|Counter seats at Bochinche|
Opened since August 2013, Bochinche is a welcomed addition to the uppity residential enclave of Robertson Quay, more so because the twin closure of Kha and Bomba at 38 Martin next door has cast an almost deafening silence to the stretch.
A collaboration between Cynthia Chua of the Spa Esprit group and chef Diego Jacquet, a Buenos Aires native who has two restaurants in London – Casa Malevo and Zoilo – to his name, this Martin Road newbie is sequestered away on the second floor of an office building (above Common Man Coffee Roasters).
Thankfully, what Bochinche lacks in ground floor frontage is more than made up by an airy – albeit dim – 120-seat interior featuring an alfresco lounge, an outdoor dining terrace as well as a spiffy wood-swathed dining space featuring a mix of leather-bound counter high stools and good old wooden tables and armchairs.
The hallmark of Bochinche is cocina Argentina served in small plates, a first in the city-state.
Aside from formulaic empanadas, the eatery brandishes a moderate menu of asado (the Argentinian national dish of grilled meats) starring grilled Argentinian beef fillet with chimichurri (S$58 for 250g), a meat dish that features heavily in many a tapas bars in the city. For something a little off the beaten track, we suggest the succulent veal sweetbread (S$27): served on a bed of onion slices with hazelnut crumble and a rind of preserved lemon on the side, Bochinche’s rendition beats many we’ve tasted hands-down.
|Grilled lamb rump|
If you must have meats, ask for grilled lamb rump (S$29) with white quinoa, romanesco broccoli, golden raisins and anchovies. This dish comes highly recommended by the staffers and sounds delicious on paper but be sure to request for medium-rare lamb unless you want to relive our experience of chomping on rubbery meat.
If you think meats are the only highlights at Bochinche, think again. Given the Argentinian cuisine’s blending of various influences – including Italian and Spanish, seafood looms large at Bochinche. Although the selection is hardly considered classically Argentinian, what they do, they actually excel. Try the luscious grilled octopus (S$23) on a bed of cubed purple potatoes, smoked leeks and tuna mayo and the scrumptious blow-torched prawns (S$25) with avocado, shallots and capers.
Outside the domain of meats and seafood, there are many dishes that will prove irresistible.
Most alluring amongst them is provoleta (S$17), an Argentinian cheese grilled with almonds and honey in a pan, served topped with oregano. Whilst deliciously sweet and savoury on its own, provoleta also goes well with an assortment of house-made bread (S$7) – lookout for the moist and slightly chewy chipa cheese bread.
|Green peas served two-way|
|Grilled water melon salad|
Green peas (S$23), served two-way (chilled as granite and warm), alongside shallots and folds of iberico ham, is another standout worth devouring; as is the grilled watermelon salad (S$14) with tomatoes, mozzarella and sunflower seeds. Never mind if the Argentinian origin of these dishes seems a tad doubtful, the medley of vibrant flavours is reason enough to place an order.
|Milk cake with passion fruit sorbet|
|Dulce le leche creme brulee with banana split ice cream|
Though we are not big on desserts and quite happy to end a dinner without one, we don’t suggest you do so at Bochinche. To understand why, try the sponge cake soaked in a trio of milk (evaporated milk, fresh milk and condense milk) served alongside a dollop of passion fruit sorbet (S$14). Sublime? Here’s another bewitching sweet to keep you hooked: dulce le leche crème brulee with banana split ice cream (S$17).