TODAY Paper (9th April 2016) review PocoLoco

SINGAPORE — Premium pasta from Italy, foie gras served with truffle cream, a fresh green salad with burrata cheese. These may read much like any other Italian restaurant menu — except at PocoLoco, the prices hardly edge past the S$15 mark.

“We wanted to open an Italian restaurant with a difference,” said PocoLoco co-owner Keith Lee. “So we opened an Italian restaurant in the heartlands serving very affordable food.”

Here, an appetiser portion of lasagne costs S$8, while the burrata salad sells for S$16 and a plate of seafood pasta with saffron sauce is priced at S$12.

Happily, the food satisfies on most counts. The sauteed prawns in butter, garlic and lemon (S$7) are fresh and sweet and sit in a light pool of melted garlic butter that is great for mopping up with slices of homemade bread (S$3).

Our crabmeat pasta (S$12) came with a good amount of crab bathed in a boldly seasoned pink sauce made with cream and tomatoes, while the squid ink pasta (S$12) boasts rings of squid that are springy and tender. The pasta itself has great texture, too. Even the chicken Milanese (S$15), comprising breaded pieces of chicken tenders served with a slightly spicy arrabiata sauce, is succulent and toothsome.

The best part is that because this no-frills restaurant sits below a block of HDB flats, you can be in your laid back best and enjoy a restaurant-quality meal without burning a hole in your pocket.

The owners, who are behind the Thai pork barbeque concept Siam Square Mookata, say they hope to open more of such restaurants in similar locations in the near future.

PocoLoco

Where: Blk 408 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, #01-779
Telephone: 8436 3363
Opening hours: Daily noon to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm