Violet Oon’s new dining concept at Clarke Quay offers a multi-sensory experience in a relaxed setting that builds on the sense of familiarity guests enjoy in her Peranakan dishes.
8 March, 2017
Her long-running cooking shows have played in the background of Singaporean homes, her cookbooks are staples of Singaporean kitchens and her two restaurants have raised the benchmark for Peranakan dining. Shows, books and restaurants have established Violet Oon as both the doyenne of Peranakan cuisine and a prestigious brand. A few weeks ago Oon expanded her culinary empire with a third food concept in Clarke Quay.
Designed by LAANK X Violet Oon (with branding by BLACK X Violet Oon), the Violet Oon Satay Bar and Grill borrows from the material palette used in Oon’s first two restaurants in Bukit Timah area and the National Gallery Singapore. In those two restaurants, rich and sultry materials like deep green and dark timber panels, leather and brass detailing are juxtaposed with more vernacular elements like rattan and colourful Peranakan tiles, resulting in dazzling settings that are equal parts nostalgic and elevated. The Violet Oon Satay Bar and Grill, by comparison, aims to be more casual, as befits Clarke Quay’s vibe and crowds.
“The unit in Clarke Quay used to be an old warehouse and that is very significant to us as this enclave of old warehouses contributed to Singapore’s fame and fortune in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,” says Director Su-Lyn Tay, Oon’s daughter who now runs the family business together with her brother Yiming Tay. She adds, “We wanted this new outlet to be our convivial home where friends can go and hang out after work over good food and drinks in a laid back environment.”
Interior designer Cherin Tan, founder for LAANK, says of the space: “We kept the richness of Peranakan heritage and culture, and the elements of familiarity, comfort and attention to detail that one will find in Violet’s cooking. We also wanted to ‘share the kitchen’ with the audience; we want them to feel as though they’re dining in Violet’s home.”
The centrepiece of the venue is the spacious bar clad in deep green timber and brass detailing. Tables are lined up in a row at the centre of the space, creating one long communal table. Above it hang large fans with woven rattan blades that are reminiscent of the straw fans used to control the fire in traditional stay grilling. The glass panels lining the exposed ceiling create a more spacious feel in the irregular footprint. Smaller tables with plush button-tufted leather seats line the other side.
And on the far side of the entrance is the kitchen, presented to the dining room behind a glass wall. Diners can sit on the counter in front of this open kitchen and see their food being prepared and grilled on wood and charcoal fires, and smell the action through slatted openings. “We wanted it to be a multi-sensory experience,” shares Tan.
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