Located at Telok Ayer Street, Napoleon Food & Wine Bar is a literal treasure trove of bottles upon bottles of wine from pretty much every wine-producing region in France available for consumption on-site – some by single pour through Enomatic wine dispensers – or by retail.
Unlike many restaurants of Singapore with their undecipherable wine lists, Napoleon Food & Wine Bar approaches wine somewhat differently. Dine-in customers can access wine information via an iPad tablet device from their tables, with information on the wine style, winery details and even pairing suggestions; more importantly though, the French wine bistro showcases an entire set of Enomatic wine dispensing systems that offers wine by single pours so you can try as many as 32 different wines until you find your favourites, whether to pair with the European fare on-site or to take away.
The amazing thing about an Enomatic wine system is that it is fully capable of storing wine and serving it perfectly for up to 4 weeks as opposed to serving by manual pour which requires the bottle to be finished by the end of the day (and sometimes within hours!). This extends the lifespan of a bottle of wine for restaurant service, and is critical especially for more premium vintage – and hence pricier and more fragile – bottles.
But having a good dispensing system is not good enough. What sets Napoleon apart from many other wine-focused venues is that it offers a wide variety of wines from all major wine-producing regions of France. Aside from Bordeaux, Rhone and Burgundy varieties you’ll find the representations from Alsace, Provence and even a couple of more elusive Muscadets from the Pays Nantais region of Loire Valley. In fact many of the French wine houses represented here cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore; which is not a surprise, considering that the founder of Napoleon, Jean Christophe Cadoret hails from the the family that owns and runs Grand Cru Château Gravet-Renaissance in Saint- Émilion, Bordeaux, and obviously has the right connections to bring in a range of wines from award-winning boutique winemakers from around the country.
When we visited, wines available in single pour via the Enomatic wine dispensers included the Domaine Montmartel Côtes du Rhône and Les Larmes De César Condrieu Vieilles Vignes 2010 from the Rhone Valley region, a Château Bellegrave 2012 Pauillac from the Medoc on the famous ‘Left Bank’ and a Chateau du Valois 2012 Pomerol from across the Gironde over at the ‘Right Bank’, of Bordeaux. Then there was the Pierre Sparr 2013 Riesling from Alsace, as well as a Domaine Abbaye de Saint-Pierre Poilly-Fume 2013 – based on Sauvignon Blanc – from the upper Loire Valley. Pours start from $10 per glass.
“The idea here is simple, so guests can have a taste of the wine first before they decide if they want to buy,” says Jean Christophe Cadoret, owner of Napoleon Food & Wine Bar. “Buying wine should be like shopping for clothes – customers need to have the opportunity to try before committing to a purchase as every palate is different.”
“We want to give customers the opportunity to try Grand Crus wines by the glass. (We’re) located in the business district, customers may not be able to drink a full bottle during their lunch or dinner meetings, but this gives them an opportunity to taste a good wine without having to open a full bottle,” adds Cadoret. Wines at the Enomatic wine dispensers are classified simply such as ‘smooth’, ‘fruity’, ‘deep’ or ‘spicy’, while whites are labeled under ‘dry’, ‘rich’, ‘fruity’, or ‘sweet’. More in-depth information about the wines are available through iPad devices.
The kitchen at Napoleon Food & Wine Bar is helmed by Singaporean chef Andrew Seah, trained by the head chef of L’Angelus, who has designed a modern European menu focused around French fare with Italian influences made specifically to pair with wines on site. French classics rule here – both Homemade Foie Gras Terrine ($22++) and Hand-cut Angus Beef Tartare ($30++) are exceptional, and perfect for wine pairings.
Napoleon Food & Wine Bar is located at 206 Telok Ayer Street.