Monday, January 11, 2016

National Kitchen by Violet Oon @ National Gallery


With the much anticipated opening of the National Gallery, we also see a lot of new restaurants opening in the historical building. One of them is the much looking forward National Kitchen by Violet Oon. The restaurant is stunning beautiful with its Peranakan decoration that incorporated a Victoria twist.

Sambal Timun Nanas 3.5/5

The three of us took a while to decide on the menu as there are so many items that we wanted to try. Eventually, we started with the Sambal Timum Nanas ($4) that is made up of pineapple, cucumber, chillies, onions and lightly sweet rice vinegar. The tangy concoction is a refreshing and tangy starter to whet up the appetite.

Pineapple Patchree 4.5/5

The other pickle dish we tried is the Pineapple Patchree ($4) that comes with pineapple, raisins, chillies and yogurt in a sweet sour spiced gravy of turmeric, ginger, garlic and shallots infused with the fragrant curry leaves. I could not help associating the sweet sour turmeric gravy to the familiar taste of the fish head curry which is very addictive.

Chap Chye 4/5

The Chap Chye ($15) is a Peranakan dish that I always order on the menu. The vegetable is cooked to a soft texture but still retaining an enjoyable crunchy bite. Many chap chye comes across on the sweet side but this is well balanced.

Daging Chabek Beef Cheek 4.5/5

There are three beef items on the menu, llwe decided to try the Daging Chabek Beef Cheek ($35) which is only available at National Kitchen. The slow braised beef cheek is cooked in a rich spicy tamarind gula melaka gravy and coconut. The beautiful flavoured beef cheek literally melted in the mouth. The subtle sweetness hits the palate first before the spiciness starts to grow on the taste buds.

Cod in Creamy Laksa Sauce 4.5/5

We initially wanted to try the Curry Fish Head but was advised that it maybe too much for our group, as it is good for 5-6 pax. So we ended up having the Cod in Creamy Laksa Sauce ($34). I was disappointed with the portion, I think it is small to be shared among 3 pax. Putting that aside, the buttery cod fish works beautifully in the creamy laksa sauce. I have no regret in ordering it but maybe next time just for myself.

Hakka Abacus Beads 2.8/5

I was looking forward to try the Hakka Abacus Beads ($16) but turned out disappointed. The abacus beads is on the doughy side in my opinion, and I could not really taste the yam. The minced chicken topping with dried shrimp and dried cuttlefish was also on the salty side.

Opor Udang Nankar 3/5

A rare dish on the menu is the Opor Udang Nankar ($14). It is young jackfruit stewed with salted fish and prawns in a rich fragrant spiced coconut gravy.  I thought the salted fish will throw the dish off but it is not salty at all. If you have not eaten stewed young jackfruit before, the texture is similar to brinjal.

Kueh Beng Kah 3.5/5

Moving on to the dessert, we tried the Kueh Beng Kah ($9) and Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($12). The grated tapioca cake is excellently paired with the gula melaka syrup and coconut milk. I personally prefer the texture to be rougher and coarser. The Pineapple Upsdie Down Cake is nothing special but just a light butter sponge topped with pineapple and a butterscotch sauce. The condense milk sauce may comes across too sweet to many but this is my perfect child memories.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake 3.5/5

After trying the food at National Kitchen, I have to say that there are hits and misses. The price is also on the high side but you definitely can impress your foreign friends or partner for that special occasion. Although the restaurant is beautifully designed, the spacing between diners can be quite uncomfortable. Not to mentioned, when I was there, the full house restaurant can turned into a noisy night market with the noises bouncing off the decorative tiles around the restaurant.

National Kitchen
National Gallery Singapore
1 Saint Andrews Road
(City Hall Wing)
Singapore 178957
Tel: +65 98349935
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit B. Turn left onto North Bridge Road. Walk down North Bridge Road. Turn left onto Coleman Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 10 minutes. [Map]

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