20 November 2014

Loco Chino. Minus the Chino

'So Cheap!', I exclaimed to Bee as we entered this month old eatery, and I read the menu on display at the counter. Loco Chino is Carter Road's latest entrant, where Shawarma is king, and eateries get replaced on a daily basis. Now you eat it, now you don't. Loco Chino sits pretty on a space which was previously occupied by a short lived bakery.  I sincerely hope it stays longer than it's predecessor because not only is it a welcome break from the Shawarmas and yogurts, but it's also very easy on the pocket. Read on for the full story!

The tiny place can seat twelve people comfortably, with a lot of their business operating via take-away as it was evident that night. The space is a burst of color with pretty, colorful caricatures of Mexican and Chinese characters painted on one wall. The tables have mosaic counters, and the salt-pepper shakers are shaped like sombreros. Ola! My favourite feature of the interiors were the dimsum baskets that got converted into overhead lamps. And if that is not enough, the servers insist on wearing huge sombreros. Ask nicely and they'll let you wear one and take selfies.

Dimsum Basket Lamp
Salt Pepper Shakers
As the name suggests, Loco Chino serves Mexican and Chinese, two cuisines that are rarely paired together. Thankfully, there's no Mexican-Chinese fusion dishes here! The menu is pretty basic and focuses on a few dishes - Dimsums, curries, khaoswey in the Oriental section and Nachos, Tacos, Quesedillas, Fajitas and Burritos in the Mexican. We stuck to the Mexican fare that night, because Mexican dining options are limited in the city compared to Chinese. And I was really craving nachos!

The Veg Fiesta Nachos (Rs. 149/-) was a merry mix of store bought nacho chips topped with guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and generous helping of sour cream. What I enjoyed was that the nacho chips were evenly coated with the toppings, and at no point did we eat a dry chip. The server also brings you extra salsa and guacamole if you ask nicely. I judge Mexican restaurants by how well they make guacamole, and Loco Chino does a lovely, chunky spread. 

Veg Fiesta Nachos
We ordered the Chicken Quesedilla priced at Rs. 119/-, not expecting much. But we got four pieces of tortillas filled with a spicy chicken and cheese filling. Not as cheesy as the one you'd eat at Sancho's, but still really good. Absolute paisa vasool dish considering the price point. I'd order this one again!

Chicken Quesedilla
 Another favorite was the Chicken Burrito Bowl (Rs. 169/-) which is basically a burrito without the outer tortilla wrap. We got to trek upto the counter and assemble our bowl from scratch. We got spicy Mexican rice to go at the bottom, refried beans, chicken, sour cream, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, chipotle salsa, and some more cheese. The result was a fun mix of all your Mexican staples, in a convenient container to eat on the go. 

Burrito Bowl
Assembly Counter
As our luck had it, their air conditioning had stopped functioning that night. Add the salsa sweats to a non functioning A.C., we were thirsty out of our mind. Loco Chino does not serve water. No! It is the second restaurant I have come across on Carter Road recently that refused us when we asked for a glass of water. (The first being Big Burger.) We were forced to buy a 50 rupees, tiny bottle of Mulshi spring water which we finished in one gulp. No Bisleri or Aquafina even! That was our only complaint in an otherwise fun meal. 

Budget Bites: We paid 509 bucks between the two of us, which is totally value for money considering the quality and taste of the food. Loco Chino has decent Mexican fare, and it's a attempt to  bridge between fast food Mexican outlets and higher end restaurants. Also considering how starved we are for Mexican options, this place may work.

Both Bee and I were sure we would stop by again, to try out the dimsums and KhaoSwey next and complete the missing half of this post. Except that I'll carry my own bottle of water. 

Contact: Loco Chino, 389, A Wing, Gagangiri Premises Co-Operative Society, Carter Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.
Phone: 022 65006544

(The author dined anonymously and paid for her own meal.)

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