$20-$40

PocoLoco, Ang Mo Kio: Fuss-free Italian Food at a HDB Block

poco-loco-singapore-reviewThe people behind the Thai bbq restaurant Siam Square Mookata has opened Pocoloco at Ang Mo Kio. The concept is not unlike Concetto by Saveur, serving Italian food at pocket-friendly prices. What differs between the two is the location: Pocoloco in at the heartland while Concetto is in city.

The decor looks like what a hetero interior designer on a budget of $200 would come up with, but what they skimp  on decor, they make it up for the ingredients. Many ingredients are imported from Italy, and most components made from scratch, including dressings, focaccia, tomato sauce, and stock bases.

pocoloco-amk-menuFor starter, I enjoyed the burrata salad ($16) immensely. Lousy, stale burrata oozes water and is gooey. But the burrata here is firm and creamy and when you cut into it, it retains its shape—good quality. The parma ham is slightly stiff, but since the focus is on the cheese, I didn’t mind that the ham isn’t good. On the whole, the flavors mix excellently; the bitterness of rocket leaves is counterpoised by the creaminess and richness from the cheese, and the saltiness from the ham.

poco-loco-sgFor meat, the chicken ($15) caused some dispute among us. The waitress told us it came with masala sauce when we were ordering, but it didn’t. The sauce is a brown butter with mushroom—very savory that I wanted to sip it.

Unfortunately, the chicken isn’t cooked well. The waitress misinformed us it was chicken breast, but when the plate came, it was, strictly speaking, chicken fillet.

Although the chicken is cooked too hard and dry and stringy, it is the fault of the ingredient. Chicken fillets are like that. Wrong choice of chicken part. My two eating companions argued that since this dish is called “chicken” on the menu, and  the chicken is cooked badly, it is a fail.

But I said that the dish should be judged as a whole, not by a part. It’s like a maths test. You can score badly in one section, but that doesn’t mean your maths is bad. You can still do well in the test if you do well in other sections. So judging this dish as a whole, not by its parts, I think it’s passable. The delicious sauce lifts up the chicken.

pocoloco-singapore-menuOur favorite dish, beetroot risotto ($11), has no meat and I’m not sure if they are using arborio rice. (If they are, the quality isn’t very good.) However, the flavors are magnificent. I don’t like the earthliness of beetroot but in the dish, the dominant flavor comes from butter, with an underlying tone of earthliness. Good al dente rice texture too.

poco-loco-ang-mo-kioThe worst dish is, we all agree, the monthly special, uni pasta ($16). It doesn’t have a piece of sea urchin. It doesn’t have the taste of sea urchin. It tastes as if it’s merely tossed in olive oil, a very greasy olio aglio.

Because of the very terrible and extremely bad uni pasta and that they don’t serve water, my two eating companions gave Pocoloco a F grade.

I, on the other hand, have a different mindset. Although we three all share  similar opinions on the dishes, my thinking varies from theirs. What is truly bad in this meal? Only the uni pasta, and that is a monthly special. It would be gone by the time this review is published, and hopefully gone forever.

If we don’t take the uni pasta into account, the meal is good. Yes, the chicken is hard and dry, but it’s not inedible and it’s only a matter of wrong choice of chicken parts; this can easily change. Besides, the other two dishes are tasty that I am sure there are some hidden gems on the menu, which we didn’t have stomach space or money to order.

Speaking of money, I don’t think it is as affordable as Pocoloco claims. We spent $60 for three persons. Although there is no gst or service charge, the portions are small; I still find it expensive because we were still hungry. (The other two wanted to cut our losses and didn’t want to order more food.) In the end, we went to the hawker centre beside Pocoloco.

Unlike my two pals, I like Pocoloco. If it is below my block, I’d return to try other pastas and risottos. But we needed to take a 20-min bus-ride from AMK central to Pocoloco and  I am too lazy to go through the hassle another time. Maybe I’ll order delivery online.

Poco Loco Singapore
Blk 408 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 #01-779, Singapore 560408
T: +65 8436 3363
12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
ONLINE DELIVERY
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Price: 6/10
Decor/Ambience: 5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.75/10
Overall rating: 3.031/5

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2 replies »

  1. Taste is personal, you guys are having the same thing and yet feed back differently. For me, I will always put taste aside and judge on the execution of the dish. eg. is the pasta al dente?, is the meat overcooked? or as simple as is the salad still cold? then of course the taste cannot be bad also. we probably over cooked the chicken but its not a mushroom sauce. Its a veloute base masala wine sauce.Thanks for your review, I am from Pocoloco. Just wanna highlight the point that Pocoloco is not cheap but affordable. We are still using the same quality ingredient as those restaurant that sell double to triple the price, as well as we hire chef instead of having a factory to produce the stock and sauces to reheat it up in the restaurant. for the risotto we are using carnaroli which is a better grain than arborio. To let more readers understand, there is no way to get a cheap burrata, parmigiano reggiano, prosciutto and the list goes on. There is a minimum price to pay when you talk about Italian food. I came out with the concept Pocoloco because I saw too many middle class walking into an Italian restaurant and order only 2 pastas and ice water, then paid more than $60 for that. I am sure the next Italian restaurant will definitely be more than 20mins away and will be double the price that we are selling. We cannot make everyone likes our food but we try the best we can from our years of experience. Thanks for the review, we really appreciate. My organisation have 2 more branding, please let me know if you can also help reviewing them.

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  2. last week, my family of 3 ate dinner there. the salad was fresh, the pasta was al dente and the sauces rich and yummy. when the bill came, the price was super reasonable. it’s worth your while if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

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