Dining is one of the simple pleasures in life, and Keith Lee has a simple goal of making quality Italian food affordable for Singaporeans. His passion has led him to start, and fail, his very first Italian F&B venture almost 20 years ago. But that did not deter him from continuing his quest to bring culinary joy to the masses. In 2015, he founded PocoLoco with the same dream but with the experience, scalds and burns that come with being an F&B owner. Now at two locations, heartlanders can regularly enjoy high-end Italian food as a weekday staple and a weekend treat without burning a hole in their pocket.
PocoLoco’s philosophy is palpable in their food, service and ambience. The unassuming, casual dining spaces at Novena and Upper Thomson are enlivened by friends and families enjoying a good Italian meal, where food is at the heart of the experience. Fresh, home-made pasta is paired with premium imported ingredients like saffron, burrata cheese, sea urchin and truffle. At PocoLoco, quality Italian food can be enjoyed for under $20.
The Chef’s Recommendation, two recipes of Uni Tagliolini, features fresh, rich Hokkaido sea urchin lying atop loops of thin pasta strands. Choose tagliolini for a hot pasta dish served fresh from the pan, or the delicate capellini crowned with uni and Hokkaido scallops, served cold. For a different kind of seafood-y explosion, go for the Mentaiko, a bowl of tagliolini doused generously with mentaiko chubu infused in cream sauce. Meat lovers can opt for Manzo, a serving of finely sliced beef and fettuccine pasta cooked with truffle mushrooms and flavoured with truffle oil extract.
For more dining options, PocoLoco introduces a new seasonal menu of finely curated chef’s recommendations from appetisers to dessert. Dig in to Oven-Baked Mussels with Garlic, Butter and Cheese; Linguine di Mare alla Cartoccio (Baked Pasta); Honey Glaze Pork Collar with Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms Served in Mash Potato; and a lightly sweet yet decadent Cheese Cake with Hazelnut Gelato to cap off the entire experience. The menu draws on the best seasonal ingredients in the market and is available at both outlets.
Owner of PocoLoco, Keith Lee, had the privilege to experience the emergence of the fine dining Italian restaurant culture in Singapore from two decades ago, and expresses his desire to offer diners the full ristorante experience complete with fancy white table cloths and professional full table service. But he knows that his low prices do not afford the luxury that he wishes his customers could experience. “The essence of Italian cuisine is in its ingredients. Premium cheese, fresh seafood and handmade pasta are used to create classic and delicious dishes that I hope Singaporeans can regularly indulge in. Simple enjoyment does not come cheap so we focus on serving quality Italian food in a relaxed and comfortable setting in the heartlands”, he says.
He opened his first Italian restaurant when he was only 20, using his hard-earned savings which were accumulated over years of slogging through multiple part-time jobs in high-end Italian restaurants, bars, cafes and eateries. Besides savings, he earned the friendship of many chefs whom he employs today.
Executive Chef Arnold Caleon started off his illustrious career in Singapore at Alba Italian Restaurant which was previously located at Keong Saik Road. It was where he got to know Keith. He journeyed on to L’Operetta in 2014, continuing on to helm the PocoLoco kitchen when it opened in 2015.
Keith is also owner of Siam Square Mookata which has proliferated to 10 outlets island wide. His only dream is for PocoLoco to mirror the success of its sister company and make authentic Italian cuisine a familiar staple for all Singaporeans.
PocoLoco serves up a trattoria experience at Upper Thomson and Novena. Set dinner is available at both locations.
Diners can enjoy 30% off main courses between 3-5pm on weekends when they dine in at PocoLoco. This promotion runs from August to December 2020.
PocoLoco is available for delivery on the following platforms: GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo. Or reach PocoLoco directly at +65 8826 1919 to arrange for delivery.
PocoLoco Royal Square @ Novena
103 Irrawaddy Rd, #02-08, Singapore 329566
Tel: +65 8699 6664
PocoLoco Upper Thomson
215f Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574349
Tel: +65 8436 3363
Monday – Friday
Lunch 12pm – 3pm (last order 2.30pm)
Dinner 6pm-10pm (last order 9.30pm)
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday
12pm – 10pm (last order 9.30pm)