52-53 Duxton Road
The Scene: Part bar, part restaurant, part wine cooperative and part wine cellar, this new concept in wining and dining straddles two shophouses in the burgeoning Duxton foodie scene. Call in during the weekly visits from winery owners and winemakers who host tastings in at the cellar door. If you’re keen to linger, pick up a bottle and pop next door for bar snacks or a meal. Run by the charming Ainslie Kelly and affable David Elliot, Merchants has a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, and you’d be forgiven for kicking your shoes off.
The Drinks: It’s all about quality Australian wine of different varieties and blends, personally sourced from small wines producers. On the night we visited, wine maker Andrew Stein, from Robert Stein Wines at Mudgee, NSW was on hand for a tasting session of his unusual Semillion-Reiesling, delicious strawberry-scented Roseé, Merlot and smooth Shiraz. There’s are over 40 labels on offer at very reasonable prices, and we suspect it’s the only place in Singapore to where you can buy sparkling shiraz.
The Fodder: The vigneron’s tasting platter (cheese and charcuterie, $38) is good for four people to share and includes New Zealand Kapiti artisanal cheeses, Parma ham and Sopressa salami. Not to be missed are the pork belly bites ($15) and the hearty lamb shank ($28). Merchants earns extra brownie points as there’s no GST or service charge.
Merchants is open for coffee and breakfast at 8am weekdays and later on weekends. They have a second outlet selling wine at Pasar Bellar @ The Grandstand, Turf Club Road.