New Restaurant on The Block #2:
Papi Chulo, Manly

Visited on the 4th of January 2014.

We’re only a two weeks into 2014 and I already have a contender for ‘most spontaneous’ dinner of the year. This is how I ended up at Papi Chulo on Saturday evening:

@vnsssss: Been to Papi Chulo in Manly yet?
@philsosophyy: *looks up the menu online* Omg dat menu. I die. Is it any good?
@vnsssss: my friends went yesterday; they all said it was good!
@philsosophyy: I’m free today, you want to go?

*Nek Minute* We were at Papi Chulo for dinner.

Located on Manly Wharf, Papi Chulo is a smokehouse which focuses on South American BBQ and dishes on offer are inclusive of Tennessee-style hot fish sandwiches, ribs, smoked maple black pepper pork belly and ceviche.

Papi Chulo Logo

Outside Papi Chulo

Outside Papi Chulo

Papi Chulo at Capacity!

View from our walk-in seat

Papi Chulo Menu Cover

Ceviche of ora king salmon – jalapeno, celery, pineapple and crispy corn ($17)

Close up of the salmon ceviche

Crispy corn was something I used to snack on when I was younger and I would never have imagined crispy corn to be paired with salmon. But to my surprise, the crunch from the corn was a pleasant textural contrast with the fresh chunks of salmon! Overall I found the ceviche was tart, refreshing and flavourful; it was nice to begin the meal with something light.

For those who are concerned about the heat from the Jalapeno, there’s no need to be; the seeds were removed from the Jalapenos and they only had a tiny bit of heat.

Prawn and scallop ceviche – crystal bay prawns, sea scallops, mango, chilli, coconut dressing ($17)

Close up of the prawn & scallop ceviche

Underneath the hash were giant scallop pieces and fresh prawns. The flavours in this ceviche were different to the salmon ceviche and I found this one to have a slightly creamy dressing. Overall, I enjoyed the scallop and prawn ceviche but my preference still goes to the salmon ceviche if I had to pick one.

Smoked hot wings – comeback sauce ($16)

I tried my first chicken wing without the ‘comeback’ sauce and although it had a some flavour, I didn’t find it to be spicy. I then decided to douse my second chicken wing with comeback sauce and it felt like a round-house kick to my face! Okay I’m being a little melodramatic, but I would suggest sampling the sauce being generously smothering your first wing in it =p. The wing itself had slightly crisp skin whilst the inside managed to stay moist and overall, the dish was pretty yummy.

Smoked wagyu brisket sandwich – spicy celery pickle, caramelised onions, horseradish mayo, fried egg, soft bun ($18)

A generous pile of beef brisket stuffed inside a soft bun with a fried egg and mayo… I don’t need to talk this up; this sandwich was as delicious as it sounds. The brisket was extremely tender and paired well with the other elements in the sandwich. I really enjoyed this sandwich overall had no regrets ordering this whatsoever!

DSC_6128Inside the brisket sandwich

Tennessee-style hot fish sandwich, cornmeal crusted fish, spicy tartare, lettuce, pickles, soft bun ($18)

I haven’t had many seafood/fish burgers in the past but they’re beginning to grow on me. The fry on the fish was really good with a super crispy exterior encasing a flaky & moist fish fillet. What really made this for me was the tartare sauce; it had lots of pickled bits in it and a really great overall flavour. This was my favourite of the two sandwiches but the brisket does come in a very close second.

Inside the fish sandwich

Tres leches cake, fresh peaches and berries ($14)

I didn’t know what ‘tres leches’ meant until my friend explained that it translates to ‘three milks’ cake. Out came a slice of cake topped off with cream and berries and to my surprise, the cake itself was quite airy and light! The berries were sweet & tart, the cake was slightly sweet and the cream added a little richness. I can’t really compare this to other tres leches cakes (as I’ve never had one before) but as far as desserts go, this was yummy!

Passionfruit and mango sundae – passionfruit ice-cream, mango sorbet, mango, passionfruit sauce, whipped cream ($14)

I must say, this dessert read really well on the menu but didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had for it. If you feel like mango, ice cream and passionfruit, you should still go for this dessert because it did taste good. Although this dessert was very fruity, light and refreshing, the sundae didn’t excite me like the rest of the dishes did. My preference goes towards the tres leches cake :).

Ambiance: The venue had a fun & casual vibe but it was quite noisy during my visit (note that the venue was packed). The décor was modern, clean and pleasant; I felt very comfortable dining at Papi Chulo, even at a walk-in table. There’s an abundance of seating space and I think this venue could cater to a group of virtually any size.

Service: The service during my visit was quite good. The wait staff were helpful, friendly and insightful in regards to the menu. There was a little miscommunication between the kitchen and wait staff; our waiter said he would ask the kitchen to cut our sandwiches in half (for sharing) but our first sandwich came whole and our chicken wings were forgotten in our order.

That being said, the miscommunications were promptly resolved which was really good to see.

Final Thoughts: The food was delicious, the vibe & décor were comfortable and service was friendly. There’s a lot to like about this new BBQ joint in Manly and it’s great to see some good food reaching this beach! Papi Chulo is far from what people would deem a ‘tourist trap’ and I hope to see more joints like this pop up around Sydney.

I had a great first experience at Papi Chulo and the return factor is here for me, I can’t wait to return to try some of their BBQ!

Papi Chulo
22-23 Manly Wharf
Manly NSW 2095


Phone: (02) 9240 3000

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Papi Chulo on Urbanspoon


  1. Unfotunately I had the opposite experience there. Went in large group , service was slow and lazy , and the food is while ok is extremely overpriced along with the booze. Hugo’s around corner much better value .

    • Sorry to hear that Ash :(!

      I really thought they would have come through with a large group.

      I’m yet to try Hugo’s in manly but my friend says it’s good too, I’ll give that a try as well next time I’m in Manly :)

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