Poco Loco in Khar, Mumbai, has concocted an interesting mix of authentic food with a scientific spin. Before you start scratching your head, allow us to clarify. This new Spanish and Mexican restaurant experiments with fun drinks and delicacies that spring from molecular gastronomy, egged on by Dr Loco, Poco Loco’s quirky mad scientist.
What caught our eye the moment we entered its chemistry-classroom-meets-millennial-cafe environs are the words ‘According to chemistry, alcohol is a solution’, emblazoned in neon lighting on a matte red wall. To add to the quirk, there is a wall mural showcasing Poco Loco’s selection of molecular cocktails in the form of a periodic table, and a bay window space set with suede and velvet chairs that reminded us of a vignette from Sketch, London. The bar sports a large wrought-iron chandelier, Spanish influences shine through the Majolica floor tiles, and lighting fixtures have been designed using borosilicate test tubes and calibrated glass flasks. Another highlight is a funky chandelier inspired by the structure of an organic compound – a conversation starter if you ask us.
Poco Loco is a place to surprise your taste buds. With experimental Spanish and Mexican influences, the restaurant makes its own spicy and tangy flavours using unique ingredients. Their is no dearth of cocktails with different accents – foam, caviars, bubbles, and smokey – here. Dr. Loco’s Fuego is a mixture of Sambuca and Tequila spiced with a dash of Tabasco; La Llorona Martini is made with angostura bitters and Pisco brandy; and Psychotic Technic is a mix of homemade Kerala coconut cream, Old Monk, and homemade syrups.
We vote for Bran the Broken, definitely not for a rookie and made with White Walker, Blue Curacao, homemade grape juice, vanilla syrup, and finished with egg white and rosemary fumes. Jalapeno Martini‘s sour and punchy aftertaste gave us a kick, and we’re still reeling from it.
With food, we started off with tapas – a cold gazpacho, but instead of tomatoes, we tasted Mango Gazpacho, a fruity soup with a hint of celery, garlic, mint, and sweet chilli, that had us craving for more. Other soups you could try include the Bouillabaisse, seafood bisque, and the traditional Mexican Tortilla topped with guacamole and sour cream. In salads, we started with the Parmigiana, featuring parmesan foam, bell peppers, mushroom, baby corn, and potatoes on a bed of salad greens marinated in a paprika vinaigrette dressing.
The appetizer menu is brimming with Spanish bites. There is Patatas Bravas (crusty potato wedges with spicy garlic mayo) and Cottage Cheese Chimichuris, the quintessential chargrilled cottage cheese with homemade chimichurri, alongside Chicken Croquettes packed with a creamy flavour. Crepe De Marisco Cremoso was the undisputed winner, which was filled with creamy seafood and bouillabaisse cream sauce. The Cordero Picado, a soft spicy bolognese and mozzarella cheese flatbread baked at the restaurant, can double up as a pizza.
The usual dishes include Paella Valenciana available in vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and chicken. The menu also has a Jain section that features Cottage Cheese Steak, Corn Bruschettas, and a Zoodle Spaghetti. We tried the traditional Spanish burrito and chimichanga, which were cooked to perfection. In desserts, Chocolate Chilli Pepper Tart stole our hearts – topped with chilli jam and dark chocolate, it that leaves a tart and sweet taste.
For us, food won the show but don’t miss the drinks. The only gripe is the location, which is right next to a metro site. But till we find another place that serves Mango Gazpacho, we’ll keep coming here.
Where: Ground Floor, Navish House, Bldg No. 87, Plot No. 99, S.V Road, Khar West, Mumbai – 400052
Contact No:+ 91 93241 91366
Opening Hours: 12.30 PM – 1.30 AM
Recommended dishes: Chocolate Chilli Pepper Tart, Paella Valenciana and Mango Gazpacho
Price for two: Rs 1,700 for two with drinks
Noise Levels: Quiet but noisy in the evenings
Service: Cordial, attentive, and knowledgeable
All images: Courtesy Poco Loco Tapas and Bar