After stumbling on this and then reading this, I knew we had to make a visit to Manly and sink our teeths into Papi Chulo’s smoked maple black pepper pork belly. Oh my! Papi Chulo is a smokehouse and grill where they smoke marinated meats over wood for at least six hours recreating intense barbecue flavour that is straight from the American Deep South. The restaurant also incorporates eats from some classic South American dishes like ceviche and empanadas, alongside perfectly charred seafood, fresh summer salads and a killer cocktail list.
We skipped breakfast that morning to save stomach room for lunch hoping we’d be able to fit more in than usual.. ha ha! We can’t be the only ones with this kind of logic! We hopped on a ferry and made our way to Manly; The Stranger having been before, relaxed on board and made use of the free wifi, whereas it was a first for me, so I took in the gorgeous views from ‘the other side’ and admired the city skyline, Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Northern Sydney and the cliff side mansions/houses and luxurious private yachts and boats on the water.
As soon as we docked on the Manly wharf, I pulled out my phone to locate Papi Chulo but before I managed to type anything in, we were standing in front of the premises! Perfect. It was directly to the right as soon as we touched foot on land.
The restaurant was niceeeee! It’s the newest addition from Dan Hong amongst his list of popular restaurants in Sydney oozing the same vibe and atmosphere as Ms G’s (from our visit in 2013), but with a more bright, open, and nautical feel.
We were seated opposite window seats against a wall in the middle of one of the zoned restaurant spaces so we could get a view of the waters but we found the table for the both of us to be incredibly tight and small so we requested for a seat change. The waiter was happy to move us to a more comfortable and spacier setting up a small flight of stairs on an indoor deck towards the back of one wall – still with a view of the waters but just not as close.
Our plan of attack? Choose an entree and a main each to share and that should suffice. If we wanted more, there was always the option to order extra or get dessert. After our waiter took our order, she suggested that we get an extra side cause she didn’t think we ordered enough food so we opted for a basket of curly fries – bring on the crispy curly battered carbs! :)~
Prawn and scallop ceviche; $17.00
Mmmmmm~ our first entree was absolutely divine. Vibrant and bright in terms of visual appearances which reflected through the textures and flavours. Plump crystal bay prawns with melt in your mouth sea scallop pieces tossed together with a sweet and hot mango, chilli and coconut dressing. Oh my, did that dressing have a nice kick of heat or what (!) which was tempered down quite nicely with the cubes of sweet mango pieces and fragrant coconut. The fresh green micro herbs and small mound of taro crisps were a delightful addition too. Loved it.
Ceviche of kingfish; $17.00
This ceviche had a lot to live up to if the first was anything to go by. Cubes of fresh king fish tossed with jalapeño, celery, pineapple and the crispiest crispy corn I think I’ve ever had. So crispy and crunchy that I had to concentrate on munching each kernel down as to not munch on it mindlessly hurting my gums – crunchy in a good way of course! The heat in this ceviche was hot hot hot! A lot hotter than the one previous but very much welcomed and savoured in between gulps of water here and there. Haha. The textures were a lot more crunchier and juicier with bursts of freshness from the celery and pineapple paired with fragrant mint leaves.
Smoked maple black pepper pork belly (300 gm); $29.00
From this photo alone, I am salivating and reminiscing about how melty this pork belly was. Fatty, melty, rich goodness with a crust of smoked sweet maple and sprinkled black pepper and salt flakes. Divine. We ran out of bread before we finished the pork belly but I was happy to eat each melty slice on its own with a slathering of bbq sauce. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!
Tennessee-style hot fish sandwich; $18.00
Then this monster fish sandwich emerged! The cornmeal crusted fish was super crumbly and crunchy albeit a bit dry but stille enjoyable nevertheless. I shared half with The Stranger however my piece of the fish was on the raw side as the flesh was still translucent and clear – not sure if this was what they were going after but seeing that it was fish (sashimi), I soldiered on and ate it all. Other goodies wedged between the soft bun was spicy tartare, lettuce and pickles with the tartare sauce heavily reminiscent of the good ol’ Big Mac sauce! Not gonna lie, it was gooooood!
Curly fries; $9.00
Delicious basket of curly fries. In hindsight, we didn’t need these and left three quarters of the basket behind cause we were so full from our meal. Note to self, stick with entrees and mains only.
A delectable meal that’s worth the ferry trip! A short stroll around Manly and we were back on the waters snagging a prime bench seat at the front of the ferry as we made our way back into the CBD.
22-23 Manly Wharf
Manly NSW 2095
P 02 9240 3000