The Loco Group’s new Mexican-style chicken joint Chico Loco along Amoy Street combines hearty yet healthy grilled fare with a slew of fun, casual cocktails.
F&B operation The Loco Group – the one behind Mexican restaurants Super Loco and Lucha Loco – has a new concept in town, and it’s a rather crazy one. Chico Loco is a fast-casual joint that specialises in Mexican-style polo asado, or spit-roasted chicken. Chico Loco literally means “crazy boy” in Spanish, and we think it may refer to them plonking their newest baby along the very busy (read: brutally competitive) F&B stretch that is Amoy Street.
The folks from The Loco Group will tell you that Chico Loco aims to “buck the eat clean trend” and “shake up what it means to eat healthy”; as though to prove their point a lithe woman rocks up to the counter clad in leotards – presumably after a session at the gym or yoga – and orders a whole roast chicken. For herself.
I’m somewhat excited, mainly because the other half has been bugging me to eat better, to eat clean. But salad bowls and acai shakes aren’t exactly my thing, so Chico Loco’s approach of “fresh, guilt-free comfort food” that consists of roast chicken may be what I’m looking for.
Then the appetisers show up; there’s Nacho Fries ($13++) dripping in a chipotle cheese sauce, and the deep-fried Mexican Prawn Toast ($13++) – a take on the Chinese prawn toast you find in American Chinese eateries. They’re possibly the most unhealthy offerings on the menu; they may be tasty, but if eating clean is about making the right choices these two ain’t it.
Thankfully, the chicken comes wholly as advertised. Here the Chicken ($9+ for quarter, $17+ for half, $32+ for whole) comes in all its roasted glory, plump and glistening with juices. Chef Jason Jones, Culinary Director of The Loco Group sources organic-fed, hormone-free, and free-range chicken for his polo asado, which is marinated in spices and then rotisserie-roasted. I won’t quite call it the best chicken I’ve ever had – that honour goes to Bar-roque Grill which uses coquelet – but it certainly ranks in the top ten percentile in town. It is certainly fork-tender. For additional flavour though make sure you indulge in the sauces, the chimichurri yogurt and green peppercorn and habanero gravy in particular.
For a chicken joint though, it’s the Lamb ($12+ for 125gm, $23+) that really impressed. It’s lamb shoulder dry rubbed in spices and then spit-roasted to penultimate tenderness; even the little bits of remaining tendon have been grilled into soft submission. For those turned off by gaminess in lamb, you won’t find any of the funkiness here. It isn’t dripping with grease either.
If you want to eat clean, the ChicoSlaw ($6+) is a great accompaniment. It takes on an Asian spin with some lemongrass to scent the cabbage, mango, and green papaya-based salad, with the acidity from lime in this helps to lift the flavours of the chicken as well. Not keto friendly but absolutely delicious is Rice ($4+), which tastes like chicken rice, tossed as it is in chicken fat rendered off in the rotisserie.
I look over the next table where a dude was happily chowing down a Hot Buttermilk Chicken ($13+) sandwich; not a choice for clean eating, unless we’re talking about how he totally wiped out his meal. But yes it looked that delicious, and at that price along this stretch, pretty good on the cost performance too.
You could opt for the sparkling fruit juices, but instead I reached for the Frozen Chico Margarita and Frozen Loco Paloma ($14+ per glass, $52+ for pitcher). Both are cold, refreshing and a combination of sweet and tangy, perfect for washing down your grub. Likewise the Spritzes; the Aperol Spritz ($13+) is that little touch of refreshing bitterness you want in a blazing hot afternoon. For something more serious and boozy there’s a Dirty Negroni ($16+). Or if you’re not a fan of cocktails, they do have a range of beers on tap.
For those who don’t mind a tipple mid-day, Chico Loco is offering an extended happy hour from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays with many of its drinks going at just $11+ each. It’s not going to fit in your clean eating regime, but at least your wallet will be thankful.
Chico Loco is a great addition to the Amoy stretch offering a great lunch option at decent prices, as well as a very competitive happy hour programme. You’d be crazy not to drop in to try.
Address 102 Amoy St, Singapore 069922 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 8am to 10pm Mondays to Thursdays; 8am to 12 midnight on Fridays; 5pm to 12 midnight on Saturdays