National Kitchen by Violet Oon: Homely Peranakan Fare Clashes With Atas Surroundings

National Kitchen at National Gallery Singapore

Imagine sitting under a chandelier and feasting on satay, unable to grip the satay stick with bare hands (‘cos you’re eating in such an atas place) and having to use fork and spoon to get the meat off the stick instead. Quite exasperating. Thankfully National Kitchen serves such good satay that I don’t really mind the effort. But seriously, can I just ‘tabao’ the satay next time, and sit on the stairs outside the National Gallery and facing the Padang, to tuck into this deliciousness? I’ll certainly enjoy it more. šŸ˜€ Anyhow, here’s a quick review, so I know what to order if I do return again, as there are some items I’ll want to avoid because I don’t think they’re worth the price *gasp*…

Here’s one: the Ngoh Hiang ($15)Ā 

National Kitchen Ngor Hiang

At first glance, I found the color unappealing. The Ngoh Hiang looks dry and tough. It’s supposed to have been seasoned with 5 spice powder, but it doesn’t taste like it. Just extraordinarily bland and boring. Return the $15, please! šŸ˜› Ok, I’m just kidding.

Satay ($15)

National Kitchen by Violet Oon

The satay dish was FABULOUS though. Meaty chunks of grilled chicken paired with a delicious spicy peanut sauce with grated pineapple on top. The color was lovely, the taste was heavenly. Almost an insult to this dish to have it priced the same as the previous Ngoh Hiang dish. Just order this one, ok? Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

National Kitchen review

The Fish Head Curry ($42) I found a little overpriced. Nothing to shout about. I’ve had better fish head curry in coffeeshops before. And really, just looking at that layer of oil on the surface nearly gave me a heart attack. But I love that there’s lots of tomatoes, eggplants and ladies finger. Yum.

The Beef Rendang ($23) was really good. SO tender. Not suitable for people who love beef rendang that offers more bite. For me, soft is good. šŸ˜€ As for the Sambal Eggplant ($12), it’s passable. Again, nothing to write home about but the price is comparable to zichar stalls so ok lah.

I really do love how there’s a choice of the kind of rice you want though. There’s Jasmine Rice ($1), Nasi Lemak Rice ($2) and Chicken Rice Rice ($3). Mantou will cost $5.

National Kitchen Violet Oon

Finally, we had the Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($12) to share. I simply love sweet desserts so this did the trick for me. So small that you get one forkful only, when sharing. So there’s satisfaction without any guilt.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake National Kitchen

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Service was outstanding. Staff had no problems offering to help take photos. And there’s this Malay(?) dude who seems to be the restaurant manager and is an absolute gem. Water cups are refilled almost as soon as they are emptied. And everyone’s smiley and nice. The only thing National Kitchen could improve on in terms of service is to not lock their doors before dinner service? There was a big group of men who’d booked their private dining area and when they arrived about 5 to 10 minutes before dinner service, found themselves locked out of the place. One dude tried to pull / push both doors before giving up as they’re locked. I think he even felt a little embarrassed for the effort, as all the other guys were just watching him wrestle with the doors… in vain.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon is at level 2 of the National Gallery. šŸ™‚