Drink to that

Review: Taste Wine That’s Been Aged In The Sea At Club Street Wine Room

Chef Andrew Walsh’s new wine bar surprises with its range of niche drops and elevated bar bites.

Review: Taste Wine That’s Been Aged In The Sea At Club Street Wine Room
Club Street Wine Room's sky-lit interior.

The new Club Street Wine Room couldn’t have opened at a better time. It dovetails neatly with the September announcement that chef-owner Andrew Walsh has snagged his first Michelin star for his restaurant, Cure, which reimagines Irish classics with a modern European sensibility.

Walsh’s other restaurants, such as Asian-inspired grill Butcher Boy and modern seafood restaurant Catfish, are mere steps away, while his new Ember Beach Club in One&Only Desaru Coast means his culinary footprint now extends to Malaysia.

“It’s been such a morale boost, after everything,” says Walsh of his Michelin award, summing up the past year which has seen restaurants ping-ponging between open and closed, and grappling with ever-changing social-distancing regulations.

Warm-toned woods and leather seats set the mood at the pared down wine bar.

That may explain why the new Club Street Wine Room’s vibe is so chill. Sure, the space is very Club Street-chic, with its smart leather seating, industrial touches and warm-toned woods that morph from bright to cosily dark with every change in the weather that can be viewed through the large skylight. But the savvy addition of power points at each table underscores Walsh’s mission to create a welcoming environment where guests can have a glass — and get some work done.

Drink To This

Sea Soul No.4, a syrah that was submerged in a steel cage off Spain’s north coast to age for 15 months.

The best seat in the house is definitely at the bar where you can pore over the diverse, idiosyncratic wine collection.

“We wanted something progressive, quirky at times and always evolving,” says head sommelier and operations director Amir Solay, who curated an intriguing off-the-beaten-path selection of wines to pique the curiosity of novice and veteran alike.

“We have your bordeaux, your burgundies, but I try to bring in a few satellite regions,” says Solay, who sources his wines — each of which has a tale behind it — from niche producers all over the world.

There’s a bottle from Les Vignerons Parisiens, Paris’ first urban winery. Next to it stands a sunny-hued bottle from Tarongino, an orange wine that isn’t the trendy skin-contact white wine but is in fact wine made from Valencia oranges.

Wine aged in clay vessels.

Or try amphora-aged wines like Chateau Kefraya Collection Amphora 2018. The practice of ageing wine in clay vessels dates back 6,000 years and is experiencing a renaissance, which Club Street Wine Room pays tribute to by decanting them into customised mini amphorae.

But the most out-of-left-field bottles are the ones that look like they were fished out of a shipwreck. Sea Soul No.4, a syrah, was made and bottled above ground, before being submerged in a steel cage off Spain’s north coast to age for 15 months — decide for yourself whether it beats its landlubber counterparts.

Delightful Bites

Plates at Club Street Wine Room are prepared with a gourmet edge.

While wine is the star, the food turned out by Butcher Boy alum Ho Jun Yip is confidently executed, offering some surprises of its own.

The unexpectedly gourmet addition of guinea fowl confit makes good use of the kitchen’s woodfire grill and is very satisfying to eat, simultaneously juicy, caramelised and charred on embers, with the leg made into an accompanying pithivier (round, domed pie).

These are some pretty elevated bar bites — a Hasselback potato (inspired by an iteration at Catfish) is crisp and creamy, served with a slurry of butter, truffle and roasted black garlic. Two petite triangles of prawn toastie are served, topped with beef tartare and an egg yolk-ponzu dip. The fries cooked in beef fat are simple in concept but belie the work behind them, each neat cuboid comprising lots of crisp, wafer-thin layers. Many of these bites come in convenient single-serve portions.

The cheese platter.

“People come in to hang out and drink wine and they’re like, wow the food’s really good, let’s just have dinner here,” says Walsh.

The Sunday Brunch Affair, meanwhile, plays up the theme of relaxed, wine-fuelled conviviality, says Walsh. The menu — starring British comfort fare like Toad-in-the-Hole and Roast Sirloin — is paired with free-flow Pétillant naturel, or natural sparkling wines.

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