There is no more appropriate name for a Portuguese restaurant than ‘Boca’, which is Portuguese for mouth. Boca, a quaint, three-storied number, is the latest addition to the row of shophouses-turned-trendy-restaurants along Bukit Pasoh Road.
Making a good impression is paramount, and it’s clear that Boca’s owners take this seriously, because the aesthetics are wonderfully conceptualised. Setting foot into the restaurant, your eyes will trace webs of black ceramic andorinha birds (the national icon of Portugal), adorning the cyan walls. Would we expect any less from a group of homesick Portuguese yearning for glimpse of home 11,775 kilometres and two oceans away here in Singapore?
“Ok… decor – check. So what about the food?”, you ask.
Patience, my young Padawan. We’re just about there.
– Food –
Special mention has to be given to the Bread Basket ($7), which includes 3 types of freshly baked breads, which is accompanied by an olive oil dip, and a side of olives. Our table couldn’t get enough of the bread, which was a perfect canvas for the concentrated olive oil. The bread is made in-house, and the flavours vary daily. Needless to say, we were impressed.
Cod Fritters ($15)
The batter was of the perfect consistency and lent a slight, but still delightful, crunch to the tender cod flesh encased within.
Shrimp Porridge ($28)
Relax – using two-day old bread is totally part of the plan because the bread has to be of a certain stiffness. Though the shrimp came in generous chunks, I found the taste of coriander a tad overpowering.
“Braz” Codfish ($28)
This dish consists of shredded cod, potatoes, caramelized garlic and onions, garnished with a single tomato and several olives. Its comforting flavours hinted at its humble origins as an everyday Portuguese dish, and lifted my spirits by the spoonful.
Coffee Steak ($48)
Some restaurants you go back to again and again, hankering for a taste of that one dish you never seem to get sick of. Boca’s Coffee Steak is one of those dishes.Semi-submerged in a cognac-infused coffee sauce is an Australian tenderloin grilled medium-rare, dressed with root vegetable chips. The sauce bore piquant espresso notes that enhanced the already flavourful and tender beef – I relished every bite of this.The Coffee Steak comes with a pan of rice that has been cooked with garlic, onions, herbs, butter, and garnished with almond flakes. It’s aromatic, and the taste doesn’t let you down.
I was pleasantly surprised with these three, immaculately presented dessert items. Boca might just shape up to be a wonderful after-dinner dessert stop.
The Floating Island Dessert ($15)
A curious-looking egg white quenelle is balanced atop a pale, yolk yellow vanilla custard that has been dusted with cinnamon. Yet what catches your attention almost immediately is the intricate, nest-like fixture comprising of golden threads of spun sugar.
This proved to be as much as a treat for the eyes as it is for the palate. Not cloyingly sweet, this sophisticated dessert was a subtly nuanced balance of sweet and tart notes.
Cognac Chocolate Mousse ($13)
Chocolate lovers will wax lyrical about the decadence that is the Cognac Chocolate Mousse. Satisfyingly crunchy, the hazelnut pralines were an interesting textural contrast vis a vis the creamy valrhona chocolate mousse.
Together with the meringue and strawberries, allow yourself a spoonful of such rich indulgence, and appreciate how a simple cup of mousse is imbued with such a delicate complexity.
Authentic Portuguese Egg Tarts ($4.50 each)
All throughout dinner, our PR person, Rachel, rhapsodized about how Boca’s egg tart is THE holy grail of the humble snack, and so Averlynn and I waited in anticipation for these golden beauties to land themselves on the table.
I am delighted to inform you that we didn’t wait in vain. Biting into the crisp pastry shell produced a satisfying crunch, but its flakiness soon gave way to smooth creamy custard nestled within. It’s safe to say that we more than enjoyed every bite of this sweet treat.
– Drinks –
Boca offers a variety of Portuguese wines. Of the selection we sampled, the Quinta do Vallado Tawny Port 20 Years (rightmost) was our favourite, and is best paired with the desserts. It’s $18 for a glass and $210 for a bottle.
– Full Menu –
Traditional Portuguese Cuisine with a Modern Twist
With Boca, its owners hoped to create something akin to a pastiche of Portugal via modern interpretations of traditional Portuguese dishes. Stylish and edgy, yet still retaining a homey charm attributed to its sincerely prepared food, Boca offers nothing short of food for the soul – be it Portuguese or Singaporean.
Some might find Boca pricey, but most of the dishes here are meant for sharing. That, plus taking the quality of the food here into account, I would actually say it’s pretty reasonably priced.
Boca is a 10 minute walk away from Outram Park MRT.
Address: 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820
Telephone: 6221 0132
Open Mon to Sat 6pm – midnight.
This post is brought to you by Boca.
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