Super Loco Customs House

Our team goes undercover to suss out the latest and most talked about restaurants in town
By Eunice Lew
Published on Monday, 05 Dec 2016

The third venture of The Loco Group departs slightly from their Robertson Quay outlet’s more mainstream options to offer creative interpretations of Mexican cuisine, with a healthier slant. Super Loco Customs House scored a great location with unobstructed views of the Marina Bay waterfront, but here’s a tip: request for a seat away from the ‘air wall’ between the indoor and al fresco areas. I learnt the hard way that my food cooled too quickly, serviettes flew all over the place, and I had trouble hearing my companions over the constant gush of cool air.

That aside, my meal started on a pleasant note with sweet, piquant elotes ($7), and crispy totopos (yellow corn chips, $5) that were consistent with what I always ordered at Super Loco Robertson Quay. Heavy dippers will appreciate the con todo ($19) platter, which pairs totopos with four salsas. I kept going back to the roja ($3), a smoky and tangy tomato and chipotle concoction, while the spicy piña (charred habanero and pineapple, $5), verde (tomatillos with green chillies, $4) and guacamole ($5) could be improved – they were too saccharine, watery, and bland respectively.

Surprisingly, the salads were the highlights. The calabacin salad ($15) with thinly sliced grilled zucchini, green figs, almonds, creamy queso fresco cheese crumbs and tequila-infused raisins (for an unexpected boozy kick) was a party in the mouth. Quinoa, pearl barley, broccoli buds, chia seeds and pico de gallo in the ensalada granos ($8/15) made for a wholesome, textural grain bowl I happily chowed down without any guilt.

Pescado asada con chile rojo y perejil (barbecued whole sea bass)

And what’s a Mexican meal without tacos? Super Loco’s uses soft, hand-pressed corn tortillas. Our choice of de calabaza ($8) was positively delightful with its charred, caramelised pumpkin cubes, crunchy cashew granola and mildly spicy green chilli yoghurt. Reactions to the tostadas were more mixed; our main gripe was that they arrived slightly soft. Though topped with generous chunks of succulent pulled pork (which weren’t ‘pulled’ enough), the carnitas tostada ($15 for two) needed more apple matchsticks and serrano chilli chutney to cut through and balance each hearty mouthful. I loved the intense smokiness of Mexican truffle in the huitlacoche tostada ($14 for two), but corn smut isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – my companions were more ambivalent about its earthy flavours. We agreed that more goat cheese was needed to pull the tostada together.

Topped with an enticing mix of huitlacoche jus and smoked jalapeño mayo, the Angus skirt steak ($40) at Customs House is comparable to the version at Robertson Quay, a crowd favourite. Pescado asada con chile rojo y perejil (barbecued whole sea bass, $46) is also worth a try for its flaky, fork-tender flesh, especially when drizzled with lime juice.

After a heavy meal, we welcomed the dessert of coconut and lime sorbet ($4, sorbet differs from day to day), but its execution was inconsistent. On my first visit, the icy treat barely had a hint of lime within and only a light smattering of coconut flakes, while my second experience fared much better with its sweet-sour lime nuances and more coconut. The Mezbaba ($14), a riff of the rum baba from Lorraine, also helped alleviate our fullness with chamomile ice cream, candied almonds, pineapple glaze, and brioche doused with a syrup of mezcal, agave nectar, orange zest and vanilla.

Don’t expect too much of the waitstaff – the restaurant doesn’t charge for service, so you get both nonchalant and attentive servers. Though Super Loco Customs House had both ups and downs, I’m optimistic that the joint will be a hit with diners, as long as the kitchen team continues to refine their dishes. #01-04 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay. Tel: 6532 2090

Food: 6.5/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambience: 8/10
Average dinner bill for two, with drinks: $160
Must-tries: Grilled Zucchini Salad, Angus Skirt Steak, and Caramelised Pumpkin Taco.

Book a table at Super Loco Customs House with Chope.