I was a colleague of Violet's when we both worked for a newspaper in Singapore. I was lucky enough to have been invited for meals at her home a couple of times. They were superb. For a variety of reasons, I had not been able to dine at her pervious forays into the restaurant businesss so I made a special effort to go to her latest incarnation of her eatery. I was not disappionted.
VOK is not your typical Peranakan restaurant in which you order a variety of dishes to be shared, The menu is more akin to a Western restaurant with appetisers/starters, entrees/mains, side dishes and desserts. It does make meals more expensive but if you want cheap, you will need to go else where. That said, the food, service and ambience are worth the money.
Four of us dined there this week and we tried the dips of buak keluak and crab sambal. The former was a hit but It was hard to taste the crab in the latter. We had ayam buah keluak, babi pong teh and ngo hiang with a side of sambal bendi. The main courses came with rice and a ramekin of pickles. As the table was getting crowded we dispensed with some side plates and put the main dishes in the middle to be shared.
The buak keluak and babi pong teh passed muster but the ngo hiang and sambal bendi were outstanding. The ngo hiang was nicely crisped without being over-fried, which can kill the subtle flavours of the dish, and the ladies fingers were done just right and went well with the sambal.
VOK features some dishes not found in traditional Peranakan eateries and Violet is to be commended to daring to break out of what could be a traditionalist straightjacket. While the pulot hitam with ice-cream was a little pedestrian the bubor cha cha panna cotta was so good that another serve was considered. And we would have had we not been quite full by then.
One especially notable feature was the excellent service; the waitstaff were attentive but never intrusive. It is hard to find this level of service these days.
The only hiccough was that we had booked online but they had no record of the reservation. Someone had forgotten to check the email.
Subsequent visits are on the cards.
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