Tuesday, January 19, 2016

National Kitchen by Violet Oon @ National Gallery, Singapore

Framed photographs that hark back to bygone decades, vintage tiles & furnishing with intricate flourishes, & an aura of old-world charm manifested in a sartorially genteel service team set the tone for National Kitchen, a sumptuous Peranakan dining hall that's a centrepiece of Singapore's new National Gallery, home of the world's largest collection of Southeast Asian art.

This stately venue showcases the recipes of Violet Oon, a Singaporean Nyonya celebrity chef & cookbook writer who's a long-time legend in the city-state's restaurant circles. Her repertoire borrows inspiration from the cross-cultural diversity of Singaporean gastronomy, so you'll find more than Peranakan fare; start with the southern Indian 'idli' steamed fermented rice-&-lentil cakes, hand-made & paired with coconut & tomato chutneys ($7) & the coronation chicken, which takes the colonial-era classic of cold diced chicken with curry sauce & raisin chutney & stuffs it in a crisp wantan cup ($9). There's a sense of painstaking meticulousness to National Kitchen's food - even the sambal belacan isn't an afterthought; it's fiery, fantastically textured & flooded with nuanced flavours, beyond a doubt the most satisfying sambal belacan we've ever had in a restaurant.

Spaghetti coated with an intensely aromatic buah keluak paste infused with cili padi, minced shrimp & coconut milk ($24) & a rice-noodle dry laksa tossed with tau pok, prawns & bean sprouts ($22) illustrate how the kitchen strives to strike a balance between a respect for culinary tradition & a resolution to bring contemporary relevance to heritage cooking. Both are a gut-punch to those of us spending in ringgit, but you won't find them in KL. And through it all, a mastery of the fundamentals shines through - the chicken rice is precisely how we love it, simultaneously firm & moist, with pronounced fragrance & flavours ($3).

The restaurant isn't timid about creating rich, robust dishes - the 'opor nangka udang' ($14), featuring prawns & salted fish stewed with jackfruit in coconut gravy, seems to instantly inflate the waistline, but the guiltiest indulgence of all is the 'daging chabek' ($35), with lusciously slow-braised beef cheek in spicy tamarind Gula Melaka gravy. Wine & cocktails are available - the Singapore Sling ($20), shaken with fresh local fruits, is the natural choice.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon
National Gallery, St Andrews Road, Singapore. Daily for lunch & dinner. Tel: +65-9834-9935

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.20 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for Oct-Dec 2015. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

14 comments:

  1. Oh my!!! I'm speechless. That is so regal, so aristocratic...so high class. Eeee...I wouldn't dare step in there, will stick out like a sore thumb, me NCAA one, no class at all. LOL!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suituapui: ooo, i think you'd be fine ... i'd be happy to slip on a simple t-shirt and jeans to join you here! :)

      Delete
  2. The prices seem fair for a classy joint like this (don't think ringgit conversion!). Your chicken rice (minus the chicken) has the right colour and does look fully flavoured with chicken stock...just how a great chicken rice should be! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, i think considering the venue, the service and the menu, the prices here feel appropriate :) the chicken rice was a pleasant surprise for me ... it was one of the most satisfying chicken rice recipes i've had in recent memory :)

      Delete
  3. Absolutely gorgeous, Sean, very prestigious! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda: it is a very respectable venue indeed :)

      Delete
  4. Oh VO! Heard so much about her cooking! Might try it soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca: this was my first brush with Violet Oon's fare, and it was a positive experience! :)

      Delete
  5. What a great setting. Looks like the food, service and overall experience are equally important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Yum List: yeah, we enjoyed the experience from start to finish - kudos to the front-of-house team as well as the kitchen crew :)

      Delete
  6. Love the setting, very classy and atas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ken: i liked being able to order some wine & cocktails to go with the laksa and chicken rice :D

      Delete
  7. This one looks good, both the place and food. But with our currency...... I think maybe have to wait awhile, :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CK: yeah, it ended up being quite a pricey meal in the end here :)

      Delete