So Singapore doesn't really have restaurants serving purely Portuguese food and this hole is now filled with Boca Restaurant!
Boca Restaurant has taken over the space of Oca Grassa and has totally transformed the interior! I have not been to the upper floors as they were not opened to public yet, the first floor has this relaxed bar vibe that seems to be the in thing now and I'm definitely not complaining! I love watching how food is being prepared and watching cocktails being mixed. But that night, N and I had lots to catch up on so we opted for a table instead!
Being the first two customers of the night, we were very warmly welcomed into the restaurant and were given recommendations as well as notified of the daily specials by the chef herself who was very amiable. The two waiters were also very nice and helpful! More on that later.
Here is the menu:
It starts off with an explanation of the decor of the place, and what black swallows mean to the Portugese, then explains Boca and its concept, then the next page (which is not pictured) tells you about Portugal and its influence on the world!!
For example, I totally didn't know that
1) TEMPURA was introduced by Portuguese to the Japanese
2) Tulips, diamonds were introduced by Portugese to the Netherlands
3) Spices/curry to India
When we saw the number of desserts our eyes totally lit up and we were so excited to have dessert! I love a restaurant with a wide range of desserts to choose from that steers away from the usual but comes up with flavours that work and are interesting :)
We ordered white sangria as our meal consists of mainly seafood. I must say this was really refreshing :)
We were served Portuguese olive oil along with the bread and I must say the olive oil is really different from those I've been having. Firstly its more viscous and secondly the taste is a little bit stronger and has a fragrance to it. Sorry my descriptive powers aren't very strong.
This bread was amazing, crispy crust with a chewy to soft consistency inside. N liked it so much that he ate everything haha. The bread is also made by the chef herself.
Octopus salad w red onions, capsicum, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar
I thought this was fairly average, similar to octopus salads I've eaten here. This was refreshing, octopus wasn't super chewy, was just the right texture, and the mixture of onions/capsicums/cilantro proved to be a good taste contrast to the octopus. Couldn't really taste any vinegar though 3/5
Grilled sardines with smoke olive oil and roasted peppers
We were recommended to order this dish and were told the bones could be eaten as well. Some parts I really chomped the bones down but it was a little difficult 'cos its only grilled fish not deep fried so the bones aren't really super chewable. Next I thought the sardines were a little too salty for my liking. However the sardine was fresh which made grilling it the best way to enjoy it 3/5
Bread "porridge" with choice of cod/shrimp (chose shrimp), olive oil, fish stock and coriander
We were super intrigued by "bread porridge" and we're so glad we tried!!! This reminded us of mui fan cos everything was so gooey in a perfect way! The bread was extremely soft and there was egg and pieces of crunchy shrimp as well as that stack of coriander! Very flavourful and very comforting dish. Super homey feeling when eating this!!! Esp nowadays when the weather is so cooling, eating this just warms your soul seriously, not exaggerating. 4.4/5
Special of the day: cod w egg/chorizo/potatoes/olives (I think)
Now I don't really know the exact ingredients in this dish and I forgot the price haha but the chef only told us cod + eggs and its a special and we won't regret haha and we really didn't! This was certainly a very interesting dish and something we've never tried before even in our travels! The mash was nicely peppered with the fragrance from fried egg + potatoes, saltiness from the chorizo (I think its chorizo, i'm not 100% sure) and the sweetness from the cod! Oh! And onions too. So this was a really nice combi mixed into one pot :) 4.4/5
Quail Confit with Port wine and grapes
Now we were recommended to order this and told that there was only 1 portion per night!! (D:) since it sounded interesting and being the first customers of the night, we managed to try it! Subsequently another group of guests wanted to order and the waiter told them they only have 1 portion per day :/
The quail wasn't really confit texture to me haha it felt more like a braised quail? The sauce was super super good omg with the plump huge grapes and mushroom (I think!) and the port wine! And knowing that the sauce is great and customers would wanna mop it up, bread comes along for this dish!! The boy finished the bread as well haha. Even though it looks like a small jar, the amount of meat is quite substantial especially after eating so many dishes! I love that they were generous with the plump grapes and mushrooms. 4.4/5
The Real Portugese egg tart
Now this was heavennnnnnnn so different from Tong heng egg tarts which are my to-go egg tarts whenever I'm having a craving. I've never been to Portugal so I can't compare and tell you if its really the real Portugese egg tart but I must say this is pretty darn good!!! Pity that 1) its rather expensive 2) it wasn't hot when it arrived :/ we weren't sure whether it was meant to be served at this temperature but we didn't bother asking them to heat it up because we didn't wanna trouble them. Even without heating it up, it was already amazing, I imagine it must be better when heated up! It had quite a few layers in its pastry but not those flakey bite and drop all over kind of layers, somehow the layers stay together and are distinct and nicely crisp. The custard is not too eggy and there's a layer of crispy caramelisation atop that brings this to a new level :) 4.5/5
Chocolate Mousse with hazelnut praline
Now I've seen some photos on instagram of this dessert and it definitely did not look like this. The versions on instagram had more stuff in it and even on the same night when this dessert was served to the other tables, it had blackberries inside which we didn't have :/ wonder what happened?
Anyhow, I thought this was rather normal, majority of it is the mousse. Cant really figure out whats in the white layer tho! We broke the praline into smaller bits so that we can have some in every bite. 3.2/5
Vanilla custard with egg white "clouds" in caramel
We were recommended to get this dessert but again I thought it was average but it was certainly a show to see the chef make the caramel! This had an eggy taste to it that was quite distinct so stay away if you do not like it. Couldn't really taste the caramel under the egg though. 3/5
Chef Lola's apple tart with cheese mousse
This can't really be considered a tart because there wasn't really a tart shell per se and I assume the crumbs in front are to be considered the shell. The cheese was very bland and you virtually only have a slight bit of saltiness when you eat it with the apple. Nonetheless it was an interesting combi 3/5
In the future I would try the almond egg pudding!
Overall - N and I both agreed that we really liked the food there because all the dishes were good even though not all stood out! But well its kinda hard to make all dishes stand out primarily because people have different tastes.
Service: the waiters are really polite, especially the Asian guy. And really helpful overall as well! So good service is a good thing!
We are definitely coming back to try the slightly more upmarket food on the first floor when it opens to the public! We really liked the change of cuisine and were glad we got introduced to Portuguese food :) I would say this restaurant definitely has much prospects and is a fresh addition to the global cuisine we already have in Singapore!
Now who thinks there's gonna be a crop of Portuguese restaurants opening soon? ;)
6 Bukit Pasoh Road (parking is a bitch, either go early or ask for valet from the other restaurants nearby) note that it is at the start of Bukit Pasoh road when you turn in from Neil road