Monday, December 24, 2007

Review: Prive

The new brainchild of Michael Lu (Superfamous, Cicada) and Yuan Oeij (Brown Sugar), Prive is accesible via Keppel Bay Drive, across a thin bridge, right before the Carribean apartments in the Keppel/Marina area of Singapore.

It's a very interesting location. The day I was there was a little grey, so it wasn't as pretty and there's too much construction and narrow waterways around it to ever really be pretty I imagine, but it is going to be part of the new face of our downtown riverfront bay area.

J. with her usual resourceful sophistication and generousity, had kindly arranged a dinner in the private room of the restaurant and I was eager to see this new place for myself. Prive, I decided, is in a rather ackward position, wedged at the bottom of the new Keppel Bay Drive building and with a promontory out toward the waterfront. To be sure, the day we were there did not show off the location in its best light but I was still a little puzzled by the layout of the space.

The dining room is quite compact, with about 12 tables and the private room, off to one side, even more so. The inside of the restaurant is fairly dark with heavy damask curtains and warm lighting. Given its location, it is very secluded and good for a quiet dinner.

There are not a whole lot of pictures of the food as I was distracted by taking photos of people and also, I was so ravenous by the time dinner was served, that I ate up all the food quickly, without pausing to take more photographs. The menu was a three course meal, a scallop carpaccio, a beef tenderloin or a fish dish and a choice of a grand marnier souffle or an apricot filo parcel for dessert.

I'm quite prejudiced against scallop carpaccio because I usually feel that scallops, at least, in Western style, are best pan fried. When sliced up for carpaccio, they are invierably very fishy tasting and immaterially slim and slippery to boot. These were also paired with a sprinkling of ikura and some fishier slices which tasted like bottarga. If I hadn't been so hungry, I would have nibbled and left the rest.

The bread was good though and the tenderloin was much better than the starter, although it was similarly a bit lacking in presentation, the slab of beef was served with exactly three fingerling potatoes and two little sticks of salad leaves. They forgot my neighbour's order completely, causing her to sit without food while the table started eating their mains.

The desserts were pretty normal, the apricot filo was slightly crumbly on the inside and it was pleasant, the souffle was quite thick and had not risen much, as you can see from the photo. It tasted alright though it lacked perhaps the light airiness and folds of my favourite souffles.

Prive brands itself as a New York style restaurant with a selection of roasts, steaks, seafood platters, risottos and pastas. I didn't try a variety of dishes, so perhaps the others are more spectacular, or the restaurant was still going through teething beginnings but I did find it quite pricey and I don't get how it's New Yorkish at all. There is also a bakery cafe which serves fresh pies and bread, sandwiches, soups, salads, waffles, milk shakes, cakes and desserts.

No 2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Singapore 098382
Telephone: (65) 6776-0777

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