Two things I love: tap bars and burritos. So guess how happy I was when I heard about a place downtown serving both craft beer and Mexican food. But if that sounds too good to be true, well, it is.
The place: apparently new, but it doesn’t feel it. Everything feels a little second-hand, smudged and smeared. Even the menu is little more than a rumpled pile of papers. And there’s the colors: heavy purples, paintings of Mariachi men and bright colored throws. It’s outdated, banal and gives you a headache. The fact that all this is pitted against flimsy furniture and black wall cladding from the PRL and you have a venue that feels dismal and depressing. You’d appreciate it if this was 1993 in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, but it isn’t.
The food: who cares about the design if the food is good. But here, it really isn’t. The first great big blinking hazard is the lunch special: nothing to do with Mexico, instead find an offer of Russian pierogi and kotlet schabowy. Handed a pile of rumpled papers – that is, the menu – I go for a burrito, my colleague enchiladas. Both fall below average. Mine, a pile of stodge wrapped in a dry tortilla. The mango habanero salsa it comes with is limp, watery and generally lifeless. Opposite me, my colleague is equally unimpressed: “the kind of food,” he says glumly, “you used to find on campus.” The overall feeling, it’s not so much a Mexican wave as a Mexican grave.
The drinks: our waitress is clearly from the Euro-lager generation and doesn’t have a clue about these funny craft beers they serve. That’s not a problem, because we do. And we like them. There’s 12 or so taps, and that includes a brilliant brew from Hopium: Jean Hop Van Damme. That the staff aren’t beer nerds doesn’t matter, at Loco you find great drinks delivered cold and without further incident. Sure, it’s not the best selection you’ll ever find, but for an off-center place it’s more than palatable. Thumbs up.
The verdict: the design is pure acid trip, the food is dismal and the service a little lost. If you look beyond that, then Loco does have redeeming factors: the beer is fab, and that’s good enough for some. Despite my misgivings, if I lived in the vicinity I’d probably return. Thing is though, I don’t.
ul. Grójecka 27