Back to Basics with Le Vin, Levain’s Naturally Fermented Sourdoughs and Organic Wines

Wild flavours are brewing in Tiong Bahru Bakery and the Drunken Farmer’s latest pop-up.

Gut-health is at the core of Spa Esprit Group’s latest pop-up, Le Vin, Levain. In collaboration with Tiong Bahru Bakery and the Drunken Farmer, it offers delectable wild fermented sourdough pizzas, home-styled dips and charcuterie with natural wine options. The concept takes diners back to the original state of food, using local ingredients sourced from farmers in Singapore’s such as Viknesh Dairy Farm and Edible Garden City and processing them as minimally as possible.

Fermentation is the common element which runs through the pop-up’s menu. Chef Paul Albert explains that the pizzas are made from a 158-year-old starter liquid Levain that is mixed into French wheat dough and left to ferment slowly for 30 hours.

Lardo & Confit Eggplant pizza (Image courtesy of Tiong Bahru Bakery)

The natural yeast stretches the gluten to create an airy dough for a fluffy, crispy crust. The long fermentation period develops the sour notes to create a tasty base for Tiong Bahru Bakery’s Margherita pizza and Lardo & Confit Eggplant pizza. In the Sourdough Waffle, the tang from the dough tempers the sweetness of the banana ice cream and gula jawa making for a well-balanced dessert. 

Sourdough Waffle (Image courtesy of Tiong Bahru Bakery)

The Plataeau de Charcuterie which consists of house-cured meats takes anywhere between six months to a year to be ready and is another testament to the patience this menu demands.

The cuts rotate between Pancetta (pork belly), Bresaola (salted beef), Coppa (whole muscle salume made from the shoulder and neck cuts of a pig) and smoked duck magret (cured for two months with juniper berries, rosemary, thyme and smoked with applewood). The curing period dehydrates the meats and draws out nutty, smoky flavours, which are perfect accompaniments to the natural wine selection offered by the Drunken Farmer.

Plataeau de Charcuterie (Image courtesy of Tiong Bahru Bakery)

The man behind Drunken Farmer, Edurado Bayo, selects the best low intervention wines on a weekly rotation to keep the tap interesting and match the dishes on offer. From the Penedes from Ros de Pacs, a type of biodynamic wine to the Marcel Malbec from France grown on the chalky hills of Cahors, each natural wine has a distinctive taste resulting from wild fermentation. Bayo informs us that each bottle is unique and tends to have an oxidised taste due to the lack of sulphate preservatives. This also means that natural wines are best had when young to enjoy the crisp fruity notes associated with the early stages of fermentation.

Bottles of natural wines (Image courtesy of Tiong Bahru Bakery)

The combination of freshly-baked sourdough and organic wines makes for a nourishing dining experience. It invites diners to relish the rewards of a ‘slow’ fermentation process, in stark contrast to the highly industrialised, processed foods that now flood the market. Le Vin, Levain with its delicious menu offerings, is a reminder for us to stop and smell the rosé.

Tiong Bahru Bakery, 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70 Singapore, 160056. Tel: +65 6220 3430. Opening hours are every Wednesday to Sunday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

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