MY VALENTINE’S IS…  

STINGY  

If he declares, “We’re not spending more than $50!”– then you should drag him outdoors. And make him carry the lovingly prepared basket from Food For thought at the Botanic Gardens. Customise your own or order the Picnic For Two ($50) package which includes a choice of two burgers (such crispy fish fingers) along with chicken wings, potato salad, mudcake and drinks, along with picnic mat, cutlery and trash bag. The catch? Return the basket before 6pm to get your $50 deposit back. www.foodforthought.com.sg  
Alternatively, if you’re heading to Marina Promenade, book a picnic basket in advance from Four Seasons gourmet Market ($15/day with $20 deposit), and fill it with ready-to-eat gourmet picks such as salads, cheese and deli items. #B2-49 Marina Bay Link Mall, 8a Marina Boulevard. Tel: 6634 4629  

ALLERGIC TO POLLEN  

Rainbowly’s chocolate-dipped fresh fruit bouquets are a brilliant alternative to (inedible) flowers. Sure, she won’t be able to carry and flaunt the ’blooms’ around, but these gourmet treats–made from imported French, Australian and U.S. fruit and European chocolate–are so healthy and luscious you won’t be able to stop picking at them. Upgrade to Godiva chocolate if you’re up for a splurge. From $49.90, rainbowly.com  

A TERRIBLE COOK  

She’s bad, you’re worse–time to sharpen those kitchen skills to cook up a delicious weekend! Besides the usual bakes and chocolate tutorials, kitchen wonderland tott is offering classes such as Breakfast in Bed ($118/person) which will guide you on making artisan bread with cashew butter, scrambled eggs with mushroom, and tiramisu–to truly impress the day after. 7-14 Feb, www.tottstore.com
Pat yourself–and your rolled rice–when you attend tokyo Sushi Academy’s sushi cake-making class ($220 per pair, with free bottle of wine) on 14 Feb, 4.30-6.30pm. You’ll be walking away with the skills to create works of (he)art with raw fish for future parties and occasions. #B217 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road. Tel: 64447828

DO YOU HAVE SLIMY FOOD PHOBIA?  

Definition: Picky eaters can have an aversion to texture– making it difficult to face “rubbery” raw seafood such as sashimi and oysters, “slimy” vegetables such as eggplant, ladies’ fingers and fermented soybeans, while even “spongy” mushrooms and tomatoes are not spared.

 

YES, FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS  

Slimy foods lurk everywhere–unfortunately, there isn’t a foolproof menu that won’t include the items you can’t stomach. Your best bet? Private chef services, where you can specify all the ingredients to exclude.

www.anappleaday.com.sg  
Most personal chefs charge an arm and leg–but what if this chef does the shopping, comes to your house, and prepares up to a week’s worth of dishes (packaged, labelled and ready to heat up)? A four-to-six hour session will provide about 20 individual meal servings, which you can enjoy in any combination and plate as you please. Wellness is the site’s focus, so expect healthy but delicious dishes like orange-glazed salmon and raspberry compote.

www.personalchefsingapore.com  
Whilst chef John Sawarto and his team cater to large events as well, they also provide the option for romantic dining for two–you just have to provide the kitchen and location. As each event is individual, you’ll have to check with them for a menu price quote, which will include chef on site, ingredients, food preparing and cooking–if your kitchen is not up to scratch, they’ll work out something.

I JUST WANT A HUGE VARIETY OF FOOD  

Check out Top 10 Romantic Buffets, p19.

NO, SO GIVE ME MY OYSTERS  

Top 3 for oyster and ambience.

