The Place Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar is probably one of the relatively underrated food streets in Singapore. Other than May May restaurant which opened early this year, it is difficult not to notice Violet Herbs, a casual and modern European cuisine restaurant with touches of Asian fusion. Housed in a two-storey conservatory shophouse, the predominantly violet hue furnishings of level one resonates strongly with its name, while level two takes on a surprisingly different feel with its brown, nature themed touches.
The inspiration for Violet Herbs comes from the owner’s vision to offer a menu with a twist, as well as infusing the use of herbs in the dishes.
The Food Helmed by Chef Edward Hoe with more than 19 years of culinary experience (including previous stints such as Restaurant Ember), Violet Herbs has recently launched some new additions to its existing menu, where lunch and dinner sets are also available.
How about starting off with some cocktails? I had the Violet Breeze ($14) for a refreshing start, a combination of fruity elements and a tinge of mint.
For appetizers, we tried both the Roasted & Poached Foie Gras ($24) and the Truffle Foie Gras, which is available in the set dinner menu.
The Roasted & Poached Foie Gras is served with Shiitake Mushroom, Mirin Shoyu and Raspberry Reduction. I thought that the plating is pretty enchanting, to say the least, especially with the violet-like hue of the raspberry. We find the overall combination of the mushroom, raspberry and foie gras to be surprisingly good as the taste blended well to give it a harmonious finish.
Comparatively, the Truffle Foie Gras takes a twist by serving it with poached egg, which is prepared for over an hour to give it the most optimal texture. While the creativity is commendable, it does not come across as a perfect match to me unfortunately as the foie gras and eggs combination feels forceful and awkward.
For soup lovers, the Lobster Cappuccino & Brandy ($14) with fresh Boston Lobster Meat and Juniper Foam is one of the star dishes of the night for me at least. The soup does not just look pretty, the taste is also one of the most sophisticated lobster soup I have tried. The mix of the cappuccino inspired foam to balance the natural sweetness of the lobster is ingenious, evident by the fact that I can’t stop sipping the next mouth. As for the lobster meat, it is as fresh as it can be.
The Lobster Cappuccino & Brandy soup is also available as part of the selection in the 4-course set dinner menu at $48/pax.
Only available in the dinner set menu, I find the Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté is comparatively less toned down in its taste than the Lobster Cappuccino & Brandy soup. The bright yellow petals are interestingly edible micro herbs, while the soup also has mild traces of truffle oil. The surprise factor here is definitely the crispy duck meat hidden somewhere beneath the soup, an interesting combination I would say.
The Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté is available as part of the selection in the 4-course set dinner menu at $48/pax and the 8-course degustation menu at $128/pax.
From the pasta selection, I thought that the most striking ingredient of the Ebi Pasta (Angel Hair) ($32) is not the pasta per se, but the Sakura Ebi. Imported from Japan, the sweet and crunchy texture of the Ebi complimented the al dente pasta well. Cooked with Bird’s Eye Chilli as well for an additional kick of spice, it is definitley a bearable threshold even for the Rantee who usually cringe at the slightest spiciness.
The Ebi Pasta is also available as part of the selection in the 4-course set dinner menu at $48/pax and the 8-course degustation menu at $128/pax.
Another noteworthy option is the Sri Lankan Crab Meat Pasta ($32) – Angel hair pasta with Shio seaweed, lobster essence, chopped coriander and finished off with a hint of brandy. It is not too dry or oily and I love the al dente texture.For the main course, the Marinated Red Miso Cod ($33) lives up to its name as one of the best signatures at Violet Herbs. The plating is something which I like here, judging from how well the Roasted Pumpkin Purée and the mix herbs blended together. I am not sure how the miso cod is being marinated exactly, but the taste is divine. For the best touch on your taste bud, try to have the cod fish with the pumpkin purée and the crispy golden almond eggplant as well.
The Marinated Red Miso Cod is also available as part of the selection in the 3-course set lunch menu at $32/pax and the 8-course degustation menu at $128/pax.
In the mood for some beef? Try the Sous Vide 48 Hours Wagyu Beef Cheek ($32) with Red Wine Glaze, which is so tender that every bite is such a pleasure. The attention to details in amazing, as evident from traces of the Fregola pasta, mini sphere-like pasta from Sardinia (an Italian Island). Likewise, the Zucchini Spheres is a great accompaniment to the beef, adding some rich colours and also in balancing the meaty portions. The challenge of sous vide cooking is getting the right grasp of timing, so that the meat turned out in the right degree as intended by the chef. This dish is definitely a success in my opinion, as the beef cheek is evenly cooked to the degree I like.
The Sous Vide 48 Hours Wagyu Beef Cheek is also available as part of the selection in the 3-course set lunch menu at $32/pax and the 8-course degustation menu at $128/pax.
Alternatively, the Roasted Lamb Rump ($32) is equally tantalising, served with sauteed baby spinach and creamy sweet corn.
Desserts wise, there is quite a good mix of selection as well from the a la carte menu, such as the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant ($14), Textures Of Lychee (Panna Cotta) ($12) and Apple Strudel ($12).
We tried the Apple Tart with Rosemary Ice Cream, which is only available from the set dinner menu. If this is not the best apple tart I had in Singapore for a long time, I must be kidding you. Unlike other versions, usually dry and overly starchy, this turned out to be an almost caramelised-like texture with some flaky elements to it. Forget about the ice-cream, just go for the tart.
From the a la carte menu, the Nutella Bar ($12) with Nutella Tuile, Strawberry Coulis, Pearl Chocolate and Bailey Ice Cream sounds tempting enough simply from the Bailey Ice Cream.
The Nutella Bar is also available as part of the selection in the 3-course set lunch menu at $32/pax.
Rants Well, I wouldn’t say it’s affordable fare at Violet Herbs. But go for the set meals, it gives you more bang for your bucks!
Will I return again? Violet Herbs impresses, with the team behind this new restaurant having worked together in previous shops, we sense a strong desire to deliver on all notes to their diners. Will be back to try out their new creations and of course, their signatures!
Make your reservation instantly at Violet Herbs here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
81 Tras Street
Tel: +65 6221 3988
Daily 1130am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm