Progressive wine bar RVLT is known for its natural wines. The RVLT new menu may just help it establish a reputation as a gastronomic destination as well.
Ask any wine lover in Singapore where’s the best place to drink natural wine, and chances are they’d point you to RVLT. RVLT’s magic? A focus on small-batch, progressive wines. These wines – natural, biodynamic or otherwise organic – were mainly sourced from artisanal producers, mostly overlooked by other drinking establishments that preferred offering more classical wines from bigger, better-known name.
But award-winning RVLT may just yet add another feather to its cap with its brand-new food offerings.
Not that the natural wine bar wasn’t known for innovative eats, yet its grub was almost always outshone by the “raw wines” curated by co-founder-sommeliers Alvin Gho and Ian Lim. But Alvin and Ian has deigned this year to let Head Chef Sunny Leong – previously of Michelin-starred Corner House and celebrity chef Justin Quek’s Sky on 57 – design an entirely new gastronomic experience.
They think Chef Sunny delivered. So do we.
You’re looking at menu comprising edgy dishes so elevated you may just forget you’re seated in a grungy wine bar dripping with industrial chic. We were blown away, for example, by the wild novelty of the Wild Spanner Crab, Caviar, Dashi Crystal Bread. Here you’re looking at intensely fresh minced crab meat and caviar atop a translucent seaweed-based cracker that shatters and melts for an orgasmic mouthful. The Chicken McNuggets with Fermented Sriracha too, is a cheeky take on the fast food favourite. But minced chicken soft bone gives it great texture like those of good Japanese tsukune, while the house fermented hot sauce is a more refined garlic chilli sauce to make each bite ever more moreish.
Our favourite appetiser though has got to be the Air Dried Beef Tartare, whose ginger scallion dressing gives it a flavour reminiscent of chicken rice, or local yu sheng raw fish salad.
Chef Sunny isn’t afraid on taking on other Asian influences too. His Taro Dumpling, Black Truffe-Mushroom Duxelles is a mashup of Hakka suan pan zi (abacus seeds) and Italian ravioli for a bizarre East-meets-West combination that somehow works. Carnivores are likely to be impressed by Shio Koji Aged Futari Wagyu Striploin, featuring melt-in-the-mouth meat slices bursting with umami in each bite.
There’s something in the RVLT new menu for vegans too – for certain there are some amongst those who love natural wine – with the Braised Leeks, Potato-Veloute. Here a buah keluak coulis gives it an earthy, bitter bite that balances the natural sweetness of the leeks. Alternatively the Nori Crackers, Petit Pois – features fresh peas atop a crispy seaweed base – will appease.
Now we’d normally highlight an establishment’s drinks programme in a review as well, but the best part about RVLT is viewing its wall of wines. Failing which, owner-sommeliers Alvin and Ian are most happy to step in to give recommendations.
This month RVLT will celebrate its third anniversary. Over the past three years the progressive wine bar established itself as a pioneering voice to the natural wine movement in Singapore. For the next three the RVLT menu may just create a different reputation for its eye-opening, palate-expanding fare.
Address 38 Carpenter Street, Singapore 059917 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 4-10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays; 1-10.30pm on Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 6909 5709