PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
One oft-quoted piece of advice from entrepreneurs is that above all else you should focus on one idea and execute it exceptionally. Do not spread yourself too thin; just do one thing and do it well. At Papi Chulo, the first Merivale restaurant to cross the bridge, restaurateur Justin Hemmes does lots of things; and he does them all very, very well. Right on Manly Wharf, Papi Chulo is part steakhouse, part Brazilian cantina and the menu takes inspiration from all over the globe.
It’s packed on weekends, it’s packed at lunchtime, and it’s packed when the ferry comes in from the city, any time after 5.30pm. If it was open for breakfast, it would probably be packed then, too. Why are Sydneysiders going nuts? It’s got to be the food. Start with something fresh like the lime cured yellow fin tuna ceviche with guacamole. Move on to the hot-stuff, such as the split jumbo king prawns, marinated in lemongrass and coconut. Then, tie-on your bib, grab a handful of napkins to wipe your sticky fingers and get stuck into the some smoky suffolk lamb ribs with Papi’s BBQ sauce. Tear the meat off the bone and stuff it into a fresh brioche roll, with a few dill pickles. This is comfort food, at its best. Especially when washed down with a coconut water, vodka, mint and lychee slushie.