One is a bright, gleeful Mexican brunch winner. Another is a fuss-free, casual tacqueria with a buzzy vibe. So, when the founders of the Loco Group decided to bring their successful formula of Lucha Loco and Super Loco to the prim frontage of Marina Bay catering to the staid suit-and-jacket crowd, we wonder if they had inadvertently crashed their own party. After all, the Tan brothers are known for their bubbly, surfer-dude personalities.
While we hate to admit it, Super Loco at Customs House may have just pioneered its own new niche. Surely, after one year on the job, Culinary Director Jason Jones must have been dying to bring back his signature strokes from the Melbournian institution he has become synonymous with – Mamasita. His contemporary take on Mexican favourites threatens to dethrone El Mero Mero as the only other serious contender in this space.
Or perhaps, we are a little biased with the stunning vistas of the Bay (opt for the banquettes nearest the kitchen for the best mix of comfort and views). Or the lovely bar programme that sets both tequila-and-mezcal nerds and the classy cocktail drunk on fire (the Coco Mojo, $17, is coconut and tequila on crack, in a good way).
But really, it’s the food. Flavour is the order of the day, but balance is not too far down in priority. Soft-shell crab crunch meets pineapple tang ($14), and green chilli spice greets caramelised pumpkin sweetness ($8), in two outstanding taco iterations that are a notch more refined than elsewhere in the Loco Group, but trades down nothing else. Healthful ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt and tamarind feature strongly in the salad section, another peek at Chef Jones’ Australian sensibilities. But mind you, they are bloody tasty – a quinoa-barley-pomegranate-basil mix ($15) is an eat-clean option that will put Salad Stop to shame.
It would have been tempting to serve its mains in dainty portions on big plates, but that may have been missing the point of Super Loco. A massive, whole barbecued seabass ($46) is mucho fresh and sweet, accompanied by two flavoursome dips – one tomato-based, another tomatillo-based. But sadly, another huge platter of pork belly ($32) looks like a smash-hit, but suffers from somewhat dry pork. An accompanying black bean hummus lacks salt and is also badly plated in a gloop. What is prettily plated is a tres leches dessert ($13) that may be too pretty for its own good – when deconstructed, the trio of milks lose a sponge to soak it all up, rendering it perhaps too sweet for the local palate.
We’re 100% confident that Super Loco at Customs House will send their opening glitches packing. It’s an endearing place where it doesn’t matter if you feel like wearing a corporate hat or a Sombrero hat, whether you prefer cozying up in the romance of the starry night, or drinking up a stupor with fellow buddies. You can be as comfortable as you want, even though it is decidedly upmarket. After all, it’s where you can go super loco.
Super Loco Customs House is located at 70 Collyer Quay, #01-04, Singapore 049323, p. 6532 2090. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-12am, Sat 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.