Valentine’s Day Dinner @ Privé Grill

Hello everyone!

So much love was in the air last weekend because of Valentine’s Saturday. While every boyfriend scrambled to the florists and jewelry shops to get their girlfriends flowers and an expensive gift, I stressed to my boyfriend that I didn’t want anything. After all, I never liked flowers (partially because I’d feel utterly embarrassed to be holding a bouquet of flower everywhere I go) and jewelries (especially if it’s just diamonds. Useless stones. Yeah I said it) and I hated the idea of having to pay for ridiculously marked up restaurant food prices. Although I consider myself to be independent, I still feel the pinch for my boyfriend whenever he splurges on exorbitant stuff.

Simply put, I’ve never considered Valentine’s Day to be anything special. I can spend the entire 14th February idling on the bed. No problem.

But contrary to my character, my boyfriend is a hopeless romantic. He wouldn’t let the day go by without doing something. He knows I’m never into all this Valentine’s Day hype, but he also knows that I’d never say “no” to food. So he booked a table at Privé (pronounced as “pree-veh“) Grill for 13th February (because the actual day was full) as the restaurant was also having a Valentine’s Day promotion – a 6-course dinner set menu at S$118++ per pax (early bird price of S$108++ from 6-7pm). Ouch.

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Marina at Keppel Bay

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Outdoor dining (we were given an indoor seating)

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All ready for a tantalising 6-course dinner!

Valentine’s Day may be over, but my passion for food lives on. So here’s my review!

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Complimentary potato chips

We were served an unusual choice of starter – a small bucket of potato chips – that was nice and crisp at the beginning. But it quickly lost its crunchiness and became soggy when it cooled down, leaving nothing but a whole load of oil on the base of the bucket. The amount of oil used to fry these chips was terrifying. Still, I really enjoyed it while it was hot.

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Complimentary bread and a spoonful of.. diced tomato?

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Ciabatta. poolish and sourdough (yes we ate them all even though we’re still on a low-carb diet. We decided that Friday the 13th was another cheat day for us *grins*)

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Off to a healthy start (pun intended hehe)

Then came another complimentary starter with two components. I believe this was supposed to be Tomato Bruschetta where you’d have to eat both together (by spreading the diced tomato on top of the bread). But there was obviously too little tomato for that to be done so we just ate the bread and the tomato on its own. 😛

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Smoked Norwegian Salmon Belly

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Fried egg yolk

Our appetizer was a salmon dish with crispy seaweed crackers, fried egg yolk (quail egg, I guess), pickled cucumber and candied (sweet) ginger. The salmon was fresh and sliced to perfection. Thick and slimy, it was such a joy eating every piece. What intrigued me most was the egg because I didn’t expect it to be in this form. Loved how the runny yolk spurt slightly in my mouth 😀

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Oysters and Pearls

Served with poached oyster and avruga, this charred leek and potato soup was something new and unusual to my palate. It wasn’t the usual soup course with an explosion of flavours in the mouth, but it was pleasant, light and surprisingly delectable. The pearls (avruga) gave the oyster a smoked taste. Not bad!

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Roasted Quail

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Quail meat

Deboned to make the lives of poultry lovers easier, this dish was served with mushrooms, pomegranates, parmesan polenta, warm pistachio with Muscat dressing. The nicely-cooked quail was very meaty and saporous despite its size. The polenta was creamy (almost mistook it for cheese) while the pomegranates gave the dish a crunchy and sweet punch. All in all, this was a plate of flavours which worked.

Service started to slow at this point as more patrons started pouring in, angering a few existing diners who had waited for close to an hour for their food. Our main course was also delayed for more than 30 minutes and it was until we queried about it that they really started to expedite our orders.

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Josper-Grilled Brandt Filet Steak

We had a choice between the filet steak and Salt-Baked Atlantic Cod (with grilled Maine scallops, prawn ravioli, crisp squid tentacles, zucchini and saffron-cream sauce – just for the record) for the main course. As we had previously dined at Privé Grill twice before, we knew that the restaurant’s specialty is steak. Hence the filet steak for our mains.

Josper-Grilled Brandt Filet Steak came with gratinated lobster tail, cumin-carrot purée, asparagus, bone marrow and red wine sauce. Juicy, tender and in reasonable portion, the steak has never disappointed us so far. The lobster tail was succulent and firm and I felt that it was a bonus on the plate. Eating the bone marrow was another first for us at Privé Grill. Basically just soft fats, it’s actually quite delicious with the salt and pepper seasoning.

