Produced for popupwine.com.sg in September 2016.
Singapore is an expensive city. The 4th most expensive on our planet according to CNBC and Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Rankings.
And in this already expensive city state, the twin evils of Shipping Charges and the “Sin Tax” make wine, that luxury which few of us can persistently do without, expensive. The more reasonably priced retailers such as Pop Up Wine, Singapore – who import wine direct from winemakers around the world – help keep the costs down at home, but what should we do in restaurants where we are frequently asked to pay beefy markups of 300% or more?
The answer is BYO: “bring-your-own”.
Several restaurants, including those in the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, have proclaimed a complete ban on BYO, but many restaurants permit it – normally charging a “corkage” fee of $30 to $60 per bottle. Some restaurants have a “buy one, bring one” policy. A handful of restaurants offer invaluable corkage-free days.
Singaporean wine writer Justin Teoh has produced a superb – and very comprehensive – list of restaurants permitting BYO, which he keeps up-to-date. I thoroughly recommend anyone considering BYO to use this list as a resource.
After much agonising at Pop Up HQ, and several years of wallet-busting fine dining, we have compiled the following top 10 of BYO restaurants in Singapore:
With several Australians on our books, it’s perhaps unsurprising that this Modern Australian Barbeque restaurant was popular. Corkage is $50 per bottle.
With two Michelin stars and a menu full of exquisite trickery, this restaurant is sometimes classified as Singapore’s best. The food and service are both stunning, but we found the wine list a little disappointing at the time of our visit: it sadly included no dessert wines. Perfect with BYO. Corkage is $60 per bottle.
If you love Lamb, this inexpensive modern Moorish restaurant is a must visit. Corkage is $30 per bottle – we hugely recommend taking a bottle of fun Pinot Noir to accompany that lamb.
The Swisshotel’s 70th floor restaurant is as famous for its panoramic views as it is its excellent French cuisine. They require a ransom of $100 per bottle, for corkage.
Michelin star chef Joël Robuchon’s restaurant on Sentosa has a daunting wine list of more than 1,000 wines. Corkage is an equally daunting $120 per bottle!
One of the best Italian restaurants on the island, this recently relocated restaurant has corkage-free Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On other days corkage is $30 per bottle.
This Dempsey favourite has corkage-free Tuesdays, but charges $35 or more for corkage otherwise. We were delighted to find a Beetroot-based salad on the menu, when we visited.
Superb steaks, and a superb – mostly Italian – wine list. Busy each and every time we have visited. Corkage is $50 per bottle.
Iggy’s at the Hilton Hotel has been named in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2009, including best Asian restaurant in 2012. Corkage is $50 per bottle.
Double Michelin star winning chef Shinji Kanesaka’s eatery is the finest Japanese restaurant on the island. Corkage is $50 per bottle.
James H., 8/9/16