One of the more recent additions to the Merivale portfolio, I finally got the chance and fellow willing ferry travellers together to visit the waterside venue (where way back, I’d once attended a Chinese banquet wedding reception!).
|Oysters at Papi Chulo, Manly Wharf, Manly|
Looking picture perfect on ice in a metal dish, we started with well-sized Pacifics which were lovely and briney on their own with lemon, but improved significantly with the tart but well-balanced mignonette dressing featuring a fine dice of green apple.
|Cravado cocktail (left) and Bloody Maria (right)|
The Bloody Maria was a winner though with its almost comical garnish of a large, fresh peeled prawn. The house tomato and spice mix was standout and definitely on the upper end of the spice heat scale; stirred well with tequila and mezcal and served in a huge glass with lots of ice.
|Snowcrab, green mango, watermelon, herbs, peanuts, chilli lime dressing|
With lashings of fresh mint and coriander, roasted peanuts and a bang-on chilli lime dressing, the snow crab flesh shone amid the subtly sweet green mango and chunks of bright red watermelon in the summer-perfect salad.
|Papi Chulo BBQ platter|
The also fatty Suffolk lamb ribs were super smoky, and we could have polished off well over the 150 gram serving. There were serious rows of fat in the free-range pork belly slices although the maple black pepper was a bit lost on me.
Last was the Kurobuta pulled pork shoulder and as much as I’m a bit over pulled pork, this particularly smoky rendition made for a superb sandwich in the soft bread roll with coleslaw.
The Vietnamese coleslaw comes as part of the BBQ platter – a crunchy red cabbage slaw that was a pleasingly mayo-free zone – and we added a side of curly fries: proper loops and tubes of curled, crunchy potato fries, best dipped into the BBQ sauce that accompanied the platter.
Over the remnants of our Pachamama Riesling, we noticed the range of seating options and the more linger-friendly bar counter or booths. The middle aisle tables are fine for waiting out the next ferry though, which is how the rest of our lunch played out.
Thoroughly stuffed with BBQ and all the wonderful additions, it was a short roll to the ferry wharf and its Sunday queues. With soft waves and salty air in our hair, it was a day trip ferry well spent over in Manly.