Unwinding after a hard day’s work is easy at this establishment. Buzzing with energy thanks to thumping music, enthusiastic waitstaff and relaxed diners who are winding down over Violet Oon’s signature cocktails before dinner, this restaurant is a sure bet for a hearty meal that doesn’t disappoint. At first encounter, the formally dressed waitstaff seem too stiffly attired for the relaxed ambience of the restaurant, but their warm and engaging demeanour makes one feel at home right away.
We peruse the leather-bound menus over our orders of a Glenfiddich 12-year-old and a Red Light Special, a Violet Oon signature cocktail. Skipping the usual kueh pie ti and ngoh hiang (which must not be missed if you have guests from overseas to impress), we decide on the pork satay, daging panggang sambal hijau, nasi goreng Nonya pedas, and another Nonya staple – chap chye. The pork satay arrives as smoky skewers of lean meat pieces interspersed with deliciously bubbling and crunchy fat. Served the traditional way, with grated pineapple and peanut gravy, it is the perfect starter.
The nasi goreng Nonya pedas is presented as a steaming mound of flavourful fried rice topped with juicy prawns and sliced green and red chillies. Every bite is chock-full of fragrant minced dried shrimp, chopped cucumber and vegetables; this dish pairs beautifully with the whisky. The daging panggang sambal hijau features a 200-day grain-fed Black Angus rib-eye; perfect for sharing, it is beautifully charred to medium doneness and served with
a dressing of deep-fried onions, roasted garlic and mustard mash. Our opinion is that the beef itself is so good, it doesn’t need much dressing.
The chap chye proves well executed too, with a good balance of sweet and savoury. Each vegetable in this stewed dish is cooked just right.
To end the meal on a properly local note, save space for the chendol with durian penget sauce and pulut hitam (the latter is our impulse order), both of which provide a suitably sweet and memorable finish.
The vibrant atmosphere in the house, matched with vibrant flavours, makes this establishment a group-dining favourite.