[Penang] Spanish tapas from Un Poco Loco, City Junction

Friday lunch at one of the newest dining spots in town: 𝗨𝗻 𝗣𝗼𝗰𝗼 𝗟𝗼𝗰𝗼, a small Spanish tapas bar by the team behind Au Jardin, is located at City Junction in Tanjung Tokong.

Started off our lunch with some Sangria:

Our 𝙩𝙖𝙥𝙖𝙨 spread:
:small_orange_diamond: Red pepper parfait with chicharrón. The peppery mousse was the perfect foil for the crisp shard of deliciousness which we could not get enough of.

:small_orange_diamond: Baked cheese with onion marmalade. A baked Brie is hardly “Spanish”, but rather a reflection of the kitchen crew’s French training.

:small_orange_diamond: Red capsicum croquettas.

:small_orange_diamond: Jamon Serrano, melon and rocket.

:small_orange_diamond: Patatas bravas.

:small_orange_diamond: Grilled whole Norwegian mackerel.

:small_orange_diamond: Paella Roja with seafood. Without a doubt, the best paella I’d come across in Penang, where a couple of other Spanish wannabes churned out half-hearted versions.
The rendition here was perfect, down to the coveted crust at the bottom of the pan.


:small_orange_diamond: Churros with cacao & butterscotch sauce. We were “forewarned” that the churros here have moist centres - probably because previous customers have thought they were undercooked and sent them back. These were quite delish - the moist and dense in the middle, almost akin to a French canelé. Quite a unique rendition.

:small_orange_diamond: Kahlua con leche.

:small_orange_diamond: Crema Catalana. The version here was surprisingly quite “lemony” - another surprise. Tasty nonetheless.

Overall, an interesting and hugely enjoyable meal. Certainly trumped the other Spanish dining options in town.

Un Poco Loco
2-3-6, City Junction (Level 3 Atrium B), Persiaran Lengkuas 2, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
Tel: +6016-214 7591
Opening hours: 11.30am-3.30am, 5.30pm-8.30pm Mon-Tue, Fri-Sun. Closed on Wed & Thu.


Back to Un Poco Loco again today, to try out more tapas options from its menu:

:small_orange_diamond: Potato-and-egg tortilla with sour cream - I love this dish, but the rendition here was a bit on the dry side - almost as if it was cooked much earlier, then re-heated upon order. Surely they won’t do that here?!

:small_orange_diamond: Spanish jamon y queso croquettas (ham and cheese croquettes) - these were delicious: crisp batons filled with melted cheese and diced ham. The golden exterior shattered at the lightest bite, letting the delicious filling ooze out. Perfectly executed.

:small_orange_diamond: Deep-fried octopus tentacles - not a big fan of octopus, but these were very tasty.

:small_orange_diamond: Gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) - tastiest rendition of this dish I’d had in Penang: ultra-fresh prawns, with the gentlest touch of garlic, unlike the in-your-face, vampire-burning garlic-overload versions one tends to find elsewhere in Penang.

:small_orange_diamond: Arròs negre (squid ink paella) - I’ll come back to Un Poco Loco again and again for their paella: cooked patiently till one gets the lovely rice crust at the bottom, whilst the toppings were perfectly cooked.
My first experience with arròs negre was back in 2004 when I was in Barcelona for a one-month work assignment. On Day One, the dish tasted odd. By the time I left the city, I loved the dish so much, I bought a paella pan so I can cook it myself when I got back to Singapore.
In those years, one could never find authentic Spanish food in Singapore - the turning point was 2012 (8 years later) when a group of elBulli alumni (including the head chef and maitre’d who both worked at elBulli for a decade each before Ferran Adria shuttered it) came to Singapore, and showed Singaporeans how real Spanish food should taste.

:small_orange_diamond: Fried milk with vanilla ice-cream - okay, this is weird, but my first taste of this dish was actually at Mayflower Chinese restaurant in London Chinatown back in 1992! This tasted exactly the same - don’t ask me how it turned up as a dessert in a Spanish tapas bar!
Very tasty, though!

:small_orange_diamond: Butterscotch apple puff with vanilla ice-cream - another item which would look more at home in an American diner than a Spanish eatery. But it was, hands-down, the best dessert I’d tasted in my two visits here.