Violet Herbs: Walking out from the blues and greens of life.

Never heard of purple-hued herbs before? Don't worry. Neither have I. Hence, a resounding opening statement that Violet Herb would be a rare find amongst the throngs of F&B establishments linearly crowding the Tras Street vicinity.

Edward Hoe, the executive chef and owner of Violet Herb is a rigorous miniaturist, combining a few ingredients at a time into compositions that were utterly complete, even if they left you wanting more. At a tender age of 34, he already had an impressive sense of what to put on a plate and what to leave off. His 20 years of kitchen experience stems to some prominent stints including Restaurant Ember, Keystone Restaurant and the fine dining establishment, The American Club. 

My first encounter with Edward was in 2010 whilst busting tables at Epicurious, just a stone's throw away from the maiden household. Even then, his tenacity in the kitchen was evident, his efforts to produce innovative cuisine despite the limitations were astounding; and often, the staff got to reap the benefits of his labour at meal times. Hence, it was with my utmost pleasure that I had the opportunity to sit down to a proper meal at his restaurant a few years down the row, devoid of beads of sweat rolling down my temples and black t-shirts reeking of grease.

Getting us off on the right foot is the Pistachio & Herb Crusted Scallop ($18), a stunner of a dish comprising of feather like wafer potato chips sandwiching a delicate whisper of parma ham  between each joint before being deep fried. The scallops encrusted in a herbed breadcrumb mix of thyme and juniper benefited from the slightly crunch of the pistachios. Chef Edward displays an uncanny sense of cleverness with the bitter chocolate soil that playfully pushes the dish into 'surf and turf' category. The earthy sweetness of the butternut squash puree at heel reinforcing those notions.

Going full circle, he pulls out the stops with this seductive dish, the Lobster Cappuccino and Brandy ($14+) which is extremely sea worthy. The ethereal juniper infused milk foam adds enough interest without distracting from the luxuriance of the lobster bisque.

One of my favourites of the night was the Ebi Pasta (angel hair) ($32+); I suppose most of you would say that similar versions have been spotted around the island, but take heed, not all of them are created equally. Violet Herb's rendition has a spark and an edge given the rayu oil and lobster essence incorporated into the mix; it is, addictive that it would leave you hankering for more even after a substantial full portion.

If it's meat you're after, opt for the Roasted Lamb Rump ($32+), the rump painstakingly sous vide till tender and bereft of gaminess, then pan-seared to finish. Embellished with a rich lamb jus, the entire dish ties in well with its radical sides of creamy fresh sweet corn and sauteed spinach. 

Pardon me as I rave about the Marinated Red Miso Cod ($33+), the luscious glean of red on the fish imparted from the black miso and beetroot puree that it is bathed in for 24hrs prior to being roasted. It's final flourish under the salamander granting a caramelised char-siew like quality to the surface of the protein. Equal attention to detail is paid to the swirls of pumpkin puree doing careless swerves across the plate, perfumed with buerre noisette, I had to silence my heady intentions to trudge into the kitchen and demand a bowlful of that goodness.

Unfortunately, the Sous Vide 48 hrs wagyu beef cheek ($32+) flopped in the flavor contrast department and despite the wagyu beef cheek's fork tender quality, the red wine and port reduction left a sour note in my mouth. 

Dessert was an elaborate affair of Frozen Nougat ($14+), I, being not such a big fan of nougat, bestowed the same treatment to the lychee sorbet as a fat kid would to chocolate cake. Extremely refreshing, sour and not too sweet at the same time, this coupled with a few impeccable choices of fruit, honeycoated the entire dinner experience.

Housed within a stunning two-storey conservation shop front, there is ample space for functions or parties. Boosting some impressive views, I suspect photo opportunities to be aplenty.

On a side note, do note that Violet Herbs is currently running a promotion till the 28th August '2015 where if you come dressed in violet (or have your get-up constitute of at least 50% purple) then you'll be entitled to 50% off your dinner bill on Friday nights (6-10pm). So grab your Barney the dinosaur costumes and scoot off now!

Violet Herbs
81 Tras Street

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat: 11 30am - 3pm; 6pm - 10pm
Sun: Closed

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