It can sometimes feel as if it’s almost time for the Spa Esprit Group to change its name, seeing as its haul of imaginative eateries is now almost as extensive as its waxing salons. One of its latest offerings, Bochinche, does little to dispel that notion.
Located at the end of a long stretch of early 19th-century shophouses in Chinatown, the restaurant offers what its interior architect – the London-based Viewport Studio – calls ‘contemporary surrealism’. Which basically translates into an eye-catching room lined with bold prints, patterns and colours, alongside prints of Spanish art set in gilt frames, brassy mesh, vintage cherub lights, and a black and white tiled floor.
The quirkiness extends to the menu which was conceived by chef Diego Jacquet. The Argentine’s stint at El Bulli is evident in the procession of tasting plates that emerge from behind the open kitchen, especially in the delicate tweezering of tiny fronds and dimples of flavoured oil. The flavours, though, are bold. Chorizo croquettes are layered with smoked peppers. Slices of grilled ox tongue are spiked with pickled aubergines. For die-hard carnivores, it’s all about the perfectly done slabs of grass-fed Argentine steaks, and a thick cut of beef and bone marrow burger.