[Singapore] Violet Oon at ION Orchard

Singapore’s own doyenne of domesticity, Violet Oon, has continued to expand her culinary empire with the opening of her latest eatery, an eponymously-named 100-seat brasserie offering a mix of Colonial-British, Hainanese and Peranakan/Nyonya dishes, at ION Orchard, Singapore’s swankiest shopping mall.

Singaporeans would remember the shepherd’s pies sold at the short-lived Violet Oon’s Kitchen in the Takashimaya basement food hall back in 1993. She’s brought them back at this eatery.

We were there for brunch, where the breakfast and lunch menus intersect. What we had:

  1. Roti Violet Avocado Nyonya - An avocado spread topped with with feta, dill, fresh lime segment and paprika, served on a roti prata:

  2. French Toast with Banana Pengat Sauce - French toast served with a side of house-made Gula Melaka banana sauce.

  1. Salmon and Scrambled Eggs - Scrambled eggs topped with lightly-spiced Aburi salmon and feta cheese, on toasted sourdough.

  2. Corned Beef Hash - Corned beef with fried potatoes, onions and chillies, topped with a sunny-side up egg, served on toasted sourdough.

From the lunch menu:
5) Violet Oon’s Shepherd’s Pie with House Salad - Slow-braised mince beef topped with cmashed potato.

  1. Babi Pongtay - Slow-braised pork belly with dried mushroom and bamboo shoot flavoured with bean paste, cinnamon and cloves. This is a Nyonya favourite of mine, and the rendition here ticked all the boxes. Especially loved the crunchy fresh bamboo shoots here.

As with all Violet Oon’s eateries, the food was competently prepared, although nothing which would raise them beyond the ordinary. One is really paying higher prices for the swanky ambience, and nothing more.

Violet Oon
Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #03-22
Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 9834 9935
Opening hours: 10am-10pm (breakfast 10am to 12 noon), daily


Beef? That’s a cottage, not shepherd’s, pie. :wink:

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Yup! :rofl:
Violet Oon’s inexplicable faux pas - she was a food writer/columnist in Singapore as far back as the 1970s, so we don’t know why she labelled the dish as such.

Possibly because the “shepherds” is a much better known name across the world.

I recall a somewhat acrimonious Chowhound thread on the subject. I certainly recall me telling one puffed-up tosser that I couldnt care less what he called it, so long as he didnt expect people from my food heritage to change our description of one of our iconic national dishes.

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I know exactly how you’d feel. Chowhound is very American-centric, and Americans tend to want to impose their worldview on everyone else.

I still remember (you may, too) a similarly acrimonious thread on Chowhound where there was a heated discussion about what constitutes Chinese “chow mein” (which literally means “fried noodles” in Cantonese and Mandarin, although the pronunciation/tones are different in each of the two Chinese dialects used). In New York, chow mein do not contain any noodles, but the stir-fried meat-and-vegetable dish will be served with noodle-like crisps on top (in the US West Coast, it would be fried noodles). Someone mentioned how can NYers insist on calling that dish “chow mein” when it’s obviously not fried noodles, and I remember NY-based Chowhounds insist it’s their right to call it as they please. :grin:

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my parents divorced so my dad brought in an English nanny to take care of us while he worked. We knew firsthand the difference between cottage and shepherd’s pie since we loved cottage and couldn’t stand shepherd’s. I’ve never had a better cottage pie than the one’s she used to bake.

not to restart the debate, but if you’re sitting in a nyc restaurant and it says “chow mein” on the menu , how else would you communicate your order to the waiter? In any case, in nyc I avoid the issue by never ordering chow mein because, in my view, it’s completely inedible.

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Good decision. :joy::joy:

Anyway, in Singapore, THIS is what we call an apple strudel:

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who cares what it’s called as long as it’s delicious? And hey, that’s not as far off as what you all call carrot cake!

I’d like to know how that English term came about, too.
The dish is of Teochew (Chaozhou) origins. In the Teochew dialect, it’s called fried “chai tow kway”, i.e. radish (“chai tow”) cake (“kway”). So, it should have been fried radish cake.

In the Teochew dialect, a carrot is called “ang chai tow”, literally red radish. Probably because, whilst radish is native to China/SE Asia, carrots (native to Persia/Central Asia) were introduced to the Chinese much later on.

Somehow, in Singapore/Malaysia, the term “carrot cake” to refer to Teochew radish cake has stuck: