Zainab: Poco Loco is a Latin American restaurant which only recently opened at The Beach, JBR. It’s quite a big space and you can’t miss it whether you’re walking by the roadside or on the beach. They have an option of outdoor or indoor sitting. We chose to sit inside to avoid the dust. We were welcomed at the entrance and led directly to our table. Our server for the day introduced himself (Ivan) and the concept of the restaurant. The whole idea is that you place your orders and the food arrives right after the other so you’re not waiting for too long inbetween dishes. Works for me!
We started off with the Poco Loco guacamole with tortilla chips, tacos with softshell crab and the yellow fin tuna ceviche. For the mains, we had the steak, roasted baby chicken and pinto beans and we topped it off with a triage for dessert- coconut parfait, tres leches and a chia seed and yogurt pudding. Before we left, we were asked to write down our feedback for their notes trees and let’s just say we had nothing but good things to say. It’s definitely a place I’d be going back to.
Ambience: The ambience here was really nice and chilled. Everybody smiles! The decor was quite interesting too…doors on the ceiling, aztec insired grafitti on the walls and bare concrete sufaces and some tiled mosaics as well. Somehow it worked well together. It’s a casual setting and you can go with friends and family. They had music playing as well but not in an intrusive way.
Crowd: They’ve only just opened so there wasn’t really a crowd but if things continue as is, I expect the place will fill up really quickly. There’s an upstairs location as well, which will most likely be used once there’s a crowd.
Food: There were three of us sharing the dishes and I absolutely enjoyed everything I ate. The crunchy tortilla chips with the tasty guacamole. The ceviche was nicely flavored with no particular spice dominating the other. I was a bit wary about ordering the chicken as I’ve had experiences where the taste is only on the surface. This chicken as juicy and delicious all the way through. It was served with a sort of quinoa base, which tasted even better paired with the pinto beans. Then there was the steak…soft, chewy and well flavored. The desserts were equally amazing although my favorite was the coconut parfait. The tres leches was a bit too sweet for me and by the time I got to the chia seed pudding, I was stuffed. The pumpkin seed ice cream it came with was a treat though; I’ve never tried that flavour. The food portions were small but somehow, very filling and they all tasted fresh.
Pricing: It’s averagely priced. About AED150 – AED200 per person.
Service: The service was amazing. Our server, Ivan, was really courteous and very helpful. He answered all our questions and for those he wasn’t sure of, he made it a point to find out for us. In between dishes, our tables were cleared and cleaned. The assistant flooR manager also came by to check that all was okay. The food was served relatively fast; I don’t think we spent up to 10 mins waiting for any meal.
Gbemi’s notes: I fell in love with Poco Loco as soon as I walked in, every one was smiling so I couldn’t help but smile too. The two-story restaurant is a casual with a quirky interior that reverberates Latin American soul, bright bold print and colors. The panel floors and exposed ceilings give an industrial vibe that immediately puts you at ease. The menu ranges from unique creations such as the yellowfin tuna tiraditos, and guajillio chilli with cabbage and sesame, through to classic favourites including quesadilla rustica, grilled corn and a selection of tacos served ready to eat in the holder. The main course includes everything you want in Latin American food, aji amarillo with soy butter, and slow-cooked lamb barbacoa served with salsa pasilla and fresh tortillas.
I love the idea of a super food dessert so I didn’t feel guilt after indulging in their chia seed and yogurt pudding with pumpkin seed icecream, or the coconut parfait with hibiscus, mango and kiwi. I really had an amazing time there, and I’ll definitely be going back soon.