We tried tapas night time at Chatham’s Mexican dive bar and music venue Poco Loco
After we turned up at Chatham’s dive-bar and dwell music venue Poco Loco for tapas night time, it was so quiet that I wasn’t certain if it was even open.
The small Mexican-themed bar is thought for placing on cabaret nights and native gigs, however in newer years it’s began providing meals too, though few folks appear to find out about it.
There’s a menu of Mexican favourites and Spanish small plates, together with three tapas dishes for £12 on Mondays.
We have been greeted by a pleasant employees member who was pulling pints for the few punters propping up the bar and, once we hesitantly requested if the kitchen was open, she fortunately led us by to the eating room.
Each the bar and restaurant space have been lined in quirky decor, together with Día de Muertos (Mexican vacation Day of the Useless) skulls, bejewelled paintings and synthetic greenery.
Thrown into the combination have been additionally cobwebs, spiders and skeletons for Halloween, though I wouldn’t be shocked if a few of it caught round after the vacations because it appeared to slot in with the remainder of the decor.
Regardless of being virtually empty, the gentle acoustic music and attention-grabbing interiors created a captivating ambiance.
Each the food and drinks menus have been pretty in depth, and we have been excited to select our tapas dishes.
Myself and my fellow diner are vegetarians and have been happy to see sufficient meat-free choices on the tapas checklist to select six separate dishes.
We chosen patatas bravas (potatoes in tomato sauce), queso croquetas (goats cheese croquettes), fungi croquetas (mushroom croquettes), tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelette), halloumi fries and vegan non-meat balls.
Sadly, the mushrooms in white wine weren’t obtainable, which I used to be gutted about, however we have been in any other case very happy with our selections and excited to see all of it specified by entrance of us.
Sadly, our server quickly returned to inform us that the vegan no-meat balls and Spanish omelette have been additionally off the menu for the night time.
It was a disgrace that just about half of the veggie choices weren’t obtainable and we needed to double up on the patatas bravas and halloumi fries, however having further potatoes and cheese is hardly a grievance.
Our drinks – a zingy passionfruit punch mocktail and a pint of Neck Oil – got here rapidly and we loved sipping them and absorbing the cool, different vibe.
Earlier than the primary meal arrived we got complimentary heat bread, punchy garlic aioli and a bowl of olives, and the remainder of the dishes arrived quickly after.
Virtually each inch of the desk was lined in tapas and we have been pleasantly shocked by the scale of the parts.
We dipped, nibbled and tasted a bit of of every part and, I’ve to say, each single factor was scrumptious.
The halloumi fries have been crispy with a sticky chilli dip and the potatoes have been well-seasoned, fluffy on the within, smothered with a wealthy tomato sauce and each have been extremely moreish.
The croquettes have been additionally very tasty. The cheese ones have been well-balanced and the goats’ cheese flavour wasn’t too overpowering, whereas the mushroom ones had a wealthy, earthy pureed filling that I liked.
For many of our meal we had your complete restaurant to ourselves and it actually felt like we’d stumbled upon a hidden gem.
The bar is within the Intra a part of Chatham, which could be thought-about one among Medway’s extra run-down areas, so maybe that is why folks don’t stumble throughout this place for dinner.
It additionally feels just like the restaurant is well missed in favour of the bar’s dwell music and, whereas I’ve had some nice nights right here watching bands and drag artists, I feel Poco Loco’s restaurant deserves simply as a lot credit score.
I’ll positively be again, and I hope that subsequent time I get to strive the vegan no-meat balls and creamy mushrooms too.
Out of 5:
Meals: We didn’t get to strive every part we wished, however the dishes we did have have been all scrumptious, with the totally different flavoured croquettes being an actual spotlight ****
Drink: My mocktail was fruity and zesty and I’d be tempted to have one of many enjoyable cocktails on provide if I wasn’t driving ***
Decor: It’s a correct different bar with Mexican sugar skulls and quirky paintings in every single place. I get the sensation it’s Halloween all yr spherical right here, and I’ve bought no downside with that. ****
Workers: Our servers have been very pleasant and smiley, though the service wasn’t tremendous speedy however we weren’t in a rush so it didn’t actually matter ***
Worth: The tapas was typically priced round a fiver a dish however, with the Monday night time deal, it got here to £12 for 3 dishes, plus a shared bowl of bread and olives, and with drinks our entire meal got here to underneath £35 – not dangerous in any respect ****