Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wine BYOF and Nickeldime's Great New Idea

It was one of those rare but happy chance encounters when I discovered Nickeldime in Bukit Timah. 

I don’t even live around there, but out in solitary search of breakfast on Wednesday in the midst of a fish-sitting errand (don’t ask), I happened to potter past a shop unit at the Greenwood row that piqued my curiosity. 

Rows of empty wine bottles in the window, a couple of tables out by the passageway, an interior which looked neither like a bottle shop, nor restaurant, nor bar….

“Hi, do you drink wine?” said a young lady clad in shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops, who was setting up shop.

“Er, yes,” said I, trying to inch away. I know this routine…that’s the sales pitch to hook and reel in the unsuspecting and unprepared Auntie for a quick sale, isn’t it?!

“What sort?” she goes on.

“White mainly,” muttered I defensively. “Easier to drink that in our hot weather.”

And off she rattled enthusiastically about some of the wines she carried. A Chateau de Chantegrive 2005 Graves (S$47), among them.

“I have a bottle open. Come in and have a taste.”

Oh – how generous! I am sold!

Turns out that Nickeldime is a pretty unique concept – they call it a ‘Bottle Shop and Tasting Room’. 

Set up like a cosy, laid-back living room, it is refreshingly unpretentious - a quiet hideaway (in the daytime at least) where you can enjoy a bottle with friends. I felt it was a little too dark, but it does have a rustic charm.

Suzanne Ng turns out to be a director/partner in this exciting new set up. A former banker who took time off to see NYC (before the credit crunch, she stresses), she obviously came back with good ideas and defected from bank to bar. And so, Nickeldime opened in February this year.

Aside from wines – mainly Californian – they also focus on international whiskies, sake and infusion cocktails. For nibbles, order from their snack menu, or even bring in your own food (BYOF indeed)! What’s more, it carries the menus of the restaurants in the Greenwood row so you can order from them too and eat your food at Nickeldime. How clever is that?

What’s more – and this is good news for alky-heads – they are open from 11am until “late,” so you can head over there with your hawker-bought chai tau kueh and chwee kway and down that with a nice, cool white! Also note that Saturdays are free tastings days. Go check it out for yourself!

And the wine I tasted? Lovely, intense, aromatic white, crisp and refreshing, melons and fruit. It really was delightful. Yes, admittedly this Auntie bought a bottle. And being the last of its kind on the shelf, I love their sales policy – 10% off the price. A happy chance encounter indeed, in more ways than one.

Suckered? Perhaps…but with eyes wide open, thank you. I’ll be back.

by ew

24 Greenwood Avenue
Tel: (65) 6763 6990


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