Oyster Bar & Wine Dining Wharf  
Old-world romance is in the air at CHIJMES’ historic courtyard. Wines and mojito wash well with the fresh oyster platters, starting at $36 for half dozen for French, Canadian, New Zealand and U.S. imports. A variety of grilled flavours ($28 for four) include garlic butter and mozzarella and tomato sauce options, while oyster chowder   ($14-24) in two styles–milky Boston and clear Manhattan–ramp up the gourmet offerings. #0119 CHIJMES, 30 v ictoria Street. Tel: 6332 6789

Prive Waterfront Bar  
Escape to your private island– almost!–for easy, breezy coastal dining amongst the fancy yachts. The menu has been revamped to feature signature shells such as Fanny Bay (New Zealand) and vendee-Atlantic (France), along with seasonal specials such as Perle Noire from Brittany, served with tangy champagne mignonette dressing, priced at $36 per half dozen. Marina at Keppel Bay, 2 Keppel Bay v ista. Tel: 6776 0777   

Southbridge  
Oysters, prosecco and cocktails are a match made in heaven at this buzzy openair rooftop bar overlooking the downtown waterfront. Slurp up cold bivalves by the half dozen, in styles such as Tropical–New Zealand oysters topped with Thai-inspired sauce, or Umami, dressed in punchy dashi and ponzu ($24/half dozen). Level 5, 80 Boat Quay. Tel: 6536 5818

ARE YOU ON: A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?  

Definition: All diets are restrictive but going glutenfree may be the most frustrating. Gluten, a protein, is found in all grains including wheat, barley, rye, semolina and couscous. Many sauces and marinades, including soy and teriyaki, also contain gluten. The diet is medically necessary for people with celiac disease, but others have jumped on the bandwagon believing that it will help them lose weight and be healthier (a la Victoria Beckham and Miley Cyrus).

 

YES BECAUSE I HAVE CELIAC DISEASE  

3 worry-free places to dine in.

Osteria Mozza  
Never fear, you can still enjoy Italian cuisine! 98 percent of their pastas can be replaced with handmade, gluten-free substitutes. #B1-42/46 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands,10 Bayfront Avenue. Tel: 6688 8522

Crust Pizza  
The Australian pizza ninjas take their work seriously, and were one of the first to introduce a gluten-free base. Impress your date with the gourmet Upper Crusts such as wagyu and prawn ($38) and white prosciutto ($29) pizzas–while not all sauces are gluten-free, the ones with pesto, BBQ and béchamel sauces are fine. 34B Lorong Mambong. Tel: 6467 2224

Real Food Killiney  
We’ve snuck in our favourite “real food” vegetarian bistro because not only do they have gluten-free options, they are also meticulous about catering to a wide range of food sensitivities, be it all-vegan or no garlic, onions and soy. This may not be the most romantic valentine’s Day venue, but you’ll go gaga for body-healthy cuisine such as probiotic miso soup ($7), baked organic brown rice ($13.80), beet millet burger ($12.80) and pure juices (from $6), served in an eco-hip space in town. Tai Wah Building, 110 Killiney Road. Tel: 6737 9516  

NO, I’M NOT ON ANY DIET  

Congratulations! Eat anything you like–but first, find out what Dr Love prescribes on p24.

ACTUALLY, I’M MORE ABOUT CARB-FREE  

Our fave and most memorable v’day picks.

Rocks Urban Grill + Bar  
Suave and sophisticated, this European venue won’t burn a hole in your wallet–plus, the main courses are meaty and worth every penny: Atlantic cod with sundried tomato crust, lamb shank with rosemary and garlic, or 150-day grain-fed sirloin. The valentine’s Day dinner set menu ($140 per couple) includes a choice of starter, organic vegetables and red wine sauce to share, and ends with warm chocolate fondant. #02-01/02 The Sail, 2 Marina Boulevard. Tel: 6438 4404

Skyve Bistro  
Get set to dine on the 4-course set dinner ($228 per couple) that comprises a choice of main: seared duck d’margaret, zataar crusted snapper or char-grilled Angus ribeye, all in generous portions for skinny eaters. The language of love, in this case, includes a glass of complimentary bubbly as well as Lush Spa 30-minute treatments worth $110 for every couple.   #01-17 Block E, 10 Winstedt Road. Tel: 6225 6690

Kinki  
How much cheekier can you get than bringing your date to Kinki? The 4-course valentine’s Day Set Dinner ($128 per person) sets the mood with top-shelf sushi moriawase and main course choice of whole slipper lobster or chicken roulade. Don’t go dry with a complimentary glass of wine. #02-02 Customs house, 70 Collyer Quay. Tel: 6533 3471