Poco Loco (little crazy) is Khar’s newest tapas bar that owes its antecedents to the combination of good old Sindhi family enterprise and hospitality. Part of the Sindhi community in Spain, is young restaurateur Rohit Datwani, who runs a chain of Indian restaurants and bars in the Canary Islands. Back in India, Rohit’s uncle Dilip Datwani has been part of the hospitality industry since 1976 and he is also the president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India. “We have been going to Spain since childhood. When we saw so many Spanish restaurants open in Mumbai, we felt the time was right to open one,” says Datwani’s daughter Megha, who with her cousin has always wanted to draw from her travels to Spain to open a tapas bar in the city.
So after studying hotel management, an MBA in finance, and managing other restaurants, Megha felt the time was right to open a tapas bar in the city with her cousin. The result is the experimental Poco Loco, where the bar is headed by a fictional sombrero-wearing crazy doctor, who uses various techniques and molecular gastronomy to experiment with Spanish and Mexican food. The décor is also inspired by a laboratory, so you will see lights made of test tubes and beakers, and a wall with a fun take on the periodic table. “We make all of our tonics and infusions in-house and work with both, imported and locally sourced ingredients,” Megha tells us.
Why call it a crazy lab though we ask the owners. “We have to pare down the heat and the spices of most of our curries at our restaurants back in Spain to meet the international palate. Similarly, Indians will not be open to very authentic Spanish flavours that are high on seafood and meats. So we have to tweak our flavours a little, hence we call the space a lab,” says Rohit. The addition of Mexican cuisine to the menu is to include more vegetarian and Jain options for diners says Megha.
The Datwanis have been conscious of keeping the prices competitive to crack the Bandra restaurant scene. A classic dish you could try is Gambas Al Ajillo (₹400), served with two kinds of garlic-based dips and prawns in sizzling olive oil. Rollo de Aguacate (₹495), is a delicious avocado roll stuffed with chicken pate, no liver pate we are told as it doesn’t appeal to everyone. For some seafood crepes with salad on the side, call for Crème de Marsco Cremoso (₹300), a creamy seafood preparation with bouillabaisse sauce.
The menu includes a host of popular dishes: chimichangas, burger, tacos, croquettes, nachos and a section dedicated to bread. We love their Florentina (₹200) flatbread topped with a creamy béchamel and herbs. We also like the tempura-fried Poco Loco Prawn Tacos (₹375), which we have with their Jalapeño Martini (₹450). For those who like their drinks a little sweet, call for Reaction (₹550) from their molecular section. It’s made with cookie infused whisky, and the cocktail owes its rustic notes to smoked wood chips.
You can however, give the paella a miss as it doesn’t have enough of the necessary socarrat, the crusty crispy rice at bottom of the dish, that becomes caramelised. We end our meal on a sweet note though with delicious Churros Con Chocolate (₹225), and Chocolate Chilli Pepper Tart (₹275) – a gooey chocolate preparation with a chilli jam in the centre.
Poco Loco, noon to 1 a.m.; Navish House, Plot No. 99, S.V Road, Khar West; 9768862008