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So you think you know Peranakan cooking and Violet Oon? How about Buah Keluak Pasta? Try that and more at Violet’s Kitchen
By Cheryl Chia
You may know ex-journalist Violet Oon, renowned for her Peranakan cooking in her Western-looking bistro.
The industrial and airy space at Bukit Timah Road has gotten a menu facelift, infusing Peranakan ingredients with Western-style serving.
Revamp from Tradition
“Technically, I work for my children. My name is just on the sign,” she says with a laugh, as she credits her two children for helping with the revamp.
She recalls fondly of how she thought her daughter’s suggestion of serving food on wooden chopping boards was un-classy and had her reply, “Mom, this is the trend now.” Atypical from Peranakan cuisine that’s served in floral china and porcelain bowls, the clearly Western minimalist take on the serving style helps give the cuisine a fresh update.
The Buah Keluak Pasta ($23) infuses the earthy decadence of the buah keluak with mouth-searing slices of chilli padi that cut through the richness of the buah keluak. The Chilli Crab Pizza ($27) marries meaty shreds of crab with mozzarella cheese, with a hint of heady chilli crab paste on a thin crust. It has already been voted the most popular dish on the revamped menu since its launch.
We had two slices of it just to put out the fire in our mouths from the pasta! Only because we bit into a chilli seed.
If you like spice, the chilli-coated Sambal Eggplant ($9) features soft and chewy eggplants sitting in a sambal stir-fry which is great with a bowl of steamed white rice. The Spicy Winged Bean Salad ($11) also known as kacang botol, comprises raw slices of winged bean tossed in sambal belacan sauce – lime juice, dried prawns and sugar.
Julienned raw shallots and dry fried grated coconut called kerisik complete this old time dish, if you’re craving for traditional fare.
Contemporary to Classic
Inspired by her trip to the United States of America, the Chicken Tenders with two dips ($15) are golden fried chicken tenders with truffle mayonnaise and a spicy in-house BBQ sauce with limau kesturi and chilli padi. This is a great savoury delight to share. She also serves Hamburger and Fries ($25) with juicy Angus beef patties, her own homemade onion relish, Gruyere cheese, arugula and mushrooms, which will leave you hankering for more.
The Chicken Lemak ($21) would hit the spot if you love your rendangs and your curries. Classic Peranakan treats of Kuay Pie Tee ($18) and Tauhu Goreng ($13) are also available on the menu.
If you like your desserts rich, try the Kuay Bengkah ($9), a dense tapioca cake with coconut milk drizzled with gula melaka, and more coconut milk. It reminded us of a thicker version of the Filipino bibingka, a rice cake with grated coconut. We’d suggest sharing this one. It’s a bit jelat.
The Leche Flan ($9) – Violet affectionately calls this the “leceh” flan, a play on the pronunciation of leche (lay-chay), a Singlish word for troublesome – a Mexican custard dessert topped with red fruit, is also a must-try. Thick slices of firm custard when paired with the tart red fruit made for a sweet ending. Beware, both desserts are quite filling.
Violet Oon’s Kitchen, 881 Bukit Timah Road. Tel: 6468 5430