Egg Crepe

After 11.30am, the all-day dining menu take centrestage. We start with the Smoked Tuna Tataki Salad ($21), which is tossed in a tantalising chilli oil vinaigrette with quinoa, lotus root, and melba toast for some crunch. The hickory-smoked tuna has a gorgeous aroma that’s further accentuated by the oil, and the taste, as you can imagine, is delicious. The Baby Chicken Roulade ($32), a meticulous dish of spring chicken marinated with honey fish sauce, five-spice powder and Sichuan pepper. What’s more, it’s served with a braised daikon sauce that uses over 20 ingredients. So yes, meticulous.

Another to try is the Chicken & Mushroom Capellini ($23), a nourishing soup of chicken and bamboo mushrooms with springy vermicelli noodles imported from Sichuan.

If there’s a dish that you want to close the meal with, it’s the Speciality Beef & Tomato Braised Rice ($28), doused in a rich broth of Angus brisket, spices and herbs simmered over 16 hours, and a mix of kamut, buckwheat, and barley grains. It is so very wholesome. At this point, you might as well stick around for dessert: a Molten Matcha Lava ($16) cake with white chocolate, pistachio paste, and Japanese green tea powder — the good kind.

Being a cafe, the drinks at Halcyon & Crane are quite outstanding. The artisanal coffee programme made popular at Birds of A Feather continues to delight here, along with teas and herbal tisanes. Smoothies and shakes, like the Cereal Killer ($13, barley, oats, corn, and pumpkin) or Purple Power ($13, sweet purple tapioca and grains) will whip your body into shape.

Or, go for a light refreshing cocktail such as the Crazy Rich Asian ($26) with kaya (which means “rich” in Malay) or pineapple rum and fruit-driven To, Cc, Bcc ($20) — shaken up with gin, yuzu, passionfruit and honey.

And just like that, Halcyon & Crane tries to replicate the kind of idyll found in Sichuan’s parks and teahouses — albeit much more glamorously.

Halcyon & Crane is located at 290 Orchard Rd, #03-09 The Paragon, Singapore 238859, p. +65 9721 5121. Open daily 9am – 10pm.

Gary Lim

Deputy Editor

Gary is one of those proverbial jack of all trades… you know the rest. When not writing about lifestyle and culture, he dabbles in photography, graphic design, plays four instruments and is a professional wearer of bowties. His greatest weakness: spending more money on clothes than he probably should. Find him across the social world as @grimlay