BOCA is the birth of a group of Portuguese friends working and living in Singapore, where together they introduce the vibrant cuisine of Portugal to our exciting food scene. Situated along the quaint Bukit Pasoh Road, where a charming blend of dining establishments and the nostalgia New Majestic Hotel is, BOCA is Singapore’s first authentic Portuguese restaurant showcasing a genuine taste of home to the affluent Singaporean diners.
BOCA is conceived from the Portuguese word ‘mouth” which literally connects you to Portugal where the young native Portuguese duo Chef Luca Bordino (previously of the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort) and Chef Francisco Vaz (previously of Pateo do Petisco) churned out a culinary ocean of iconic Portuguese dishes.
The inviting interiors of BOCA is designed by Portuguese Gracinha Viterbo, an internationally-famed interior designer responsible for iconic projects that received countless distinctions. Visitors coming to BOCA are sure to be amazed by the first sight of an eye-catching flock of ceramic black swallows adorning the walls. These birds are a national icon in Portugal, symbolising family, loyalty and love of the Portuguese. There are over 700 birds throughout the restaurant, starting from the ground level and all along the staircase leading up to the upper levels of the restaurant.
Featuring a largely blue interior furnishing for the restaurant, the walls and design on second level is an ode to a world of intriguing and usual finds. The palm trees wallpaper with bright yellow and navy blue table tops gives you the imagination that you’re on an island wanting to rest for long. The owners at BOCA take its business seriously, as all the tableware and kitchen cutlery, including the furniture, decor and light fixtures have been carefully curated and specially imported from Portugal.
BOCA serves up classic home-style dishes using specially imported ingredients from Portugal, that include olives, extra virgin olive oil, almonds and the intensely flavoured bacalhua (dried and salted cod) an iconic ingredient of the Portuguese cuisine.
Starting dinner with little plates of Portuguese dishes, comes the Salada de Polvo a Marinheiro ($24) that is thinly sliced tender octopus salad dressed with crunchy capsicums, crispy garlic, red onions, cilantro, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and smoky paprika. The octopus has been blanched quickly several times for optimal tenderness, I almost didn’t realised that I was savouring a deep-water denizen.
Classified as a traditional bar food in Portugal and also very popular in Brazil, these Pasteis de bacalhau de Alfama ($15) cod fritters served with pickled mayonnaise were packed with a ton of flavours and totally worth the extra raves. Made with the famed bacalhau, potatoes and parsley, the cod fritters had a crispy outside layer, moist and well seasoned inside. These are definitely the best cod fritters I ever had!
I strongly recommended this classic dish, best enjoyed with a glass of wine and get your juices flowing.
Also order its other sibling “Braz” codfish (Bacalhau a Braz $28) served as a main dish, where the cod is mixed in with crispy deep-fried shredded potatoes, caramelised onions and a beaten egg for a creamy, uplifting spoonful in every bite. Eating this is a like a battle of contrasting texture inside your mouth.
The Flamed Chorizo (Chourico em chamas $36) a flambeed dish using Portuguese imported sausages made from pork, wine, garlic, salt and paprika, comes with homemade bread on the side to sop up the tasty oils as you wouldn’t want a drop to be left on the plate.
Allow the sausage to be roasted over the open flames until it reaches the desired state of flaming crispness and rejoice. Please keep your children at home if you are planning for a sausage’s birthday party, as you might need more adults help blowing out the candles. Ooo…pretty flames.
This deeply satisfying bread-based casserole Bacalhau or Shrimp (Acorda de Bacalhau ou Camarao $28) sort of like porridge, among all left the most lasting impression on me, maybe I am a bread fan but it was solely because I was amazed by the uniqueness of this bacalhau dish.
The chefs at BOCA aged their homemade bread for two breads before immersing it in bacalhau or shrimp stock for a more intense flavour. It is then transferred into a pot, simmered and stirred over a low flame until the bread takes on a porridge consistency. A fresh egg yolk is added to create a velvety finish when mixed in. This is the essence of a truly unique country inside a pot.
Another noteworthy dish at BOCA is the Coffee Steak (Bife a cafe $48), a unique twist on the traditional steak that adds the interesting flavours of coffee with the rich taste of the beef. The affinity of coffee and meat might seems a little strange to some (but not for me), its delightful to see and taste how steak revolve around BOCA‘s recipe of coffee sauce incorporating a shot of espresso with mustard, cream and a dash of cognac.
The warm coffee flavour pairs surprisingly well with the grilled medium-rare Australian Tenderloin, and complemented with a pan of butter rice that has been cooked with almonds, aromatic garlic, onions and herbs. A must order if you are a steak lover, even better if you love coffee too.
Unless you have a true desire of exploding, you should never leave BOCA without trying their desserts. Trust me, go beyond ordering one dessert and you will not regret.
What lies beneath the Floating Island (Leite creme com farofias flutantes em nuvem de caramel $15) is a light egg white quenelle cloud sitting atop lightly sweetened vanilla custard dusted with cinnamon, layered with passion fruit coulis and fragrant shredded basil.
The final touch was a delicate spun sugar nest crowning the custard which is the Portuguese take on the European dessert, equally beautiful and delicious.
Chocoholics will fall in love with this incredibly decadent and luxurious Cognac Chocolate Mousse (Mousse de Chocolat $13) made of smooth and creamy valrhona chocolate mousse topped with tangy cognac macerated with red berries, lemon cream and crunchy hazelnut praline.
Sort of randomly, please pardon what I am about to say here. Any egg whore that love eggs in any way, shape or form should take advantage of these sexy and authentic Portuguese egg tarts (Pasteis de nata $4.50 each), as there is a limited produce of 20 pieces a day.
The egg tarts may appear simple looking, but to perfect a divine egg tart takes considerable skill and the chefs at BOCA makes nothing, but the best. The flaky puff pastry comes with a subtle charred surface encasing a caramelised egg custard and dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar for the added ecstasy.
If you have never been to Portugal, make a visit to BOCA soon and at the end of the day, no food goes to waste.
6 Bukit Pasoh Singapore 089820