Alex: This article is slightly delayed due to my busy uni schedule but nevertheless! A couple of weeks ago myself, Vanessa, and Bianca went on our first restaurant adventure as food bloggers, Vanessa’s fiancé and a food connoisseur himself decided to join us as well, so we figured what better place than Merivale’s ‘Papi Chulo‘.
Papi Chulo is Merivale’s first restaurant on the North Shore sitting graciously on the wharf of Manly. The restaurant’s design concept is spry and fresh with an exciting atmosphere to match. Justin Hemmes, CEO of Merivale has hit the nail on the head, yet again creating another masterpiece and quite possibly the hottest upcoming restaurant of 2014.
Before we arrived, I think it was safe to say that we all had quite high expectations of Papi Chulo (loosely translated as Pretty Boy). We were greeted by a beautiful waitress (it was funny, we seemed to notice that everyone that worked there was young & attractive) who proceeded to show us to our table… if you could even call it that. The table was more like a coffee table size with backless stools that were quite low and uncomfortable, We needed to have the waiter bring a fifth seat at the head of the table so we could put some of our food on it, that was a bit awkward and uncomfortable BUT I can look past that.
The French waiter that looked after us was great, he was attentive and gave us some really great pointers whilst we were umming and ahhing over the menu. As we went down the list and told him what we wanted he continue to agree and say yes, to which Vanessa asked, “do you need to write this down?”. That’s the one thing that always makes me nervous, when waiter’s don’t write anything down, especially when we ordered so much food! but he got everything right so kudos to him!
To share, we ordered the Empanadas ($12) filled with wild greens, raclette and tomato jam. The deliciously crunchy pastry with latched on salt flakes are undeniably a killer starter that gets better after every bite, add a dashing of the tomato jam and it’s practically perfect.
We also got the Grilled Corn on the Cob with smoked cheese and lime. They were perfectly cooked with a real charming zesty taste that lingered in your mouth…in a good way! The shaven smoked cheese on top created a great unison of flavours between the zest and smokiness of the cheese. Yum yum!
For mains we ordered the Smoked pork Cuban sandwich ($18) with barbecue sauce, smoked ham, mozzarella, mustard mayo and pickles on a toasted baguette. and a side of curly fries ($9)
The baguette was a killer especially with the smoked pork which worked harmoniously along with the mustard mayonnaise. The curly fries were addictive, but a bit undercooked for my liking.
The piéce de résistance on the menu is the Papi Chulo BBQ platter ($86) which includes a half rack of pork ribs, 150gm each of wagyu brisket, chopped pulled pork and pork belly, served with pickles and soft bread.
What an amazing platter. The brisket, pulled pork, and ribs were some of the best that I have ever had. They were unbelievably soft and succulent and were indeed a melt in your mouth moment. The pork belly I was not a fan of at all, but I believe that the smokey flavour of the pork belly is very particular and is either something you love or hate. When looking at it you think the price is a bit steep but it’s worth every dollar. I can’t wait to go back and stuff the pulled pork in the soft bun again!
It’s evident from the menu that Papi Chulo is a very high protein restaurant with it’s southern American cuisine so in order to balance the flavours we also got a side of the Vietnamese Coleslaw ($8) that was definitely needed in order to continue eating more meat!
It was impossible to even consider getting desert after all the food we ate, so we’ll save that for next time, we were shocked however when Vanessa asked the waiter for a coffee, to which he replied “We don’t do coffee”. I’m pretty sure Ness’s mouth almost hit the floor she was so surprised. It is quite odd considering most restaurant’s nowadays will have the option of coffee’s/teas etc..
Despite some evident flaws Papi Chulo is indeed a hip and interesting restaurant that will most likely only get better as it ages and ‘irons out the kinks’. A surprising and innovative creation that I would recommend to anyone… and with a view like this as you’re sitting and munching on those ribs…what could be better?
How could you not be tempted.
Until next time