Halcyon & Crane

The hype: Modern-Sichuan institution Birds of A Feather has been delighting palates on Amoy Street for a while now. Entering the market is its baby bird brother Halcyon & Crane—a casual but elegant all-day cafe in Paragon promising the same bold flavours, ambience and refined Sichuan spice.

The vibe: Plus points for its location on the Orchard shopping belt; the clean lines and open-air concept of the cafe is a departure from its sultry, dimly lit sister establishment in Amoy. Here, gilded fixtures and unique touches like painted linen umbrellas create an East-meets-West aesthetic that perfectly matches its menu. If you’ve ever found Birds of A Feather intimidating, this breezy and casual joint will be perfect.

The food: Look forward to an all-day menu focusing largely on breakfast items and comfort food. Keeping in mind wellness in its ingredients and cooking, Halcyon & Crane serves up the same modern European dishes with touches of Sichuan in an ode to its founders’ home in Chengdu.

Ladies who brunch will love the Cured Sausage Shakshuka ($20), a subtly spicy take on the Mediterranean classic, served with house-made beetroot toast; and the King’s Chicken Hash Benedict ($21)—your classic Eggs Benedict with gongbao chicken where the mala kicks in at the end. If you want something heartier, the Australia Angus Short Ribs ($42) with hongshao sauce and Sichuan pepper is tender and flavourful, paired with Chinese vegetables on the side.

There are healthy options too, like a light noodle broth—the Chicken & Mushroom Capellini ($23), also available in a sour and spicy soup—and a strangely addictive Vegetarian Beetroot Risotto ($32) that even comes with dyed purple quail eggs. For something truly indulgent, get the Specialty Beef & Tomato Braised Rice ($28), a rich beef broth made with Black Angus bone, skirt and brisket, then stirred in with mixed grains (barley, quinoa, and Japanese pearl rice to start) and parmesan cheese. Tastes just like a hug from grandma.

Desserts with balanced sweetness round out the menu, like the Molten Matcha Lava cake ($16) and Coffee Cake ($14).

The drinks: Equally extensive is the beverage menu, boasting a selection of teas, house blend coffees, smoothies and shakes. Flat whites aside, Coffee In The Clouds ($8) incorporating smoked coffee with fresh orange slices is a refreshing drink that’s more orange than coffee. The H&C Special Fresh Fruit Tea ($12) is a pricey but (literally) hot favourite for a warm and soothing digestif to your meal, but if you’re in the mood for something stronger, the specially crafted cocktails are a fun must-try—especially the Crazy Rich Asian ($26), a decadent mix of kaya and pineapple rum that’s crazy good.

Why you’ll be back: It’s an adventurous, tasty alternative to your usual brunch date, in a stunning setting in the heart of town. Why wouldn’t you?