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Rose Panna Cotta

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Raspberry on lychee

For dessert, we had Rose Panna Cotta with raspberries, lychee, sheep’s milk skin and tonka bean ice cream. It was one of the best dishes of the night. The Panna Cotta was tangy and creamy, and its sweetness balanced out the sourness of the raspberries. It was a very hearty end to the meal 🙂

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What’s next?

The last item on the menu was either coffee or tea to cleanse our palates.

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We chose tea!

After settling our bill, I was given a bag that contained a slice of banana cake, courtesy of the restaurant. Yay, free food! It was probably given out to couples (more specifically, the ladies :D) who bought the Valentine’s Day dinner package. I shared the cake with Bf on the spot as I didn’t wanna bring it home.

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Complimentary treat at the end of the meal

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The fragrant banana cake was generously thick (although it’s free) and fluffy. Loved it. Thanks Privé!

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Thanks for the treat, dear!

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It’s time to go home! But first, let’s take a selfie

I guess $118++ for these scrumptious dishes was a worthwhile spend. They would probably cost more if ordered individually. But I really wouldn’t mind if the money was spent on something less extravagant. Oh well. ^^’

That’s all for this food post!

Oh, it’s the Lunar New Year already, so here’s wishing everyone a Happy Year of the Goat, 新年快乐 and 恭喜发财! ❤

Thanks for reading!

Privé Grill
2 Keppel Bay Vista
Singapore 098382
Operating hours:
Mon-Fri 11.30am – 3pm (lunch), 6.30pm – 11.30pm (dinner)
Sat & Eve of Public Holidays 6.30pm – 11.30pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Contact number: +65 6776 0777
Email | Website | Facebook

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Go Meatless @ Real Food (The Central)

Hey everyone!

I mentioned on my SkinnyMint review that I embarked on a no-carb diet (actually just abstaining from the four main refined carbs – rice, bread, noodles and pasta) when my internship commenced. About a month have passed since my last SkinnyMint teabag and I’m proud to say that I’m still maintaining the diet amidst all the food temptations (except for certain allocated cheat days hehe).

A few weeks back, I was introduced to Real Food, a cafe that makes food free from processed ingredients, artificial preservatives, Trans-fat and meat. As a meat lover, the thought of going entirely vegan – even just for one night – puts me off. But since it was a farewell dinner for a health-conscious friend who was going to pursue her studies in the States, I obliged and followed the plan. The only consolation for this meal was its health benefits, no doubt.

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The Central (Clarke Quay outlet)

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A row of what-seemed-to-be organic ketchup

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Books and a cute stuffed toy

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More vegan-friendly goodies!

Despite frequenting The Central during my Poly internship days, the basement of the mall always seems like a maze to me so it took Bf and me awhile to find the cafe. Located on the same side as Sticky (there’s actually an escalator in front of the cafe leading to Boat Quay), you’d be surprised at first to see the cafe almost empty on a Saturday evening. But trust me, it has got nothing to do with the quality of the food. In fact, it’s a common sight in shops operating in The Central due to low patronage caused by the lack of flagship stores. Thus, empty tables were plentiful when we were there but I did see people streaming in every now and then.

Our reservation for 8 diners got us a long table isolated at the inner corner of the cafe, making it uber conducive for group conversations. We were surrounded with shelves well-stocked with books, food and everything else vegan, effectively transforming this cafe into a fusion of a mini-mart and a bookstore. The gentle yellow light gave the place a very cosy lived-in feel too.

Orders are self-service at the cashier (yay, no service charge!) but the food gets delivered to you. The prices stated on the menu at its Clarke Quay outlet are final (i.e. no additional charge for GST whatsoever) even though the cafe is GST-registered. The good people behind Real Food probably absorbed the extra charges 😀

Here’s what Bf and I ordered:

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From left: Orange juice (S$6.50) and Manuka Honey 15+ (S$8.50)

The freshly-squeeze orange juice had a hint of sourness which was still bearable. I wanted to get Lemon Honey for myself because I was still recovering from a sore throat but to my dismay, they didn’t have it 😦 So I got the most expensive honey from the menu because the description boasted that it had “excellent antibacterial activity providing faster recovery rates than conventional honey”. However what I received totally disappointed me. Served in a rather small cup. the drink was ordinary, so diluted and bland (verified by my boyfriend who wasn’t sick at all, so his taste buds were fine) that I thought my $5 tub of honey purchased from Cold Storage tasted and worked better on my throat. It definitely wasn’t a worthy buy. I guess Raw Honey would be a better choice. Plus, it’s almost $4 cheaper.

