After opening CURE, Butcher Boy (“BB”) and Catfish, Chef Andrew Walsh, also founder and CEO of Cure Concepts, shifts his attention to wines with the debut of Club Street Wine Room (“CSWR”) on 87 Club Street.
Tastefully but minimally furnished with concrete flooring set against a wood-decked long bar flanked by communal tables on the side, CSWB may look the part of an ubiquitous wine bar, an elegant one at that, but its 160 label-strong wine list boasts some progressive finds.
Curated by Head Sommelier and Operations Director, Amir Solay, the wine programme is best described as stylistic, with an unconventional selection that runs the gamut of sea-aged wines like Sea Soul No.4, amphora (clay-aged) wines such as Chateau Kefraya Collection Amphora 2018, alcohol-free beverages like the range from Jukes Cordialities, as well as the world’s first soy-based wine by Sachi. Of course, conventional wines dominate the list, with minimum intervention ones coming in at about 20%.
While the wine list is impressive for its unorthodox collection, the All Day A La Carte food menu by Head Chef Ho Jun Yip,formerly of BB, is no pushover. Yip trained in Cure before he presided over BB’s kitchen and at CSWR, his unfussed cooking chops come to the fore in a menu of bar bites and sharing plates.
Hasselback Potatoes ($7 a piece) are scored, boiled, crispened by deep-frying and served as they are, scrumptiously crunchy, with a side of black garlic sour cream dip crowned with Parmesan floss, a delightful confluence of umami notes with crispy bite.
It’s not everyday that you come across Chickpea Panisse (chickpea flour fries). Ho makes a refreshing lime-green salsa verde with herbs and serves two bricks of warm Chickpea Panisse ($14 for two pieces) on it, each topped with whipped burrata and black truffle floss. Rib-sticking!
Andy’s Fried Chicken or AFC ($6 per piece) is a perfectly crispy piece of fried chicken although it does not particularly stand out flavour-wise. The drumstick is marinated in cayenne pepper and garlic powder, then coated in flour and deep fried to yield a golden hue and crispy bite. The interesting thing is, you may add $35 for 15g of Royal Baeri caviar to be served atop the chicken. If it makes you happy, why not? But doing so would be akin to walking a tightrope, a precariously messy balancing situation that I wouldn’t recommend.
A cut above the rest, Ho’s Grilled Welsh Rarebit Bread ($22) is a standout. No, there is no rabbit in it. In fact a British dish of hot cheese-based sauce served over bread and toasted, the rarebit here is served like a cheddar-drenched pizza with beautifully blistered spots but without a rim, toppings or crust. Miss it at your own peril.
If you’re in a big group, it makes sense to order the Woodfired Whole Guinea Fowl & Pithivier Pie ($64), which comes with a side of salad, a pithivier made with confit of bird’s leg and a platter of the guinea fowl. To prep, Yip first marinates the bird in juniper berries, Kampot pepper and dark soy sauce, then confits it in duck fat before slow-cooking it over wood fire.
For the induction to unique wines and well-executed bar food, CSWR is truly a welcomed addition to the now-quiet Club Street. If you come for Sunday Brunch, you could even opt for free-flow Prét-Nat ($78+), a delicately sweet natural sparkling wine made with an ancient fermentation technique.
Compelling proposition indeed.
© Evelyn Chen 2020
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.