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South Side Wine Bar: Relax with a glass of wine

South Side Wine Bar: Relax with a glass of wine
Where was the last time you drank a glass of wine? I asked this question to a few of my friends and colleagues. Their answers were similar and expected. It was either at a party, a gathering or when there was an occasion or something to celebrate. It was the same for me too. I never thought of wine as a drink I could have casually. But I was compelled to change my mind after visiting South Side Wine Bar, a quaint little place inside Gyanmandala, Jhamiskhel, Lalitpur. “In Nepal, wine seems like a luxury. It’s expensive, and not many people understand it. But I want to make it simple,” says the proprietor of the place, François Driard. He is originally from France but has been living in Nepal for the past 16 years. The idea of opening a wine bar came to him when he realized there weren’t many places that offered good wine at affordable prices. Through the South Side, he is looking forward to making wine a common and go-to drink for everyone. “It’s so much more than just a celebratory drink,” he says, “A wine bar can be just another place to relax, meet new people, and enjoy a nice drink after a hectic day.” The wines they serve are quite limited, and none of them are sweet. They’re the ones that Driard personally approves and likes. Since he mostly prefers dry wine, they are the only ones you’ll get at the South Side. “But I can vouch for every wine we serve. They are some of the best wines you’ll get in Nepal,” says Driard. The ones we tried were Biscardo Borgo San Lorenzo Soave, a white wine, and Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet, a red wine. We had no complaints. And nothing goes better with wine than cheese, which you’ll get at the South Side Wine Bar.

Being a cheesemaker too, he has established a cheese shop called Yak & Co inside Gyanmandala, from where you can order a platter of Himalayan French Cheese, his own product. The ones we tried were Alpha, Camembert, Yak Cheddar, and Gherkins to refresh our taste buds. Alpha and Yak Cheddar are somewhat similar to the kind of cheese we are generally used to. Camembert is somewhat different. It’s a bit soft, creamy, and has an earthy taste that some might not prefer. But as someone who loves cheese, I couldn’t have enough of it. And the bite of Gherkins I took now and then kept me refreshed. 

If you are looking for something more filling, they serve Panini too, and it goes perfectly with wine. The ones we had were smoked chicken and pork. Believe me when I say that a bite of this perfectly cooked and cheesy dish is what you need when you want some food in your tummy to balance out the effects of the alcohol. You’ll notice that there aren’t any spices used while making the dish, except tomatoes, cheese, and meat. There’s a reason for that. It’s usually bland food items that go well with wine. Thus the only food items you’ll find here are cheese platter and panini.  The place is exceptionally beautiful in the evening. With warm, yellow lights and trees around, the bar is calming and vibrant. Although some might think that the place is too small and accommodates a limited number of people at a time, that’s what makes the bar so peaceful. It’s not noisy or crowded, and you can enjoy your evening without having to put up with loud music. What I liked, even more, is the fact that it’s a perfect place to visit on your own. And you’ll enjoy talking to the bartenders and customers around. It’ll just take a glass of wine to start a conversation. Their specials: 

  • Wine 
  • Cheese Platter 
  • Panini 
Location: Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur Drinks for two: Rs 2,000 Opening hours: 4:00 pm to midnight Online/Card payment: Accepted Parking: Available