Alcohol pairing dinners you don’t want to miss
Two casual wine bar and restaurants emphasise the enjoyment of vino among friends – in very different flavours.
SOMM AND CO-FOUNDER
Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar: 29-year-old Burgundy native Geoffrey Daurelle, most recently from Wine Universe.
The Wine & Gourmet Friends: Veteran sommelier and wine educator William Seah, who’s been on the scene since 2004.
WHAT TO DRINK
Around 40 percent of wines at Gaston are specially sourced Bourgignon from $10/glass, with a good mix of everyday and prestige bottles. Mainly French, and some Italian.
The Wine & Gourmet Friends offers wines from over 80 Old and New World producers, priced from $25 to $1,888, of which 80 percent are exclusive to them.
WHAT TO EAT
Gaston’s escargot de Burgundy ($15/6pc), one of the best renditions in town, is encased in pastry shell. Regional specialities like jambon persillé (parsley ham, $14), poached eggs in red wine and lardons ($13), and steamed trout with Aligoté wine sauce ($28) are worth returning for.
The small but punchy Asian menu at The Wine & Gourmet Friends includes foie gras lotus leaf rice ($18) and roast pork belly ($24), served with smoky kaffir lime leaf powder. Pair the latter with Snake + Herring Dirty Boots Cabernet Sauvignon, which is vibrant and fruity.
Gaston is decked out like a vineyard cottage in Burgundy, with touches like wood palet panelling, mini clos (vineyard stone wall) and gravel floor in the walk-in cellar. Comfy wicker chairs meet Peranakan tiled tables for a local touch.
As the name suggests The Wine & Gourmet Friends is great for gatherings. A no-frills wood-accented 56-seater space features wide tables and banquet seats opposite an open kitchen. A walk-in wine cellar showcases wine for retail and drinking, with a casual vibe for discovering wines.
Styled with a beret and waistcoat, Daurelle is the personification of the spirit of ‘gaston’ or host. Whether bandying his mother’s recipes or urging a Chartreuse digestif after a filling meal, he’s a fount of information about Burgundy.
Look out for daily specials at The Wine & Gourmet Friends, such as bottomless wine on Tuesdays. On Sundays when the kitchen closes, you can BYOF (bring your own food), with purchase of a bottle for every four guests.