November 6, 2015
When I think of Argentina, I think of the Tango, Evita, Malbec and of course, steak. Beautiful grass fed, free range steak. So when we got an invite to check out the latest menu at Bochinche, one of few Argentine inspired restaurants in Singapore, we ran there faster than you can say ‘don’t cry for meat Argentina’.
Upon arrival at Bochinche you are greeted by a bar to your left, and an open kitchen to your right. You can stride along the catwalk-esque runway to tables at the back if you’re in the mood for a full on dinner. Or you can pull up a chair at the bar if you just fancy a cocktail and a few small plates. No matter your mood, Bochinche will deliver an epic feed.
The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. There is something reassuring about a calm, cool team of chefs and laid back (yet efficient) waiting staff. When operations are this slick, I knew we were about to get served up something special. We sat at the bar facing the open kitchen and had the best seats in the house to watch the chefs work their magic.
In order to fully appreciate our meal, we needed to first quench our thirst. We did so with two very good cocktails from the varied and surprisingly good value happy hour menu. The first, Mr Hendricks, was comprised of Hendricks gin, egg white, Japanese cucumber, lemon and mint. The result? A fresh, sharp first sip with a very smooth finish courtesy of the frothy egg white. I think my glass must have had a hole in it as it disappeared so quickly.
We also sampled the Bemberg Fizz (yellow chartreuse, chamomile syrup, lemon, orange bitters, and beer). This tall, refreshing creation tasted like a pimped up shandy, it was delicious. Each cocktail was a mere $10 and were quite possibly two of the nicest cocktails I’ve had in a long time, on top of being a complete bargain. The range of drinks on the happy hour menu alone is worth going for.
Iberico Cold cuts ($21)
As we polished off our drinks the first of our small plates arrived. We began with a trio of Iberico cold cuts (lomo, chorizo and shoulder) that had been cured for 30 months, accompanied by house made pickle and focaccia. These cuts really lived up to the ‘finest ham in the world’ accolade that is often attributed to Iberico. We were truly spoilt with beautifully cut slithers of salty, soft lomo and smoky sweet chorizo.
The pickle was crunchy, fresh, tangy and a little sweet, a triumph in my book. The bread (oh the bread!) was soft, chewy and seasoned with oregano and aji molido. I normally go easy on bread to keep space for something more exciting later on. I could not, however, resist this focaccia and ate the entire basket full – so delicious it definitely earned it’s place in my ever expanding stomach.
Ox tongue, salted egg, salsa verde & parmesan foam ($13)
Next up was a plate of wafer thin ox tongue with salsa verde and a parmesan foam. Normally I baulk at the mere mention of pretentious foodie terms such as ‘foams’ or ‘essences’, but if all foams were as substantial as this one I’d eat my words. For once, it actually added something to the dish and it’s light consistency balanced the pungency of the salsa verde. If you’ve never tried ox tongue before I recommend you lose your v plates for this one, the flavour combination is an assault on the taste buds in the best possible way.
Sea bass ceviche, lemon curd, coriander & pickled radishes ($15)
A South American restaurant without ceviche is akin to Singapore without chicken rice. Thank goodness then we were served up a generous plate of sea bass ceviche, the citrus cure was so punchy it practically kicked our butts. The bass was super fresh whilst the pickled radishes added to the satisfying sourness. To add an additional twist the team had added a dash of lemon curd into the equation. I liked the intensity of lemon flavour, however as the curd dissolved into the lemon/lime juice it became a little too sweet for my particular taste. None the less, it certainly didn’t stop me from finishing my plate.
Crab & humita croquettes, spicy criolla sauce ($15)
When it comes to comfort food there is nothing better than a deep fried ball of something, and the crab croquettes at Bochinche are my new favourite balls. Filled with nothing but crab and humita (corn), it felt as though we’d hit the jackpot as we bit through the crisp coating to find this soft, sweet, meaty filling. The crisp, zingy salsa cut through the richness of the croquette to create a very more-ish mouthful.
Classic Provoleta, almonds & oregano honey ($17)
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when we were presented with a pan filled with melted provoleta cheese, drizzled with oregano honey and garnished with almonds. I then actually did die when I realised the focaccia bread was making a return for me to dunk in to the cheese. Needless to say, if I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life this dish would be in serious contention. The cheese was gooey, chewy and a little crispy where it had been seared by the pan. Add in the sweet honey and a nutty crunch and you’ve got a complete winner on your hands. I now need to go workout in the gym for 10 hours to burn it off but the fact I’m willing to make that compromise should explain how much I love this dish.
Whilst we were here predominantly to try the small plates, we were also treated to a steak burger fresh from the grill. Meat lovers rejoice, this is a proper burger made from ground steak (the same ones you can also order from the grill). Cooked until charred on the outside and a little pink in the centre, no dry, dull meat patties here this was one of the juiciest burgers I’ve had in a while. Be sure to eat it quick so the bun doesn’t go soggy.
The burger was served with a few chips on the side. By this point we were so full I didn’t mind the chips weren’t plentiful, though I imagine were I only ordering this I’d want a few more. I prefer my chips a little crispier on the outside, but taste wise they were seasoned well and I really enjoyed the garlic mayonnaise.
Watermelon salad, mozzarella cream, tomatoes & pumpkin seeds ($13)
Our final savoury course of the night was a watermelon salad. I’m a fan of watermelon and feta as a combo so was intrigued to see how mozzarella would compare. For me, feta works because of it’s crumbly texture and saltiness, both of which mozzarella lacks. Each ingredient on this plate was good in it’s own right – fresh, sweet watermelon. Soft, creamy mozzarella. Rich, juicy sun dried tomatoes – you’d think this summer on a plate combo would be a winner. But for me, as one mouthful, the flavours and textures just didn’t come together. Good, but not my favourite of the night.
Milk cake, passion fruit sorbet & toasted almonds ($14)
We rounded off this veritable feast with two desserts. The first of which was a milk cake with passionfruit sorbet. The cake itself was beautiful – soft, dense and made with three different types of milk. The passionfruit sorbet was so zingy it cut right through the richness of the condensed milk puddle it was drizzled with.
Creme caramel, dulce de leche & chocolate crumble ($13)
The creme caramel with dulce de leche was also a triumph. The creme caramel itself was set perfectly and had a satisfying wobble when nudged. Dulce de leche tastes good with anything, but it tasted amazing sat next to this dessert. The ‘chocolate crumble’ added a nice crunch to contrast the smoothness of everything else on the plate. A real double whammy of treats to finish on.
Wow. Wow. Wow. I said wow a lot as I grazed my way through the plethora of hot and cold small plates we sampled. BoCHINche is the real deal. Amazing food. Great drinks. Great service. Whilst I still think of steak when I think of Argentine restaurants, BoCHINche has shown there is whole lot more to offer from this diverse cuisine.
There are many reasons to go to BoCHINche. Go for dinner with friends or family. Go for cocktails and light bites early (or late) evening. Go to buy some of the authentic Argentinian produce stocked at the front of the restaurant. Whatever the reason, whatever the time – GO.
Expected Damage: $50 – $150 per pax
Bochinche: 22 Martin Road, #02-01, Singapore, 239058 | Tel: 6235 4990 | Website
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 5.30pm – 12.00am / Friday 5.30pm – 1.00am / Saturday 11.00am – 4.30pm, 5.30pm – 1.00am / Sunday 11.00am – 4.30pm, 5.30pm – 12.00am / Monday Closed