Prive Grill

Prive Grill wouldn't be my first draft for a working lunch. In fact, it wouldn't even be in the top 20. But the restaurant is scenic, the ambience relaxed, and more importantly, their weekday set lunches are incredibly economical, at $28 for two courses and $32 for three courses.

And obviously, at such low prices, be sure to temper your expectations accordingly. Like, I wouldn't expect Ruth Chris-standard steaks for a sub-30 lunch set.

That being said, we were apparently one of the last few diners at the now-defunct Prive Grill, which was due to be overhauled into a new seafood concept, still under the Prive Group. The new restaurant opens next month.

The peppery notes of the arugula cut through the gamey aftertaste of the Smoked Duck Breast Salad, and the livery foie gras that was more paste than mousse. Pine nuts and croutons lent crunch.

The Tuna Nicoise Salad was a better option, with tuna being a failsafe protein. This was loaded with baby potatoes, hard boiled eggs, kalamata olives, fine beans, mesclun and salty with minced anchovies.

The French Onion Soup, topped with a golden gruyere gratin, was saccharine with a too-heavy beef stock. So much so the crisp of fresh thyme and lashings of black pepper couldn't detract from the intense sweetness.

The Squid Ink Calamari, accompanied by a duo of sauces: spiced romesco and creamy saffron rouille, and sided by lemon and arugula, was pretty good. The calamari was perfectly cooked; springy yet soft to the bite, and the moreish accents of the batter crust was well balanced by the sauces. Resoundingly the best appetizer option.

The Steak Frites, a grilled Australian ribeye, was overdone and a smidge salty, so it barely passed muster. A friend said it was like Astons Specialties (which can be a good or bad thing depending on the perspective). Thick straight-cut fries and a thin red wine sauce rounded off the dish.

The Duck Leg Confit (+$4) turned out surprisingly stew-like, slathered in a preserved orange-flavoured gravy dotted with braised savoy cabbage and duck fat potatoes. I suppose that was the silver lining, the rich gravy helped mask any gaminess and less-than-moist texture of the duck.

The best main was the Pan-Roasted Barramundi, possessing the requisite juxtaposition of crisp skin and moist flesh. I particular loved the parmesan-crusted courgette sticks, and purple tapenade. Not a big fan of the celeriac puree though; its sharpness was too jarring.

Strictly for cream lovers, the Spaghetti Alfredo was cloying with smoked salmon and too. much. cream. Oodles of green peas, fresh dill, fried capers, and spicy pepperoncini couldn't lift it out of the doldrums.

The Hazelnut Chocolate Parfait was a pretty plate of chocolate crunch meringue, ganache quenelle and chocolate streusel contrasted with a zesty lemon sorbet.

The Lemon Gianduja Tart, a melange of lemon curd, coconut frangipane, sweet dough crust, calamansi sauce and salted coconut ice was refreshingly tart.

The complimentary bread basket was an assortment of rolls. It was lovely that the bread was served warm, and the butter softened.

Prive Grill
No. 2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Tel: 6776 0777
Open Mondays to Fridays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch and from 7pm to 11.30pm for dinner
Saturdays and Sundays from 6.30pm to 11.30pm for dinner

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