Raising a Ruckus with Singapore’s Foodies

Eschewing the steak cliché, Bochinche dishes up small, bite-sized plates with big Argentinean flavours.



Thoughts of Argentinean cuisine often conjure up images of barbecued beef and succulent hunks of juicy meat. And of course, this association isn’t exactly arbitrary, seeing as Argentina is renowned for some of the most mouthwatering steaks in the culinary universe. However, at Bochinche, Singapore’s newest Argentinean eatery, Chef Diego Jacquet is proving that his native cuisine is more than just juicy rumps and carnivorous cuts.

Exciting palates after just six months of opening, Bochinche, which loosely translates to “ruckus” in Spanish, is the new joint venture from respected Argentine Chef Diego Jacquet (previously of three Michelin star El Bulli), and entrepreneur and founder of Singapore’s Spa Esprit Group, Cynthia Chua. They have teamed up to inject a new spark into the Singapore dining scene with an Argentinean menu that’s hardly run-of-the-mill. They dispel the notion that oversized steaks are the be all and end all of this intriguing cuisine, and instead serve up a selection of small sharing plates with big tastes. Fuelled by Chef Jacquet’s knack for putting together bold flavours and quality products, Bochinche is a vibrant expression of fresh food and convivial dining.

While decidedly exotic in origin, Argentinean food bears a sense of familiarity for Singaporean palates. It is undoubtedly robust with its full-bodied, hearty flavours, yet Chef Jacquet uniquely exposes its delicate side with the use of fresh and intricate ingredients. As such, Bochinche’s menu buzzes with creativity, diverse produce and innovative styles of cooking that go beyond the simplicity of barbecuing. Of course, the restaurant does serve up a mouthwatering chargrilled ribeye (and it is as good as our stereotype expects from an Argentinean native), but the spotlight is on small plates to swap and share and to explore the different varieties of Argentina’s culinary flavours.

Kicking this concept off superbly is the chef’s signature Provoleta appetiser. This trademark Argentinian cheese encourages dipping, dunking and getting a little bit messy thanks to its oozy deliciousness. The Provolone cheese is cooked in a pan until piping hot and gooey, then grilled to give it a crispy coating almost like a crème brûlée. The dish is typically topped with chilli and oregano, but Jacquet instead sprinkles it with crunchy chopped almonds and an oregano honey. This honeyed glaze adds a slight sweetness to the recipe, yet it packs an addictive umami punch from the salty melted cheese. Dip the thick wedges of Pan & Manteca (an assemblage of seven homemade breads) into the molten indulgence and chunky beef cuts become a distant memory.

But don’t get Bochinche wrong – just because it’s not all about the steaks and our first starter is meat-free, it doesn’t mean that the restaurant is herbivorous. In fact, it’s rather far from it. Meat is still a main event on the menu and carnivores are very well catered to. The endless lineup of meaty treats include the lamb rump and shoulder combo, Malbec braised ox cheek, and the queso de chancho; three disc-like croquettes chock full of tender, pulled pig head meat. They are fried until golden brown and pepped up with a side of smooth, saccharine 72-hour quince jam that cuts through the rich juices. There are also veal sweetbreads served atop a salad of white and green onions that fire up the smoky chargrilled flavours of the glistening, meaty parcels. Stretching across a charcoal-coloured slab, the vibrant dish is finished with a preserved lemon purée on one side, and a chargrilled lemon half on the other.

Onto the more substantial dishes, the chef’s signature pork belly, prawn and chorizo gambas “al ajo” is a particular highlight. As a twist on your typical “surf and turf”, the dish features a generous chunk of juicy pork belly beneath a giant, springy prawn. The powerful flavours of spicy chorizo are matched with a lavish seasoning of garlic, herbs and a citrusy dressing. It is a flawless example of Argentina’s punchy flavours working harmoniously with a touch of delicacy and acuteness. The citrus jazzes up the prawn, the herbs bring the pork to life and the garlic dissolves into the chorizo. It is full of energy and movement in flavours, and it totally blows the steak stereotype out of the water.

To complete a meal at Bochinche, accompany a dessert with one of the bar’s signature cocktails. It is quite simply the perfect finale, especially if you pair the chef’s silky dulce de leche crème brûlée with the Mr. Hendrick’s concoction. Hendricks gin is stirred with egg whites, Japanese cucumber, lemon and mint and offers a refreshing zing beside the creamy dessert. The brûlée’s crunchy caramelised coating is topped with a generous scoop of homemade banana split ice cream that gently melts and mixes with the sweet custard filling.

After such flavourful bites, it becomes clear why the name Bochinche is so appropriate. The cuisine has caused quite a commotion among the Singaporean dining scene – a ruckus if you will – and aside from the food, the almost boisterous atmosphere of the venue itself has secured itself a place as one of the coolest spots on the buzzing Martin Road to sip cocktails late into the night. Luckily for us, Argentina’s reputation for fine wines and social gatherings is spot on, and Bochinche knows just how to host an evening soiree.

Bochinche3 Bochinche4