After my good experience at Violet Oon’s Kitchen a while ago, I was set on trying National Kitchen by Violet Oon which is located in the National Gallery of Singapore, a building refurbished from historical monuments – the former Supreme Court and City Hall of Singapore.
Digressing, there’s no other place in Singapore like the National Gallery. It took a whole 10 years (the idea happened in 2005) before this place was ready and opened to the public. National Gallery is now a very iconic location in Singapore and of course only the best restaurants are worthy of being here.
Most of the restaurants here are serving foreign cuisine, like Odette (French), Aura (Italian) and Saha (Modern Indian, which moved over from Duxton Hill), but I’m glad there’s National Kitchen which serves food which reflects something uniquely Singaporean.
The decor at National Kitchen looks similar to Violet Oon’s Kitchen in Bukit Timah. I like how the Peranakan elements are expressed in small details like the tiles on the floor, walls and ceiling. I also loved the marble tables.
The lunch and dinner reservations here are usually full and they recommend 2 weeks in advance for booking. Afternoon tea was launched a few weeks ago and I was lucky to get a table just few days in advanced, for a Saturday afternoon.
Afternoon tea set is $56.00++/2 pax and comes with both sweet and savoury items. It’s entirely Peranakan, so don’t expect any English staples like scones or ham & cheese sandwiches.
The top tier is sweet while the bottom 2 are savoury. It comes with coffee or tea and of course I selected tea. I had Masala Chai.
Delicious selection of sweet kuehs.
Roti Jala with Banana and Gula Melaka
Traditional nonya laced pancake served with gula melaka and banana coconut sauce
This is the one on the far left.
Kueh Dah Dah
Grated coconut cooked with gula melaka wrapped with pandan infused crepe
This is the green ones. One of my favourite types of traditional Nonya kueh since I love coconut.
Kueh Beng Kah
Fresh tapioca cake infused with coconut cream and served with coconut milk and gula melaka
Kueh Lapis Legit
A rich layered buttery cake
Kueh Lapis Sago
Pearl tapioca multi layered steamed cake infused with pandan
I think it’s my first time having something like this and I love it! Drench it in plenty of gula melaka and it’s good.
Citrus curd on buttery shortcrust base topped with papaya and limau kesturi comppote served with clotted cream
This is the one on the paper liners. My first time trying something like this.
Many of these are items on their usual dessert menu so for afternoon tea you get bite size of several things!
On to the savourite bites…
Spiced coconut cream fish quenelle served on buttered crostini
Kueh Pie Tee
Julienned bamboo shoots and turnip poached in prawn bisque served in deep fried “top hat” topped with prawn, chilli sauce and a sweet fruit sauce
These little cups are probably the most famous Peranakan savoury bite.
Buah Keluak Crostini
Infused with a melange of spices, minced prawns and coconut milk on a buttered crostini
This is the black one in the back.
Nasi Kuning Serunding
Glutinous rice infused with turmeric topped with spicy fried coconut flakes
I’ve never tried this before. Coconut is so versatile. The bite size portion was just perfect to sample a bit of everything.
Pulled Beef Sambal Pao
Slow cooked pulled beef in a spicy and mildly sweet sambal served in a steamed bun
Finger sandwiches with an Asian twist using chinese buns.
Hae Bee Hiam Sandwich
Spicy dried shrimp floss finger sandhich
I was in luck! Violet Oon herself happened to be around today so I got to have a picture with her.
I enjoyed my experience here and it is something different from the usual western style afternoon teas which can get repetitive and boring.
Overall: Prime location, good food, highly recommended restaurant.
1 St. Andrew’s Road
#02–01, National Gallery Singapore
(City Hall Wing)
12PM – 2.30PM
2.30PM – 5PM
(last order 4.30pm)
6PM – 10.30PM
(last order 9:30PM)