Regarded as an ambassador for Singaporean cuisine, renowned chef Violet Oon, who specialises in Nyonya (Peranakan) food, recently opened her second restaurant in Singapore, this time at the nation’s newest treasure, the National Gallery Singapore. As fans of Violet’s Bukit Timah outlet, we couldn’t wait to experience the much-anticipated National Kitchen by Violet Oon for ourselves. It sure didn’t disappoint. It’s worth going for the décor alone; gorgeously designed by Violet’s daughter, Su-Lyn, the chic space features dark wood with Art Deco-like gold trimmings, rattan ceiling fans, old-fashioned chandeliers, Peranakan tiled floors, black-and-white photo-adorned walls and a beautiful bar that boasts a strong cocktail list; our favourite was the Collier ($16), made with Bombay Sapphire, spiced pear puree, cloves and rosemary – absolutely divine.
Violet’s food is the perfect sampling of Singaporean-Peranakan fare, with Indian, Malay and Hainanese influences throughout – cod in creamy laksa sauce ($34), fish head curry ($35) and chicken rice ($17), for instance. If you like spice, go for the ikan goreng chilli ($19) – fried red snapper topped with a heaping dollop of spicy chilli padi garlic rempah (ground spice paste) – and the deliciously piquant sambal eggplant ($12) wedges. Finish with the super-sweet pineapple upside down cake ($12) – light butter sponge topped with pineapple and butterscotch sauce. Portions are generous, so we’d suggest going with a group to sample all sorts of different dishes from the extensive menu.
This article first appeared in the February issue.