NATIONAL KITCHEN by VIOLET OON SINGAPORE: a “NYONYA” touch to high-tea

In Asian Kitchens, Business Sense, Vol 21


If scones are automatically equated to being the essence of an English High-Tea, why can’t an ‘otak crostini’ be the Singaporean equivalent? Desiring to bring the country’s culinary tradition to the forefront, Violet Oon Singapore serves up a range of Nyonya dishes high-tea style as part of the National Kitchen experience. The concept perfectly suits smaller dining parties or visitors interested to explore local cuisine as Nyonya meals usually involves big groups and served on a long table. Recognised as the Grand Dame of Singapore cuisine, Violet Oon tells us that translating the cuisine into a visual feast for the high-tea setting was really fun to do. “The important part is perfectly adjusting the recipe to suit bite-size portions so that flavours are retained instead of being overpowering or lacking”, said Violet.

An invite to tea at home is a highest show of hospitality. And that is exactly how the National Kitchen team wants you to feel. Complimenting the homely ambiance are restored Corinthian pillars, colourful tile flooring and marble tables reminiscing a Nyonya family home. Dining here is like enjoying a meal in Violet’s own home where you can taste care, love and freshness of ingredients in every bite.


The menu follows the English High Tea’s flavour profile which includes savoury and sweet. For example, the ‘otak crostini’ is a spiced coconut cream fish dish served on a slice of toasted bread and is a more elegant plating from the usual way of consuming ‘otak’ from the banana leaf parcel with bread. The must-have finger sandwich is filled with a spicy, savoury and sweet spread of dried prawn floss. For a reference to scones, the menu offers ‘Kesturi Pie’ – a citrus curd on a buttery shortcrust base, boosted with a papaya and lime compote with a clotted cream on the side. The set is accompanied by house blend VO coffee that combines Arabica and Robusta beans, roasted with traditional, local methods or a specially blended tea of the season for Violet Oon by The Singapore Tea Company.


Although National Kitchen is not the only outlet under Violet Oon’s belt, she insists that food is prepared the way Grandma taught her – fresh herbs and spices pounded, fried, grated, stewed and mulled together. Yiming Tay, co-founder and Managing Director says it is crucial for the service team to be immersed and invested in the history of the cuisine and philosophy of the restaurant in order to create something fresh. To maintain the consistency, including The Violet Oon Singapore at Bukit Timah and Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill at Clarke Quay, the team understood the need of research and development to translate processes like making stocks, ‘rempahs’ (spice mixes), cakes and ‘kuehs’ from scratch into SOPs so that every outlet delivers the same experience and guests will want to return.


A few hours of High Tea here briefly transport diners to the history of Singapore. An amalgamation of Peranakan, Malay, Chinese, Indian, colonial and diverse cultures, these are the shared memories that inspires Violet Oon and team to continue exploring and share Singapore food stories in its menus and future concepts.

Aside the Singapore High Tea, Violet Oon National Kitchen offers Lunch & Dinner menus. Catering for weddings, corporate events, home parties and party trays are available as well

www.violetoon.com

Eileen ChanNATIONAL KITCHEN by VIOLET OON SINGAPORE: a “NYONYA” touch to high-tea