Chico Loco: The Loco Group's new Mexican fast-casual dining concept of roast chicken and lamb cuts
Fast food 2.0
It might appear that amidst the progressive state of the F&B realm in Singapore, betwixt deconstructed desserts and smoke shows on plates, we've neglected the magic of the age-old roast, still in situ after all this time. No fine plating, slightly battered with grease stains, and yes bones everywhere to mess with your perfect Instagram flat lay.
The Loco Group recognised this gap with their latest Mexican concept, Chico Loco. A third one, after consistent success with Lucha Loco and Super Loco. And this one stands out in a good way. Fronting a fast-casual service approach — speedy enough to feed the lunchtime folks at Amoy Street — where diners order their food at the counter and wait to be served. Any main roasts will take an average of three to four minutes. You can tout it as fast food — just that it's done healthier and so much better. The kind that won't induce you to a food coma, or gets you questioning if the meal will go straight to your thighs.
Moving past the 'clean eating' movement, Chico Loco sports a new marketing catchphrase (gasps!): Dirty health. Dirty in a way that you're getting slightly charred roasted chickens and lamb straight from a spit, add to that, a hoard of spices and rubs enveloped within the meat juices. Healthy in a way that all the birds are antibiotic-free, hormone-free, cage-free and organic-fed. On top of that, sans the MSG. All sauces and dressings that accompany the grub here are made with avocado oil, rich in antioxidants and healthy fat.
"Chicken is a primary protein that has been scandalised for far too long, where countless disappointed Singaporeans have dug into dry, rubbery, poor quality chicken, and then wishing they had ordered the beef instead," quips chef and culinary director of The Loco Group, Jason Jones.
Chico Loco's chickens are first brined for ten hours in an umami solution featuring agave nectar, following by a secret house rub of 11 ingredients, including the likes of Mexican ingredients like achiote, dried oregano and mustard power. After then, they head to the spit where they're roasted over a naked flame. What comes out on the table is a fork-tender bird that's tasty but not overtly seasoned. At the end of the day, the worth of the chicken comes through.
And while they do a mean spit-roasted chicken, make sure to call for their dry rubbed lamb shoulder. It's smokey, comes with an easy bite, without the gaminess to throw off your taste buds. Other alternative big plates include a spicy fried buttermilk chicken sandwich (if you're craving McDonalds) and a massive chicken taco. Sides are a must-have — to that we say go big on Chicoslaw, a Thai-inspired salad of mango and green papaya strips, rosemary salt fries and their signature rotisserie fat rice. An uncanny resemblance to the Asian chicken rice, just that it's spiked with cubes of green tomato — a splash of tart coursing through every time you bite into one of them. A subtle, simple treat we can have for days.
102 Amoy St, Tel: 9738 7828
Opening hours: (Mon-Thurs) 8am-10pm, (Fri) 8am-12am, (Sat) 5pm-12am