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Kombu Shitake Soup (S$8.50)

Having drunk mushroom soup at almost every cafe we had been to, we didn’t expect the shitake soup to be clear. We thought the food was going to be another letdown again until we took a sip. Surprise! This “excellent source of iodine” is actually very flavourful and pleasant on the palate. Like every other soup dish, it’s best served piping hot.

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Rise-n-Shine Breakfast (S$10.80)

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Sunny-side ups with mashed potatoes and sautéed wild mushrooms. Served with fresh green, grilled tomato and your choice of toasted artisan bread (I didn’t get to choose though)

The all-day breakfast menu was only what appealed to us. We ordered Rise-n-Shine Breakfast because it was one of the very few items on the menu with egg! Or rather, sunny-side ups, PLURAL, in case the bold and italic aren’t obvious enough. Yay! Finally something that I would enjoy eating at a vegan cafe. I love eggs, even more so when they are runny! 🙂

On a side note, I don’t wish to sound pampered but I absolutely hate it when I’m served eggs with broken yolk. It’s tantamount to providing bad service (for not safeguarding my egg argh) and I won’t hesitate to blacklist whichever restaurant that does it to me 👿

But my food was safely delivered with both yolks intact! *throws confetti* Once the plate landed in front of me, I carefully dug my spoon into the side of each yolk and watched the yellow liquid ooze onto the metal surface (omg so erotic like 50 Shades of Grey, I like). I gleefully stuck the spoon into my mouth to taste the deliciousness of the yolk. Yummy!

However, the star of the dish wasn’t the eggs (obviously), but the mushrooms! Gosh, they were so savoury, I wished there were more! The dish on the whole was not bad. I don’t mind having it again on my next visit with my vegetarian friend.

I also took some pictures of my friends’ foods while waiting for mine! Here, for your viewing pleasure:

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Mushroom Noodles Dry (S$7.80)

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Mushroom Noodles Dry (S$7.80)

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Mushroom Noodles Dry (S$7.80)

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This should be Mushroom and Celery Tomato Penne (S$11.80) if my memory doesn’t fail me

And that’s about it!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Real Food (The Central)
6 Eu Tong Sen St
the central #B1-52/53
Singapore 059817
Website: http://realfoodgrocer.com/index.html
Email: enquiries@realfoodgrocer.com
Contact for Reservations: +65 62244492

REVIEW: MAC Red Red Red Lipsticks – Toxic Tale and 5 Alarm

Hello ladies!

Hope you’re soaking up the Chinese New Year atmosphere wherever you are! I’ve been eating too much goodies lately that I’m starting to feel under the weather. On the bright side, I’m glad to have fallen sick before CNY because I had gotten ill during the festive season once and the feeling sucked. With understanding colleagues who allowed me to take a day off from work during this hectic time of the year to recuperate from my fever, I’m sure I’ll be back up and running in no time! 🙂

I hate being sick. I don’t want to sit idle at home! So how about another lipstick review, hmm? 🙂

And speaking of the Chinese New Year, have you ladies chosen your perfect red lipstick to go with your outfit? If none of the lipsticks in my FAVOURITE list managed to entice you, hopefully one of the two I’m about to feature would! *fingers crossed*

I'm pretty sure this collection is targeted at those celebrating the Chinese New Year. Look, even the model in the promotional poster is Asian!

I’m pretty sure this collection is targeted at those celebrating the Chinese New Year. Look, even the model in the promotional poster is Asian!

And yes, I know the MAC Red Red Red collection was launched online like eons ago, and recently at Singapore MAC outlets. Please pardon my tardiness this time. If you’ve gotten your lipsticks, good for you! If you haven’t and are still undecided on what to get, read on! This post would only take 5 minutes (or less) of your time 😉

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Other lipstick shades not featured in this post are See Sheer (Grapefruit pink with Lustre finish) and Lady Bug (Yellow tomato with Lustre finish). This collection also includes a series of other eye and face products. Check out the full list here.

