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Is the excitingly subversive Fool the future of wine bars in Singapore?

Two years on, Fool wine bar continues to break the rules of how wine should be consumed.

Cabernet sauvignon mignonette brings freshness and zip to raw oysters, despite a Master of Wine once declaring that the two should never be paired. A Corsican rosé tasted like salted watermelon, zesty enough to cut through buttery prawn fettuccine. Skin-contact German riesling opens with dried apricot and almond, then morphs into juicy orange when drunk alongside cured kingfish with yuzukosho.

Opened in 2021 on Boon Tat Street, Fool is a wine bar seen through the irreverent eyes of chef-owner Rishi Naleendra, who also runs the two-Michelin-starred Cloudstreet. Since its inception, the venue has picked up a Bib Gourmand for two years in a row.

fool wine bar
A selection of sharing plates. (Image credit: Fool Wine Bar)

Instead of a wine list, you get a magazine. And rather than regions, you have Jay-Z references and dry-witted jokes about Germans. But there is order among chaos. According to head sommelier Davis Tan, the 300-strong wine menu is split into diverse themes from affordable Bordeaux to wines made in volcanic areas, while making inscrutable Croatian grape varieties accessible to drinkers. “We want to push people out of their comfort zone and try new stuff, but also make sure there is a wine for everyone,” he said.

If Fool’s concept all looks like Greek to you – there are wines for that too – let Tan do the literal heavy lifting, which involves hauling a metal crate packed with bubbly wine. Of course there is champagne like Laculle Frères’ Le Petit Rouge – made in homage to his Singaporean wife – but also a sparkling riesling not unlike crunchy apricot.

Fool wine bar menu
The Rhubarb and Sicilian Pistachio Parfait. (Image credit: Fool Wine Bar)

Tan also excels in pairing them with food, which can be ordered individually or as a tasting menu. A summery French pinot noir emphasised the sweet date and Madeira port glaze on a chicken liver eclair. A malbec from Washington State carried blueberry and a touch of spice in its inky body, matched by a deeply meaty Westholme Wagyu hanging tender with fermented soy dip.

For dessert, a parfait of Sicilian pistachio and tangy goat cheese had candied rhubarb laid on top like a chequerboard. However, there was no accompanying wine. Instead, it was a wine-based Australian vermouth, floral, earthy, and flavoured with rhubarb. “It was a total coincidence (that we have a rhubarb dessert and vermouth at the same time),” Tan said, “but it works!”

21 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069620

(Hero and featured images credit: Fool)

Is the excitingly subversive Fool the future of wine bars in Singapore?

Jethro enjoys wine, biking, and climbing, and he's terrible at all three. In between them, he drinks commercial lagers, and eats dumplings and ice cream.

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