Love wine? So do we. But for a country that doesn’t make any, we’re so awash with wine that we’re generally spoilt for choice when it comes to looking for where to drink wine in Singapore. Here are our suggestions this month.
Not every place that serves wine can meet your exact need, which is why we look at eight wine concepts – some of them recently opened – that will appeal to different occasions, whether you’re looking for a casual spot to meet up with friends, or a more intimate venue for a romantic date.
1. Grand Cru, Wine Concierge, for that high-powered meeting over wine.
Newly-opened Grand Cru, Wine Concierge is a wine retail and lobby bar located on the lobby floor of five-star The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. With over 500 wine labels on its sprawling wine list – many of them highly-rated by critics – it’s certainly a place to bring that wine-loving client who needs some special wine lubrication.
While Grand Cru, Wine Concierge looks like a bottle shop you can actually pick a bottle at retail prices and pay a small 10% stipend to enjoy it in the hotel’s indoor courtyard space. You can certainly celebrate landing a million dollar deal here with top-of-the-range labels such as the Bollinger Special Cuvée or Dom Perignon P2 2000, but if you’re of more humble leanings there’s the S$8.50 a glass of Triennes Les Aureliens during happy hour.
Grand Cru, Wine Concierge is also the only place you can find Chinese superstar Vicki Zhao Wei’s Château Monlot wines, so if you know someone’s a huge fan you may want to them here.
Grand Cru, Wine Concierge | 1 Fullerton Square, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore #01-07, Singapore 049178 | Open Mondays to Saturdays 11am to 8pm (retail), 6.30pm to 12am Mondays to Saturdays (wine service) | Tel: 6877 8911/8912.
2. Basque Kitchen by Aitor, for that special romantic occasion.
You can expect newly-minted one Michelin-star restaurant Basque Kitchen by Aitor to be packing it in now that Chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive has finally gotten recognition for his unconventional take on Spanish Basque cuisine, but what many may not know is that it’s also home to a wine bar upstairs. The upstairs space is certainly a lot quieter, and hence more suitable to bring a romantic date or to celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding anniversary or birthday.
Basque Kitchen by Aitor showcases a range of over 100 labels of wines from Basque country and the larger Iberian Peninsula, such as the Castelao- and Cabernet Sauvignon-based 2014 Quinta do Conde Galadoro Rose that’s a literal taste of Iberian sunshine, or the robust 2015 Marques de Riscal Reserva Rioja Alavesa. If you’re not too into wine, they also have a list of sherries, gins, patxaran digestifs and Basque ciders unique to the region as well. Just make sure you partake in some of Chef Aitor’s culinary creations as well; we particularly love his Jambone de Bayonne Croquetas; you’ll both be swooning over those little creamy bombs of flavour.
Basque Kitchen by Aitor | 97 Amoy St, Singapore 069917 | 12-2.30pm and 6 to 11pm Mondays to Fridays; 6-11.30pm on Saturdays; closed on Sundays | Tel: 6224 2232.
3. Summerlong, for that relaxing evening outdoors.
Summerlong along the Robertson Quay stretch is most known for its chillaxing outdoor vibes, Mediterranean-inspired eats and copious amounts of easy-drinking cocktails, but if you’re a wine lover head down on Wednesdays. The restaurant has just launched Wine Down Wednesdays, so you can look forward to house reds, whites and bubbles on free flow every Wednesday evening, plus an exclusive wine menu that’s on special offer as well as light bites to go along with your vino.
You’re looking at S$39++ for two hours or S$45++ for three hours – any time between 6 – 11pm – of Summerlong’s house pours of French wines and Italian wines, or opt for the 2018 Silvio Carta Vermentino from Sardinia (S$22 per glass or S$106 per bottle), 2014 Katogi Averoff Xinomavro (S$90 per bottle) from Naoussa in northern Greece or the 2018 Paolo d’Amico ($78 per bottle), a Sangiovese and Merlot blend from Umbria from the specially curated wine menu if you’re looking for something with more provenance.
We think a stop here is a great way to relax after an evening stroll along the Singapore River, don’t you?
Summerlong | 60 Robertson Quay #01-04, Singapore 238252 | 5.30pm to 12am Mondays to Fridays, 10.30am to 12am Saturdays and Sundays | Tel: 6235 1225.
4. Merci Marcel, when you’re looking for somewhere to rest your feet after shopping along Orchard Road.
One of our favourite French bistros Merci Marcel has just launched a new flagship outlet along Orchard Road – we’re a big fan of their outlet at Tiong Bahru as well as the other one along Club Street – and we think it’s their best-looking and most well-placed yet. Located on the ground floor of premium shopping mall Palais Renaissance with both an indoor space and outdoor courtyard area, Merci Marcel offers a range of wines that’s not only well-curated to reflect different French wine-growing regions but also with a focus on organically-produced wines. Even better the wines are affordable priced, especially considering the prime estate the restaurant is sitting on.
