Booze-free pairings take off in fine-dining restaurants in Singapore

This alternative to wine pairing swaps out reds and whites for jazzed-up juices and teas.

Preludio dish
  • Cheong Kamei
  • January 2020

As diners become more health-conscious, fine-dining restaurants in Singapore opens in new window have started offering non-alcoholic pairings. Chip Steel, sommelier of Preludio opens in new window, talks about the creative process behind a booze-free drinks programme.

It starts with a deep understanding of the dishes

“We hope to find flavour profiles that help to accentuate the food or highlight a certain ingredient. Sometimes, it’s also about rounding out a dish. For example, extra acidity in the drink can help to tone down a rich element on the plate. It’s only when the drink completes the dish that we know we have gotten it right”

It follows the same guiding principles as wine pairings

“Since I have a background in wine, I approach non-alcoholic pairings in ‘wine terms’. By that, I mean I’m concerned with the ways in which we can bring acidity into the pairing through fruits or kombucha, structure and tannin with a certain tea or a layer of complexity with a syrup.”

Teas are incredibly versatile starting points

“My favourite type of pairings are tea-based mocktails — teas already have beautiful aromatics and a tannic structure that is gastronomically-friendly.”

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Where to try this trend

Kausmo

Kombucha
Kausmo’s Carte Blanche menu is SGD$75++, and the kombucha pairing is an additional SGD$20.

In line with its philosophy of minimising food waste, Kausmo offers a home-brewed kombucha pairing with its six-course Carte Blanche menu.

Address: Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #03-07
Tel: 8126 8538

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Restaurant Zen

Restaurant Zen dish
One of Restaurant Zen’s highlights: chawanmushi, sea urchin and horseradish-glazed unagi in pork broth.

The local outpost of Stockholm’s three-Michelin starred establishment Frantzen offers a juice-pairing programme.

Address: 41 Bukit Pasoh Rd
Tel: 6534 8880

ESORA

Esora tea pairing
Esora uses stemware instead of cups when serving their premium teas.

The modern and chic kappo-style restaurant aims to bring Japanese tea-drinking culture to Singapore through its meticulous and seasonal tea pairings.

Address: 15 Mohamed Sultan Rd
Tel: 6365 1266

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