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Violet Oon - 7th Apr 2017

On Monday after the World Gourmet Summit promotion at the bistro, the Huber family brought Grill Ueli to try some Peranakan food and where better than Violet Oon’s. We took the opportunity to try their new satay and grill restaurant at Clarke Quay. 

The beautiful colonial décor of the restaurant is always a great talking point for overseas visitors and a good way to introduce the Peranakan heritage. As Grill Ueli stood at the kitchen window looking at the chefs grill on their charcoal fire, I was thinking how pressured those chefs would be if they knew that the bbq world champion was watching them grill. We started off the meal with ngoh hiang, kueh pie tee and tau hu goreng. Ngoh hiang, which is like a Peranakan spring roll, is delightfully done here. The minced pork and prawn are perfectly seasoned with five spice and the crunchy bits of water chestnut adds to the texture. The kueh pie tee has braised turnip which is still nice and moist unlike other places where it is dry so as not to make the shell soggy. The tau hu goreng which has a sweet and tangy peanut and tamarind sauce is good but probably my least favourite of the three appetisers. 

Ngoh Hiang

Kueh Pie Tee

                           Tao Hu Goreng

Satays were next on the table and we ordered the beef and pork satays. The pieces of beef were tender with a bite and definitely not the tenderised versions you find almost everywhere else. It was well charred which made the corners crispy. The charring is against what Grill Ueli practises as he thinks the blackened bits give off a bitter taste and therefore musks the true flavour of the ingredient. The pork satays were just as yummy and both were served with a slightly spicy peanut sauce with freshly grated pineapple! We were then served the dry laksa which is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. This is always a visitor-pleaser and especially great for my wife who doesn’t like to drink soup. 

Beef Satay

For the mains, we ordered white jasmine rice and coconut rice which were served with beef rendang and sayur lodeh. The coconut curry sauces that came with both the beef and vegetables, although very different from one another, go so well with rice. The beef is again tender and the sauce is rich. My favourite dish of the night has to be daging panggang sambal hijau. The beef ribeye is bursting with flavour from the garlic kesturi and green chilli padi sambal topping. It was too spicy for Grill Ueli but it was right up my alley. Another dish we had to let Ueli try was the buah keluak otah. This black fruit has a strong and unmistakable nutty flavour that either you like or don’t like. In the case of Ueli, it’s “ I don’t like.” We had the assam barrumundi which is a new dish and is well-constructed. Usually assam fish are tough and dry but this one used the locally farmed barramundi which is moist and flaky. The assam is done into a paste which is mouth-wateringly sour and spicy. The sambal bajak udang is another dish that was too spicy for Ueli. The tiger prawns which are grilled have a delicious topping of sambal, tomatoes and onions. 

Daging Panggang Sambal Hijau

Garam Assam Barramundi with Pineapple and Ginger Flower

Sambal Bajak Udang

Buah Keluak Otah

As always we went hard on the mains and left little room for dessert. The coconut and Gula Melaka ice-cream was delicious and light enough for our full bellies. I forgot to mention that the Singapore Sling here is excellent and for me, much better than the version done at its birth place, Raffles Hotel. 

Singapore Sling

It is always a pleasure to bring overseas visitors to eat Peranakan food. There are so many ingredients like buah keluak, tamarind, Gula Melaka, water chestnut that Westerners have not tried before so it is always interesting to introduce these to them and watch their reactions. Violet Oon’s does Peranakan food well and it is packaged in a beautiful ambience. Now, with the addition of grilled items and satay in their new outlet, it truly is a Peranakan powerhouse. 

3B River Valley Rd
#01-18, Clarke Quay
Singapore 179021

To make a reservation, email eat@violetoon.com 

         ~ Andre Huber
Executive Director


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