National Kitchen by Violet Oon, Singapore | Capturing Heritage And The City’s Finest Flavors

National Kitchen by Violet Oon is the perfect embodiment of a quintessential restaurant, with carefully-curated dishes that reflect the history, life, and culture of the ever-blossoming Lion City.

If you’re venturing into the history-rich city area of Singapore for a touristic experience reminiscent of the country’s colonial past, cap off the heritage trail with a visit to the National Kitchen by Violet Oon, located at Singapore’s National Gallery. Unveiled in 2015, the elegant restaurant is situated on the second level of what used to be known as Singapore City Hall, now revamped to form part of Singapore’s National Gallery. Treat your eyes to an expansive view of the city skyline embellished by the likes of Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, and the Singapore Flyer, as you feast on national favorites.

National Kitchen’s Main Dining Area | Photography by National Kitchen

The prestige that follows a restaurant situated in such an iconic location is a high bar set for Violet Oon Singapore, who does not fail to deliver on every front – the food, service, and setting was an exemplary representation of Singapore’s finest features. Dark wood, tropical greens, and old photos from Violet Oon’s past evoke a sense of nostalgia in the establishment. Classy chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and plush seatings add a touch of grandness. Tall, glassy, windows give you a glimpse of the breathtaking view outside.

National Kitchen’s Veranda | Photography by National Kitchen

Speaking of which, should you be blessed (and apparently, spared from Singapore’s notorious humidity and heat) with gorgeous weather when visiting National Kitchen, ask to be seated outside on the veranda. The setting outside is just as magnificent, with towering 10-metre columns that frame the scenic skyline.

Singapore Island Iced Tea – Housemade gula melaka syrup, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaf, muddled till essential oils are released and combined with seltzer water | Photography by National Kitchen

Quench your thirst with National Kitchen’s drinks; for a refreshing non-alcoholic fix, try their house sodas, all of which are infused with Asian flavors such as ginger, lemongrass, gula melaka, and lime. We strongly recommend the Singapore Island Iced Tea for a refreshing and aesthetically pleasing twist to the typical iced tea.

Satay – Grilled chicken marinated in spices and served with a spicy peanut sauce topped with grated pineapple, steamed rice cake, cucumber, and red onion | Photography by National Kitchen

Although the dishes at National Kitchen can be easily found in Singapore’s food courts and coffee shops (otherwise known as ‘kopitiams’ to the locals), if you’re looking for a luxurious alternative to the local norm, then this is the restaurant for you. Start off your meal with small bites to share across the table. Try the Satay, the Tau Hui Goreng, and the Kuay Pie Tee, to get the ball rolling. The peanut sauce that accompanied the Satay is rich, and flavorful. The chicken was grilled to perfection, being neither dry nor overly chewy.

Kuay Pie Tee – Julienned bamboo shoot and turnip poached in a prawn bisque served in a deep fried “top hat” cup topped with prawn, chili sauce and a sweet fruit sauce | Photography by National Kitchen

Take the Kuay Pie Tee like how you would take a shot, consume it in its entirety (but be careful not to choke!). A well-known local delight, the Kuay Pie Tee served at National Kitchen does not pale in comparison to its humbler counterparts. The julienned bamboo shoot and turnip were poached to perfection, and blended well with the other flavors from the edible fried cup, prawn, and sauce.

Dry Laksa – Fresh rice noodles tossed in Violet’s laksa gravy topped with prawns, tau pok, and bean sprouts | Photography by National Kitchen

Next: the big plates. The Dry Laksa was very interesting. If you are a local, you will be surprised by how the restaurant has managed to capture the unique spicy, milky flavors of laksa into this dish. Over here, the traditional soupy laksa has been westernized, and resembles a cross between a pasta and the local dish. It is now much more manageable to ‘slurp’ up the dish; if you’re dressed in an all-white outfit, fret not, the Dry Laksa is safe for consumption.

Beef Rending – Tender beef shin braised in a melange of spices with kaffir and bay leaves in a creamy coconut sauce | Photography by National Kitchen

Do not leave National Kitchen without getting a taste of their prized possesion – the Beef Rendang. They have many signature dishes to choose from, however, if you could only order ONE dish, order this – you will not regret it. The beef was meltingly tender, and was served with a mouth-watering creamy, yet spicy coconut sauce. A tip from the servers: this dish is best enjoyed with plain rice.

Kueh Beng Kah – Grated tapioca cake topped with gula melaka syrup and coconut milk | Photography by National Kitchen

Finally, end off your already amazing gastronomic experience with dessert. Try the Kueh Beng Kah, the Rotijala with Gula Melaka and Banana Sauce, or the Kueh Dah Dah. All three have similar ingredients, yet are slightly different from one another. The Kueh Beng Kah is highly recommended. The grated tapioca cake soaked up the gula melaka syrup and coconut milk and nicely showcased each of the intended flavors.

National Kitchen’s Private Dining Room | Photography by National Kitchen

Expect world-class service from the hospitable, light-hearted servers at National Kitchen. Coupled with an option to book the private dining room that can seat up to twelve people, this polished restaurant is ideal for business meetings, high society gatherings, and classy dates. Go big, then go home after dining at National Kitchen – to mark your calendars for your next trip back to the restaurant.
Photography credited to National Kitchen by Violet Oon