Natural wine bar KUMI DEN at Duxton combines delicious wine-friendly modern Asian grub and a well-curated wine list exclusively of the minimal intervention kind.
Singapore needs another natural wine bar.
At least, that’s what the founders of KUMI Den believe. The new wine gastrobar is one of the latest interesting additions to the Duxton Hill dining and nightlife enclave, and is focused on minimal intervention wines. That’s right, if you love your small-batch, artisanal wines of the sustainable, natural, organic, and biodynamic kind, this may just be the new haunt for you.
Mind you, KUMI DEN isn’t simply jumping on the natural wine bandwagon (even if that trend has been raging around the world in recent time). KUMI DEN co-founder and in-house sommelier Joel Lim is convinced that the wine world is heading in that direction. The award winning sommelier – you may have come across him during his time at Praelum Wine Bistro, Les Amis, and Park90 – has put together a small but tightly-curated wine list natural wines, orange wines, and pét-nats. All of which, of course, are made using minimal intervention methods and without the use of chemicals or additives.
Here you’ll find esoteric examples such as the bubblies that are the Henri Giraud ‘Hommage au Pinot Noir’ Brut NV and Domaine Amelie & Charles Sparr ‘Celebration’ Cremant d’Alsace 2015, or even the Els Veinyerons ‘Pregadeu’ Cava Brut Nature 2020 from the Penedes, Spain producer.
Fans of orange and amber wines will be delighted to find the likes of the Kabaj Rebula 2017, a Slovenian natural wine take made using the Ribolla Gialla grape, or the Chubini Rkatsiteli 2021, an amber vinified from the indigenous Georgian grape (also one of the oldest wine grape varietals in the world).
Whites include the Loveblock Riesling 2020 by the Marlbourough, New Zealand producer, or the Domaine Saint-Cyr ‘La Galoche’ Beaujolais Blanc 2021, the latter a fun and unique Chardonnay from a region better known for its red Beaujolais Nouveau plonk. For reds? There’s the Chateau La Truffe 2018 – yes, Bordeaux does have natural wine producers – or the BK Wines ‘Skin-n-Bones’ Pinot Noir 2021 from the cult Adelaide Hills winemaker, among its varied options.
Then there’s food. KUMI DEN chef-owner Javier Low helms the kitchen here (sake lovers may know Chef Javier from modern Japanese omakase eatery IRU DEN – yes, KUMI DEN is his wine-focused offshoot concept). Expect to find wine-friendly bites in the form of contemporary Asian tapas, such as bite-sized Beef Tartare or Prawn Toasties. There’s also Ayam Balut. Thankfully for the squeamish this isn’t the Filipino delicacy of fertilised duck egg; instead it comes as a grilled chicken wing that’s been stuffed with otak-otak (spiced fish paste).
For sharing there are bigger plates. The Smoked Curry with Pão de Queijo was a clear favourite, the gravy absolutely moreish when you soak them with the Brazilian cheese puffs. Pricy but worth ordering is the Thai-inspired Kaeng Phed Beef Short Rib, the gloriously unctuous chunks served on a bed of Thai red curry and lashed with pesto.
Be sure to order the Kumi Spiced Bread, Baba Ganoush too, so you can mop everything up with the bread.
The truth is that, despite its raging popularity around the world, wine lovers in Singapore seeking minimal intervention wines are still firmly in the minority. But KUMI DEN, with its excellent knowledgable service, delicious wine-friendly modern Asian grub, and a fun natural wine list, may just be set to help change that.
Address 15 Duxton Road, Singapore 089481 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5.30pm to 12am Tuesdays to Saturdays; 1pm to 7pm on Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 8923 1734