We’ll be honest. Wine Rvlt is not the place where one would think they’d find a revelatory dining experience. If it’s your first time there, the endlessly flowing bottles of wine, red-hued interior, and general rambunctiousness of the place makes one think they would be getting food closer to chicken nuggets than thoughtful, almost-could-be-fine-dining plates. Expectations, however, are constantly being skirted here.
Three years in on its home at Carpenter Street, the natural wine rabblerouser is going on stronger than ever. The factors that drew people (including packing in the house with some of the world’s best chefs for a World’s 50 Best Restaurants afterparty) there – good vibes, natty wine, and progressive but unfussy food – remain. There’s some new food though – with head chef Sunny Leong presenting some of his most refined, and Asian-leaning dishes yet.
Their beef tartare, once served with smoked egg yolk and studded with sourdough croutons, has been given a complete makeover with a ginger-scallion chimichurri, rice wine dressing, and beef that’s air-dried to concentrate flavours and give it a pleasant chew. The result is the delicious lovechild of zichar-style ginger-scallion beef and Teochew-style raw fish salad – topped with more smoked yolk and brown rice crackers.
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There’s also wagyu, aged in shio koji to give it an almost-fruity, funky edge (great with RVLT’s oeuvre of wines). This comes with an intriguing pickled eggplant, kale salad, and mustard to round it all off.
For those of a vegan or vegetarian persuasion – there are more plant-based options than ever, including a snack of nori crackers topped with avocado puree, sherry gel, and sweet pops of petit pois; and a leek creation where what is usually the supporting act becomes the main star: leeks, braised until meltingly tender and embellished with buah keluak coulis, spinach veloute, and pine nuts – all topped with exactingly small cubes of crispy potato.
If you’re looking to impress a date –or even just yourself – with some culinary theatrics, get the crystal bread: a crunchy, translucent cuboid of dehydrated dashi and starches topped with spanner crab, green apple, and avruga caviar.
After all that, and still thinking about those chicken nuggets that popped into your head when you first stepped in? Rvlt’s got those too. Chicken meat and softbone – no mystery meat here –are pulverised, shaped, battered, and dusted with a spice mix to re-create the de-facto drunk food. This gets served with a sweet-ish house-fermented sriracha sauce that’s equal parts garlicky and fiery. Available in 6, 9, or 20 pieces. You can try asking for curry sauce, but don’t say you read about it here.
There are also a few new wines on the list – ask for the Encarinyades 2019, a white carignan-dominant, amphora-aged vino from Catalunian winery Cosmic Vinyaters that starts off a tad reductive, but explodes into juicy red fruits and a compelling minerality.