TAIPEI – Fans of Singapore wine bar RVLT (short for “revolution”) will instantly recognise the Instagrammable wine bottle display wall – except that this one is located in Taipei.
The popular natural wine bar officially opened its first overseas outlet in Taiwan on Feb 5, and there is much about its design that is reminiscent of the Carpenter Street original, from the framed pop art posters to the red bar stools.
“But the Taipei one is probably a little less grungy and a bit more sleek,” co-founder Alvin Gho, 41, told The Straits Times, pointing to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that envelope the 100-seater space in Taipei’s trendy East District.
One thing which Mr Gho and RVLT co-founder Ian Lim, 38, were insistent on keeping exactly the same as their Singapore outlet though? A sense of fun.
“This is not a stuffy wine bar. This is a place for people to come by and enjoy themselves in a noisy environment,” Mr Gho said.
Indeed, their penchant for lively energy was one of the main reasons the two were drawn to setting up in Taiwan in the first place.
Recalling a trip to a local yakiniku (Japanese for “grilled meat”) eatery in Taipei 20 years ago, Mr Gho said he was struck by the boisterous vibe there.
“It was loud and it was filled to the brim with customers sitting very close to one another, and no one was complaining about that,” he said.
“The Taiwanese enjoy a good time out and they are into re nao (Chinese for “lively”) situations, and that’s just what we’re like at Wine RVLT.”
Already, Taiwan’s Mr Kenny Lee, who runs the acclaimed natural wine bar Can Nature, has been spotted drinking at Wine RVLT Taipei at least twice. He told The Straits Times that there is no sense of rivalry, despite what people may think.
“My bar is cosy and quiet, but Wine RVLT is a wine bar for people to party at after work. I’m very happy that Alvin and his team are bringing something entirely new to Taipei’s wine scene,” he said.
Like its Singapore counterpart, the new bar offers wines that are made sustainably and with minimal intervention. Highlights include the Tim Wildman Astro Bunny Pet-Nat (NT$2,680 or S$118) and the Partida Creus SM (NT$2,080).
Meanwhile, the food menu, helmed by executive chef Sunny Leong from the Singapore outlet, will offer some familiar favourites, including housemade sourdough served with seaweed butter (NT$280), wagyu patty melt (NT$660) and century egg terrine (NT$260).
But there will likely be some Taipei-exclusive dishes in the months to come.
“When we get a better understanding of the Taiwanese palate, we’ll look at creating more dishes with local produce,” Mr Gho said.