Review: Praelum Wine Bistro Changed The Way I think About Wines

Review: Praelum Wine Bistro Changed The Way I think About Wines

An essential visit for wine lovers at Singapore's Duxton Hill

I like wine, as most people do. I can tell a Chardonnay from a Sauvignon Blanc on a good day, but do not peg me for anything more than a merry imbiber looking for a good night out - until I went to Praelum Wine Bistro (regulars just call it Praelum).

Praelum Wine Bistro, interior. Photo: Jessica Chan

To understand why, do one thing: drop the wine menu and ask for a recommendation from, well, anyone. Most of the staff are experienced sommeliers led by head honcho and two-time National Sommelier Champion Gerald Lu, who surprisingly finds time to fulfil his duties as the Vice President of Singapore’s Sommelier Association.

But don’t mistake Praelum for a stuffy spot, full of confounding wine terms being thrown around willy-nilly. Gerald and his trusty team won’t be speechifying every pour. Instead, they’d give you just enough information that’ll excite your palates and make you thin, in the comforts of a laid-back monochromatic bistro. For those wanting to take a chance, there’s the Learn-a-Drink option where the team doles out unique pours – reds, whites, rosés, sparkling and even baijiu. 

Grilled Chipotle Chicken. Photo: Jessica Chan

While the team is always ready to delve deeper into a special bottle or the upcoming wine revolution from China – Ningxia, for example – you’d most likely be itching for some hearty grub after all the wine. Looks like they thought the same, offering a scrumptious Modern European menu to complement an estimate of 350 labels (and more).

Roasted Pork Parcels. Photo: Jessica Chan

Order the Whole Baked Brie ($26) surrounded by roasted garlic and a tangy cranberry reduction, or the Buttermilk Calamari ($18) of well-done flesh acting as a counterpoint to the showering of five spice and a sesame mayonnaise on nights where you’re looking to share a bottle or two with friends.

Foie Gras. Photo: Jessica Chan

Deliciously comforting are the mains. The Braised Beef Cheeks ($36) complete with root vegetables and forest mushrooms is bursting with flavour, as was the Salmon-en-croute ($35) accentuated by dill-tarragon butter. I’ve hardly ever saved enough space for desserts, but their selection of 3 Farmhouse Cheese ($29) makes for an ideal sharing platter to spend a couple more hours nursing the many wines available – something you’d no doubt be doing many times after your first visit here.

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