Papi Chulo apparently means “pretty boy” or similar in Spanish. Was Justin naming the venue after himself? It’s the Merivale empire’s first move to the Northern Beaches. Looking out over Manly Wharf, the vibe is laid back, the salsa and other Latin American tunes humming in the background. Woodfire, charcoal, and smoking feature heavily on the menu, which is a mixture of South American and the “deep South of the USA” (with a very sideways twist to Vietnam for a salad). Since my better half is a vegacquarian, we didn’t try any of the BBQ meats (and I have had mixed reviews on these from friends with a few disappointed) but the seafood and vegetable dishes we tried were all great.
It’s not perfect, but there is no doubt Justin Hemmes has another hit on his hands.
Summer pea guacamole with tortilla chips. A clever idea using peas instead of avocado – it was fresh, vibrant and had a good chilli kick.
Grilled corn on the cob, smoked cheese, lime. There was also a sprinkling of paprika. Tasty combination.
Croquettes mushroom and heidi gruyere croquettes – delicious, but awfully small for $12 – should have been a few more.
BBQ baby octopus – grilled zucchini flowers, spring onions, soft herbs. The octopus was wonderfully smokey and went well with the fresh herbs, probably our favourite dish.
Jumbo king prawns, lemongrass and coconut dressing. Huuuuge prawns! And a great tangy dressing.
As sides, we got the Curly fries (crunchy but not particularly tasty) and the refreshing Vietnamese coleslaw.
Not so cool – there is a Papi Chulo burger with the works on the menu, we got a plain cheeseburger version for the offspring, and they charged us full freight for it – $18.
We finished with the warm chocolate chip cookie, vanilla malt ice-cream, butterscotch sauce, macadamia brittle. It’s a rich dessert so good for two to share. Particularly loved the texture and flavour of the macadamia brittle.
Papi Chulo, 22-23 Manly Wharf,Manly ph (02) 9240 3000