National Kitchen serves an authentic taste of Singapore food from the past to the present
Not many chefs can live up to a restaurant called National Kitchen. But that is the name the newly opened National Gallery Singapore picked for a Singapore-cuisine restaurant on its second floor - a name that could easily become a subject of ridicule if the kitchen is helmed by someone less than capable.
The person who took up the challenge is food doyenne Violet Oon, and I can think of no one more suitable. The 66-year-old chef and restaurateur has been a food journalist and culinary ambassador for Singapore for decades and has seen the evolution of local food since the country's independence.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon is, according to her, reflective of her food journey as well as Singapore's food story over the past 50 years. It opened about two weeks ago.
Much love has been lavished on the design to make sure the restaurant is a place that Singaporeans will be proud to show off to foreign visitors. The dining room is a luxe combination of dark wood panels, vintage tiles and dramatic chandeliers. And on the walls are framed photographs from friends that include one of a wedding taken in the 1940s during World War II and another showing a soya sauce factory. One wall is dedicated to photos of Oon in her younger days.