I had a small taste of Mexican food when I was holidaying in San Francisco, California, where I enjoyed the affordable but delicious variety of tacos from food trucks found throughout the city. Tacos are but a small – if iconic – aspect of Mexican cuisine; it consists of many more wonderful dishes such as tostadas, quesadillas, and ensaladas.
Some of these dishes are offered at Super Loco Customs House, a part of the Loco Group’s franchise of Mexican restaurants and bars. Found in the heart of the Central Business District, it is a short distance for workers looking for a place to eat good food and drink good alcohol at the end of the working day. The atmosphere was certainly boisterous with cheerful businessmen at neighbouring tables when I was there to taste their food.
Tortillas are an integral part of Mexican cuisine, and feature on Super Loco’s menu in many different dishes, from appetisers to desserts. One of them is the Langosta Tostada ($25+). Tostadas are crispy tortillas with toppings, kind of like an open hard taco. Our tostada was topped with chunky pieces of langosta (lobster) from Maine. The lobster was accompanied by avocado, spring onions, and celery hearts. Biting into it provided a satisfying crunch that yielded into the sweet lobster and creamy avocado. It felt like a Boston lobster roll with a crispy tortilla casing instead of a bun. Truly a scrumptious snack.
Of particular deliciousness was the Pulpo ($24), octopus barbecued with achiote, tomatillo, and coated with crumbly chorizo. It is the achiote which dyes the pulpo with its bright orange colour. I normally expect octopus to be like squid: chewy and hard to eat, but this was surprisingly firm and meaty. Of all the dishes I tried that evening, this had the most special texture and taste.
The Tlayuda Cecina ($20+) resembled a thin pizza. I love pizzas, and the Mexican version does not disappoint. The grilled tortilla is soft but crispy at the edges, and topped with paper-thin slices of air-dried wagyu, crunchy watercress, and hummus. Unlike a pizza, there is no cheese layer; the only cheese in this dish is the Oaxaca cheese squeezed over the toppings. The Australian wagyu tasted like a salty beef version of prosciutto, which complemented the beany flavour of the hummus. This is the second time I’ve seen water cress used in a restaurant dish in the past month; it seems to be the vegetable du jour like how arugula used to be.
Our last side dish was the Ensalada Granos ($8/15+), a grain bowl containing an assortment of quinoa, barley, pomegranate seeds, chia seeds, almonds, other ingredients. Crunchy and nutty, the fragrance of the dish is enhanced by by pico de gallo, a sauce made of chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander, and lime. I especially liked the addition of pomegranate seeds; they are hard until you bite them, then they burst abruptly, releasing their juices.
For the main course, we decided on the Pescado Asada con Chile Rojo y Perejil ($36+, serves 2). The name of this dish is a mouthful, but a mouthful of this locally sourced fish was just fantastic. The whole seabass was simply barbecued with salt and pepper with a sprinkling of lemon, and served alongside red and green salsas. The salsas are not spicy, but add tomato or tomatillo flavour to the fresh and juicy seabass meat. The dips could also be used with Totopos ($5+), which people associate with Doritos or nachos, but is the correct name for the triangular tortilla chips which we enjoy eating. You can also enjoy the totopos with two other dips: freshly made guacamole and spicy piña, a sauce made with habeneros and pineapple. While all four dips are fantastic with totopos, the one that I kept going back for was the spicy piña; its sour and spicy flavour was addictive.
Super Loco also has really special desserts. One of them is the Tostadas Dulce De Chocolate ($15+). This is a sweet tostada; a chocolate-coated tortilla topped with more chocolate: chocolate avocado butter, Mexican bitter chocolate ice-cream, sprinkled with cocoa nib candy. The chocolate appears to permeate throughout the tortilla, giving it a sweet and deep chocolate taste. The avocado butter and Mexican ice-cream are simply creamy and smooth, superbly made without bubbles, like gelato. A sure win for chocolate lovers.
Another great dessert is the Mezbaba ($14+). Its name is a portmanteau of meszcal, which is alcohol made from fermented agave, and ‘baba’, which is a kind of yeast cake or brioche that is usually soaked in rum. In this case, the baba is soaked with a syrup made from mescal, agave nectar, orange zest, and vanilla bean, and a dollop of chamomile ice-cream is placed on top. A thin pineapple glaze layer is balanced on top of the ice-cream to finish off this beautiful dessert. The glaze is like very sweet, hard candy, while the brioche reminded me of a soft donut, and I enjoyed eating the ice-cream with it. There is an option to douse it with more mezcal if you want a more alcoholic kick.
Super Loco also has a full bar with a wide range of Mexican alcoholic beverages, such as tequilas, margaritas, and mezcals. I went with the banana-infused mezcal ($19+), a heady banana-flavoured liquor. Best taken in sips, it took me a whole meal to finish the heady drink.
Mexico is not a typical holiday destination for Singaporeans, and hence our exposure to it comes in the form of processed snacks and franchises like Doritos and Taco Bell. It’s a joy to find a restaurant that hews more closely to the traditional fare served in Mexico with the ambience of a bar where everyone is having a good time. People here may not be very familiar with Mexican food, but they certainly enjoy it; Super Loco Customs House is only a few months old, but judging from how packed it was the evening I was there, it feels like a Mexican bar and restaurant in the middle of the Central Business District wasn’t a super crazy idea after all.
Thank you Super Loco for the invitation
Super Loco Customs House
70 Collyer Quay #01-04
Reservations: 6532 2090
12pm to 12am