We haven't been to boCHINche for a while, and not since they've moved to new premises in the heart of the business district. The current space is more compact, a little cosier I suppose, but it also means that reservations are now very much more encouraged. The menu's trimmed down too, and tighter, with a decidedly increased focus on the meats, and a more contemporary flair.
They've taken off a number of our favourites, like the ox cheeks and pork chops, which are missed, but retained a couple of mainstays like the steaks and updated the grilled market fish. Some changes, I liked, but many, I found disconcerting, to say the least. The steak, raked over a white charcoal grill, is now a little uneven, and I couldn't appreciate that some of my beloved dishes weren't ever making a comeback, but the fish, styled more intricately, is still fantastic.
That said, it's nice that the staff remembered us from the Martin Road days. That was quite the personal touch.
The Crab on Toast ($18) draped over a velvety "humita nortena" sauce, topped with a sprinkle of marjoram and pickled turnips, was refreshing and well-balanced, the sweet of the crabmeat contrasted with the acidic piquancy of the turnips.
Another new addition to the menu, the Chorizo Croquettes ($16) was beautifully executed, burnished with a dollop of heady smoked peppers and red amaranth.
The Ricotta Tortellini ($17) laced with sweet potato leaves, green peas, broad beans, butter sauce, was wonderfully exquisite. Hearty but polished.
The charcoal-grilled Ojo de Bife ($75), a hefty 400gm ribeye imbued with a fragrant char was unfortunately unevenly salted, but the accompanying chimichurri was instrumental in elevating the pedestrian meat. Thick chips (these were almost wedges), and a balsamic-dressed mixed green salad lent themselves well to cut through the monotony of red meat.
The Fish of the Day, an Atlantic Cod ($43) pooled in a basil beurre blanc with shaved almonds, and sided by a corn and faro medley, was absolutely sumptuous. Another must-try.
115 Amoy Street #01-02
Tel: 6235 4990
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner;
Fridays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
Saturdays from 11am to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
Sundays from 11am to 3pm