I only carted out Toxic Tale and 5 Alarm from this collection because the other two shades are already in the permanent range (i.e. they are available anytime). I also vaguely remember owning Lady Bug, just can’t really remember where I put it now. 😳

To be honest, all four shades look extremely gorgeous and wearable. They are versatile and not as striking as say, Ruby Woo or Lady Danger, and are suitable for all sorts of occasions. I’d highly recommend that you get all of them if you have the means. Otherwise, just pick any of the limited edition ones before they’re sold out!

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Lustre vs Satin

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5 Alarm and Toxic Tale

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Swatches! From left: Toxic Tale and 5 Alarm

Let’s begin with Toxic Tale!

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Toxic Tale is a bright coral with Satin finish

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Toxic Tale bottom label

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Toxic Tale swatch

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Toxic Tale before and after

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Toxic Tale is actually a re-promote from the Venomous Villains collection launched in 2010. Back then, it was only US$15.50 despite the more fanciful packaging with the Snow White’s Evil Queen face printed on it. Now, the price has gone up by 50 cents even though no significant changes was made to the packaging (except that the Queen’s face is no longer there). Argh, inflation.

But price aside, I’m elated that it’s back! I’m in love with this colour and it’s definitely one of the few corals that looks flattering on my skin tone. Other coral shades I wore appeared to be either too bright or too orangey on me. This one is just perfect! I’ve also worn this to work several times and I must say that I’m impressed by its longevity.

Moving on to 5 Alarm!

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5 Alarm is a soft orange red with Lustre finish

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5 Alarm bottom label

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5 Alarm swatch

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5 Alarm before and after (oops, sorry for the blurry image)

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Adding on to my favourite MLBB lipstick list is 5 Alarm, a nice semi-sheer lipstick with a luminous sheen. It is the only brand-new shade from this collection. I love it because it makes my lips look super hydrated (hides all the awful lip wrinkles) and healthy but like other MAC lipsticks with Lustre finish, it does not last very long on the lips, so be prepared for touch-ups every now and then. If you’re looking for something more subtle, this should do for you!

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Swatch comparisons!

These are what I got. What about you, ladies?

Share with me your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

Psst.. all four shades are (surprisingly) still available online! Go grab them now before it’s too late!

Thanks for reading! ❤

REVIEW: MAC Lipstick in Hautecore

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates once again. There was a delay in the shipment of my latest batch of lipsticks (purchased before Christmas last year) so this review comes a little late. But it’s better late than never, right? 😉

If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know how much I adore dark lipsticks. The darkest shade of lipstick I had was Film Noir, which I absolutely love by the way, and I thought that was the darkest MAC could go but boy, was I ignorant! To my surprise, MAC had previously launched a black lipstick back in 2013 on Black Friday that was bound to make dark and vampy lipstick lovers pulsate with excitement. Of course, I wasn’t aware of the release because I hadn’t gotten into the whole lipstick craze then. It was available exclusively online and for that one day only.

Last December, the folks at MAC decided to bring it back again (yay!). Likewise, it was only for a day (near-midnight of 16 December in Singapore) and still an online-exclusive product. Hautecore sold like pancakes and it was all gone within hours of release. Thankfully I got mine and I’m so eager to share my thoughts about it with all of you!

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Hautecore is a true matte black with a Matte finish

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Bottom label

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Swatch of Hautecore

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Before and after comparison

Hautecore is the ultimate black which goth wannabes would die for. If you’re into Halloween parties, you may also like this. But be warned.. you will definitely get weird stares from passersby with Hautecore on because black lips are just so rare. Go for it only if you’re comfortable with standing out from the crowd and being the centre of attention!

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Coincidentally dressed to match the lipstick!

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Line your lips with a similar shade lip liner to get plumper and fuller-looking lips!

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Put on a pair of shades and you’re ready to conquer the streets of Orchard!

It glides on well on my lips and despite having a Matte finish, it doesn’t feel dry at all. In fact it has a slight glossy feel which could possibly cause it to bleed (not sure about this as I haven’t tried wearing it for long hours). It doesn’t completely cover my natural lip colour so you can actually still see tinges of pink emanating from below the lipstick upon closer look, giving it a slight purple tint under sunlight. But I don’t think there is another shade that’s darker than this.

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Comparison with other dark shades I have in my stash!

Hautecore, however, is now sold out on MACCosmetics.com. If you’re interested, you may try searching for it on online marketplaces. But with such popularity, I’m sure this would be brought back again towards the end of the year. No promises, though!

Thanks for reading! ❤