Merci Marcel is also a great place to grab a spot of lunch between shopping – the Ravioles de Royans its Tiong Bahru outlet is famous for is available here, but they also have a Ravioles de Royans x Palais version that incorporates foie gras into it.
Merci Marcel (Orchard Road) | Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road #01-03/04, Singapore 238871 | 8am to 11pm daily.
5. Culina at COMO Dempsey, if you want to combine grocery shopping and some me-time.
In our most humble opinion, the new flagship Culina at COMO Dempsey is probably one of the best places to pick up premium ingredients for your next house party; you’re looking at over 15,000 square feet of carefully curated and sourced specialty produce from all around the world in just one spot. We’re talking about top-grade meat such Westholme beef that’s normally only made available to restaurants, to seasonal sustainably sourced seafood from French purveyor Qwehli.
But more importantly for the intrepid wine-loving grocery shopper is that Culina is also home to a wine bar. So not only you can check in with their in-house sommelier on which wines are best to pair with the dishes you’re planning for your intimate home dinner, you’re also welcome to set down your shopping and relax over a glass of vino while you contemplate over your grocery list.
Culina at COMO Dempsey | Block 15 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249675 | 11am to 11pm daily | Tel: 6474 7338.
6. RVLT, for that geeky gathering of wine-loving friends.
RVLT trail-blazed into Singapore’s wine scene with its irreverent approach to wine drinking back in 2017, showing that there’s a viable alternative to the normally snooty side of wine if you can combine great food, a rocking vibe and an unusual wine list in equal measure. RVLT recently celebrated its second anniversary with a win at The Bar Awards for “Best Specialist Concept”, as main proponent of the natural wine movement here in Singapore.
For wine geeks interested in finding out about the latest trends in wine, RVLT offers all that and more. For example it recently introduced a new range of wines – each of which are making their appearance in Singapore for the first time – such as the Alessandro Viola Note di Bianco 2018 from Palermo in Sicily, a limited production made by the micro biodynamic winemaker using the Grillo grape, or the Commune of Buttons “Bird Share” Pinot Noir 2017, made by a producer located in Basket Range, a burgeoning community in the field of organic wine set in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Us, we’re totally enamoured by the oxidative notes in the Marco de Bartoli “Vecchio Samperi” Vino Perpetuo M.V., an unfortified wine from Marsala in Sicily.
If you love natural wine, you can’t find a better place in Singapore to geek out.
RVLT | 38 Carpenter St #01-01, Singapore 059917 | 5.30pm to 12am Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays | Tel: 6909 5709.
7. Bar Cicheti, to impress on that first date.
Possible our favourite place for wine and pasta in Singapore, Bar Cicheti’s youthful and convivial atmosphere provides a classy yet non-intimidating atmosphere for meeting that blind date for the first time. Sure, this date is not going to come cheap – but good times usually don’t – but between the superbly executed Italian grub from chef-owner Lim Yew Aun and the flamboyant wine menu by charming fellow owner and sommelier Ronald Kamiyama it will be worth every dollar spent if you’re hoping to impress your companion.
Some of these wines can be a bit cerebral, which is good if your date enjoys his or her wine so you have something to talk about. You’re talking about the likes of 2018 Alex Craighead Kindeli Otoño, a Gewürztraminer and Riesling field blend from the New Zealand producer, the Gamay-based 2016 Anne et Jean-Francois Ganevat Le Jaja du Ben from Jura, or the pet-nat that is the fresh, unfiltered 2018 Wildman Heavy Petting vinified from Nero d’Avola and Zibbibo that’s the baby of Tim Wildman MW.
And if things don’t work out in the end with the date, at least dinner was awesome.
Bar Cicheti | 10 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089264 | 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays; 6pm to 10pm on Mondays; closed Sundays | 6789 9801.
8. Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar, for that special girls’ night out.
Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar at Hotel G Singapore surprises on many levels as a hotel restaurant, but possibly the most impressive is its very affordable range of French wines here. You can’t really argue against a S$6++ for a glass of decent Merlot, but just topping up a few more dollars for your tipple opens up even more drinkable options among its comprehensive wine list of over 70 different labels.
Even better, drop in during Ladies Night on Tuesdays from 6pm to 11pm and get one bottle of French sparkling wine or house white wine for every group of four ladies, no questions asked. The food’s pretty authentically French, and they offer one of the best charcoal-grilled rotisserie chicken in town. We think Ginett is a great venue for catching up with girlfriends you’ve not seen in a while; just don’t be surprised if between you work through that first bottle very quickly.
Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar | 200 Middle Rd, Hotel G Singapore, Singapore 188980 | 7am to 11.30pm daily | Tel: 6809 7989.