Violet Oon scores again at newest outlet
When I was first introduced to Violet Oon's food 25 years ago, I was working at the basement of Takashimaya Department Store.
To get to my workplace, I had to walk past her stall, where there was a small selection of dishes. One day, I decided to try the shepherd's pie and it became my obsession.
Since then, the local celebrity chef has had ups and downs, but ever since National Kitchen by Violet Oon at National Gallery opened, it has been up all the way.
Her latest venture, Violet Oon Singapore, is at Ion Orchard. It is as if she returned to where we first met.
Back then, I was still young enough to eat anything I wanted without consequences. And I ate as many shepherd's pies as I could afford.
Those days are gone. My metabolic rate has flatlined, the basement of Takashimaya is transformed and that stall has closed.
But when I took a bite of the VO's Shepherd's Pie with House Salad ($24), time stood still.
That braised minced beef with just enough saltiness, under that blanket of mashed potato - it was magical.
Mulligatawny Soup ($16) is an East Indian soup, similar to rasam. It is a curry broth with chicken and rice infused with spices and topped with deep fried shallot, spring onion and coriander leaves.
It is not a common item on local menus but it should be because it is absolutely delicious. I loved how hearty and warming the soup was.
I do not always like Hainanese Pork Chop ($34).
Often, the batter is soggy or dense, or the ketchup is overwhelming.
But this was an elevated version I could get into, featuring deep fried Kurobuta pork loin crusted with a cream cracker batter and a house-made tomato reduction as sauce.
The pork was just fatty enough and the tomato sauce cut the grease, and the peas on the side help you pretend you are eating healthy.
The Beef Hor Fun ($26) may have 150-day grain-fed Black Angus tenderloin slices but it was a rare fail. There was no wok hei and the black bean sauce was uninspired.
The small selection of desserts was good though.
The Coconut Candy ($3 each) was basically coloured coconut shreds compressed together, but it had the right amount of sweet and coconut. Such a treat.
If the Pandan and Gula Melaka Cake ($10 a slice) is available, order it. The sponge cake is layered with a buttercream frosting and the yummiest gula melaka syrup. When they launch high tea service, go there for cakes and coffee, and it'll be the best mid-day treat.