We observed an increased in restaurants specialised in offering alcohol, like the whisky specialty, Quaich Bar and beer specialty, Alchemist Beer Lab and Harry’s at South Beach Avenue. And more beer restaurant, Paulaner Brauhaus and Brewerkz, just to name a few. And what about wine? Here is one which I was reluctant to share publicly as I wanted to keep it as a secret within close group of friends as I wish it remains a hidden gem. But after all, I just couldn’t keep it under wrap. It is Wine & Chef at Keong Saik Road.
Wine & Chef is the brainchild of SG Wine, an e-commerce retailer specialising in Italian wine. Likewise, at Wine & Chef, you will find only the finest Italian wine from boutique family-owned wineries with over 250 exclusive wines for both retail and dine-in. The selections are curated together with Fabio Magnani, a professional wine buyer, journalist, instructor and taster. Read on and I assured you that you will be wowed by especially the price.
The restaurant cum retail is relatively small as such if you planned to dine there, I would urge you to make a reservation before popping by to ensure a table. We were there on a raining Monday night and it was at its 90% capacity. By the wall, there are numerous power plug and they offer complimentary WiFi too. And at $6 per glass of housepour and $3 for Cappuccino/Latte/Flat White and $1.50 for Espresso/Americano, it too attractive to turn away from them.
Not only wine is the selling point, the food at Wine & Chef is equally amazing. Helmed by Executive Chef Wilson Ang who was previously at DB Bistro, Spruce and Fordham & Grand curated the Mod-Sin menu. The characteristic of his creations are slanted towards the rich and strong in flavour intended for wine pairing.
Tofu & Century Egg ($6++) steamed using organic Soya milk together with eggs and soya sauce, topped with shallot and century egg yolk sauce, sesame dressing, extra virgin sesame oil and crunchy cracker and corrainder. This dish is served cold. For best flavour, enjoy it with La Montina Franciacorta ($49+), a sparkling wine. This buttery, creamy and yet fruity wine has fine and delicate bubbles as the second fermentation is in the bottle. Franciacorta is regarded the queen of Italian sparkling wine beside the popular Prosecco selection.
Before moving to the Mains, Steamed Black Mussels ($18++) was our last small bites. The Chilean mussels were cooked in chicken broth, Chinese rice wine together with ginger and garlic. The sauce was a little sourish instead of having that classic aroma of the Chinese wine. I remember with someone ever told me that when too much Chinese wine was added, a sour flavour is resulted usually. Pairing it with the Tenuta Uccellina Rambela Bianca Ravenna IGT Famoso ($32+) for the best enjoyment of the dish. This white wine using a rare grapes known as Famoso has a floral flavour note with green apples and nectar hint. The flavour is absolutely unusual. It is a first for all the diners of the night.
First Main was Salmon Confit “Risotto” ($18++). In this recipe, Chef Wilson replaced the Arborio rice with Barley adding mascarpone cream and lemon juice for the zest. Topped with greens and Ikura and tobiko and Norwegian salmon. The result was a creamy and yet flavourful risotto. The recommended wine for this dish is a red wine instead of white, Cavalier Bartolomeo Altenasso Barolo DOCG ($59+). This medium body wine with dense flavours of berries note and honey finishes was fermented using grapes sourced in Piedmont.
Crab Meat “Hokkien Mee” ($26++) inspired from the black Hokkien Mee which his mother cooked as an offering for the deities. Using high grade dark soya sauce, lobster and prawn head broth fried with linguine pasta and lots of pork lard to elevate the flavours. It does resemble the Asian dish and in fact, I love this rendition more since it is lacking of the alkaline flavour present in the local yellow noodle.
Curry Pork Knuckle ($20++) is another amazing dish created by accident. As a staff spilled some curry over a Pork Knuckle. The team tried it and fall in love hence they came up with the curry recipe for this addictive dish, great for sharing. The curry sauce is akin to the nonya rempah. The dish is complemented with Achar instead of Sauerkraut.
Finally, pairing the above 2 dishes with Azienda Viviani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG ($69+) works extremely well on the palate. It is a full-bodied wine with complex flavour notes comprises berries, plums and honeydew.
Venere Rice Pudding ($8++) liken to our local Pulot Hitam also uses a black rice. Lightly sweetened with Gula melaka and flavoured up with Pistachio paste with vanilla ice cream and coconut crunch. Not only the look and feel is similar to our local dessert, even the taste was close. Having it with Brachetto, a sweet wine like Moscato. I anticipate that I will be getting this wine regularly not only for myself but friends too.
I prefer the White to Red as it usually smooth on the palate, unlike the red which is sharper. However, after experiencing the Italian Red Wine at Wine & Chef, I will return to the red.
Personally, I would highly recommend Wine & Chef to all and I see myself returing often especially since its location is within my hood and most importantly, food and wine are at excellent quality and yet wallet-friendly.
Wine & Chef
TEl: +65 6221 9279
Mondays – Saturdays 1000 to 2300 | Sundays 1000 to 1600
- Northeast Line, East West Line – Outram Park station
- Opp Blk 333 along Kreta Ayer Road 80, 145
- Before the Pinnacle @ Duxton along Neil Road 61, 166, 197
- At Pearl’s Center along Eu Tong Seng 54, 124, 143, 147, 166, 190, 851, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28
- Opp Pearl’s Center along New Bridge Road 2, 12, 33, 54, 63, 124, 143, 147, 190, 851, 961, 961C, 970, CT8, CT18, CT28
*Disclaimer: This was a media invite.