Violet Herbs in Tras Street

Violet Herbs calls itself a new age semi-formal fine dining restaurant helmed serving Modern European cuisines with Asian influences. It has long been on my to-visit list as the menu looks good (and was value-for-money before its revamp) and I had heard good things about it, including from my foodie sister.

I was excited to see it participating in Restaurant Week and promptly signed up. When we arrived, a queue was forming, though there were quite a few empty tables. After a wait, we were led to our table. The first floor is garishly decorated in purple and the lights kept fluctuating in brightness throughout our meal. Also, the tables were placed close to each other so it was noisy and there was no sense of privacy. It felt like a cheap diner.

To start, there was focaccia with balsamic vinegar and a mix of cod and mashed potatoes (above). The focaccia was cold, dry and hard. I love to eat bread – from Gardenia white bread to sourdough from bakeries or the ones I bake – but would not have a second bite of this. The least Violet Herbs could do was to serve warm bread. The cod and potato mix was bland and cold as well.

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Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt at The Arts House

I brought my companion here during Restaurant Week, having enjoyed a meal at OCF before, and this second time was just as enjoyable.

The restaurant, named after the late Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife, is tucked away on the second floor of The Arts House. It is quite well lit with large windows on the side, and tables are placed apart well enough so diners will not disturb others with their conversations. There is an open kitchen, so you can see what is being cooked, but no oily smell wafts out so the experience is pleasant. As always, the service is excellent with the manager walking around and checking on diners.

Lunch was started with a delicious, crusty, warm sourdough with salted butter (above). The bread was so good slathered with the rich butter, I could have eaten a lot more than the two slices given.

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