Table Talk: Singapore restaurant brings Swiss wines to Asia

Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:30am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - The menu is modern French, the chef was poached from a Michelin-starred restaurant in London and the alfresco location in Singapore's central business district is to die for.

But what sets Oenotheque apart from the legions of bistros and restaurants serving European fare in the Asian city state is its vast array of affordable, crisp wines from Switzerland.

Yes, Switzerland.

Few would identify Switzerland as a country that makes luscious wines, and even less in Asia, where wine appreciation is a relatively new art.

But veteran restauranteur and chef Magdalene Tang, who partnered with Swiss vinter Dominique Giroud, owner of renowned wine retailer Wine Universe, believes it's only a matter of time before people realize just how good -- and affordable -- Swiss vintages are.

"When I tasted Swiss wines, I was amazed by how good they were, and how cheap," Tan told Reuters a week after opening Oenotheque.

"They also suit the Asian palate, because they're fruity and light, which in our weather, and with our spicy food, is perfect. They're the perfect alternative to a spritzer."

Oenotheque stocks some 100 varieties of high quality Swiss wines, which start at about S$37 ($25) a bottle, in addition to a collection of whites, reds and champagnes from various traditional Old and New World venues.   Continued...

<p>A jury member sniffs a glass of rose wine during the 6th International rose wine competition in Cannes in this April 25, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier/Files</p>