The food is an homage to the restauranteur's Peranakan roots, with a smattering of localised western fare such as pastas and pizzas. While the appetizers were a little shaky, the mains were excellent. Coupled with the memorably personable service and elegant yet homey ambience, we thoroughly enjoyed the 2 dinners we had here. I think, even after we've moved back into the city, we'll be back for more of Vio's stuff.
The Kuay Pie Tee ($18) with turnip strips and bamboo shoots braised in a prawn stock filling was delectable, especially with that freshly pounded sambal, but the half prawn topping was too cold and extremely jarring. This would have been much better served at the same temperature as the braised turnip mix.
The Pong Tau Hu Soup ($14) with 3 huge balls made with pork, prawns and beancurd mince were a tad dry, and the prawn bisque was way too rich and sweet. That said, the julienned bamboo shoots were a nice complement and belly pork decadently fatty.
The Vio's Shepherd's Pie ($17), a casserole of stewed ground beef hash topped with creamy mashed potatoes, was more like a meaty version of French onion soup, with the liberal amount of caramelised onions added into this. Still, it was very appreciated by the Hubs, who loves all things onions. I thought they could hold back a little on the onions, as it'd overwhelmed the beef.
A signature, the Vio's Chicken Curry with Roti Jala ($21), was a velvety coconutty curry served with a chewy Indian-styled laced pancake. This was delicious, but what's unique was the salad, dressed in a bright lemony dressing so it made for a wonderfully crisp counter to the rich curry gravies.
The Buah Keluah Ayam ($22), a trio of tender chicken chunks dunked into a grainy gravy spiced with lengkuas and turmeric was superb. Hands down, the best treatment of the keluak nut. The mixture was redolent of its distinctive tang but mellowed out to a meaty finish.
The Babi Pongteh ($19), 2 hunks of pork belly slowly braised with yellow bean paste, cinnamon and cloves to a fork-tender consistency, was spiked with fresh green chillis for some kick. Plump Chinese black mushrooms and bamboo shoots lend texture, and steamed white rice was on hand to wipe up every last bit of that beautifully brown gravy.
The Beef Rendang ($22) here utilizes the premium beef cheek for its characteristically sinewy soft texture. Braised till denture-soft in a melange of kaffir lime and bay leaves in creamy coconut milk, the smoky nutty gravy was served with aromatic nasi kuning, and cucumber coated with hae bee hiam.
A must-try here, the Pulut Hitam with Vanilla Ice-cream ($9) was excellent. The Hubs says this is the one thing he'd drive back to the west to get even after we move out of the area. It all boils down to the extremely well-balanced and nuanced black glutinous rice pudding.
Violet Oon's Kitchen
881 Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6468 5430
Open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 10pm
Fridays from 11.30am to 11pm
Saturdays from 9.30am to 11pm
Sundays from 9.30am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays