Restaurant Review: Poco Loco
Mumbai’s two new Spanish restaurants, the swanky Arola at the J. W. Marriott and Poco Loco, a tapas bar in Bandra, opened just a month apart from each other but with vastly different arrivals. Arola, helmed by the Michelin-starred Sergi Arola, was launched to a drumbeat of publicity, whereas neither PR invitations nor hysterical buzz preceded the opening of Poco Loco last Wednesday, July 25.
Poco Loco is the first foray into the restaurant business by the husband-and-wife duo of Saurabh Shroff and Sonal Bhandarkar Shroff. On an afternoon this weekend, we were attended to by the genial couple who were taking orders, and assisting with the service. Their restaurant is simply decorated. Half the dining area is bathed in bright natural light, which filters in through the roof, while the other half is warmly lit and bears a mellow, date-friendly ambiance. The bar is festooned with Moroccan lanterns. We began our meal with the deliriously good Sangria Fusion made with wine and rosé. Rather than chopping the slices of oranges and red and green apples they use to make the drink, the bartenders at Poco Loco blend the fruit. The result is a remarkably frothy and smooth cocktail. We also tried the Valencia, a pleasing daytime cocktail of vanilla-infused sparkling wine, orange juice and pineapple juice. In addition to cocktails, Poco Loco’s wine list features vintages from Italy, France, Spain and Chile that can be ordered by the glass or the bottle.
The food menu features a variety of not terribly authentic but no less flavourful hot and cold tapas, of which on Bhandarkar Shroff’s recommendation, we ordered the patatas bravas and gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic). From the dishes we tried, we almost called for seconds of the spinach salad; the gambas al ajillo; and the aubergines stuffed with grilled peppers and goat cheese. The salad of cool, fresh baby spinach, arugula and lollo rosso had a good measure of acidity from lime juice, and sweetness from a sticky balsamic vinegar reduction. A smattering of pine nuts added crunch to the appetite-stoking dish. The garlicky punch of the grilled prawns went perfect with a squeeze of lime. However, we were terribly disappointed by the patatas bravas, which were quartered potatoes roasted with rosemary and smothered in BBQ sauce.
For our mains, we ordered the Berenjenas Rellenas, a dish of lightly charred aubergines typically filled with meat and cheese in Spain. The Poco Loco version, with crumbled cottage cheese (not goat cheese as indicated on the menu) and sautéed red, green and yellow capsicum, is topped with a blanket of melted cheddar, which though decidedly not Spanish is still delightfully filling. The saffron-tinged seafood paella with prawns, shellfish and chewy calamari, in contrast, had the consistency of mushy risotto (we suspect that it was cooked with Arborio rice rather than the short-grained Spanish Calasparra rice).
Even in our wine-buzzed state of mind we were unhappy about the absence of desserts on the menu, but a staffer informed us that this will be rectified soon. We had few other complaints with Poco Loco, which is an unpretentious restaurant with a relaxed vibe. It’s likely to become our favourite new place to get inebriated, thanks to the moderately priced—a glass of sangria is Rs250—but expertly made wine cocktails.
A meal for two with alcohol costs approximately Rs2,500. This review was conducted anonymously.Tags: Bandra, Poco Loco, Restaurants
Near Toto’s Garage Pub
HoursDaily, 11.30am to 3.30pm and 7pm to 12.30am