Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Violet Herbs - Modern Cuisine With Affordable Trimmings

Violet Herbs is Chef Edward Hoe's latest brainchild, and it is a modern restaurant found among the revamped rows of shophouses along Tanjong Pagar.

With a name like that, you would expect a little bit of pretentious dining, compounded by a bigger bill. And you would be wrong. It is more than affordable to dine here, and it is ideal for a casual night out as well.

Pricing aside, the place is actually very well decorated with its rather pared down, but still cosy furnishings.

Having worked in Keystone, Ember and the American Club, Chef Edward does boast an impressive resume at his age. And unlike other more colourful speaking counterparts, Edward prefers to let his cooking do all the talking.

Pistachio Herb Crusted Scallop

He starts the night off on a perfect appetiser. The wafer thin parma ham sandwich is a particular surprise and standout. The herb perfume encrusting the nicely cooked scallop gives it both fragrance and textural crunch that will delight the palate. The slight bitterness from the chocolate soil and sweetness of the butternut squash puree balances everything out in the end.

Ebi Pasta

This must be one of the most copied dishes around town, and what it lacks in originality, it mightily makes up for it in flavour and execution. The spicy rayu oil and lobster essence kicks the pasta into another gear, and the fine little garnishes of ebi prawns and spring onion gives it that extra bite and flavour.

Roasted Lamb Rump

My personal pick of the menu, this classic tasting roasted lamb rump is executed perfectly. The beautiful jus has such an incredible depth of flavour that it is equally comforting and delicious all at once. The sides, though good, are mere spectators to the main event.

The test tube could have been dropped in the presentation, as such a classic plate should be presented as clean as it can be, minus the theatrics. The lamb is also well cooked to a moist, tender medium texture.

Marinate Red Miso Cod

Undoubtedly, many will flock here for this spectacular dish. Let's begin with the pumpkin puree, which is rich in flavour and enlivened with a buerre noisette for that extra level of butteriness.

The greasy fats from the fish is finely cut through with the sweetness and savouriness from the red miso marinate, and a slight caramelisation at the end of the cooking process ensures just a tinge of smokiness and char to give the fish a honey-like glaze that is as tasty as it is visually stunning.

Frozen Nougat

The singular dessert plate of Frozen Nougat actually surprised me with how good it tasted. A perfect balance of sweetness and acidity ensures a refreshing tone throughout the devouring of this plate. The superfluous but necessary garnishes of fruits and berries provide the mandatory support but in all honesty, the nougat did the job all on its own.

Violet Herbs has an almost spartan but modern setting throughout the whole joint, and yet it will appeal to all but the older generation of grouchy, picky diners. Office executives will find this a great diversion from their daily hustle, whilst romantic couples will find the darker night mood a perfect venue for their rendezvous.

As for the food, there is little to fault and except for a Wagyu beef cheek that missed the mark, everything else is pretty spot on. For a modern little restaurant, it has definite class and taste.

Violet Herbs
81 Tras Street

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