Monday, December 15, 2014

Papi Chulo: Ferry to American BBQ, Manly style

While I've crossed the Harbour Bridge more times than I can count this year (usually I can count the annual trips on my fingers and toes), the Spit Bridge is still one I only see on rare occasions. And not even on my recent visit to Manly's Papi Chulo, which can be accessed idyllically via ferry from Circular Quay (though mind the Sunday summer queues if you’ve got a reservation).

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
The American-style barbeque offerings are well known at Papi Chulo, and the menu surprised with various Asian and South American influences rolled in too.

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)
Drinks arrived during the oyster appreciation session, with the ice blended Cravado cocktail ideal for the humid day. Featuring loads of fresh mint, blitzed with ice, vodka, coconut water, lychees and lime, it reminded me of another venue's non-alcoholic slushie but ended up more watery than a proper, boozy cocktail.

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
As we were going for the signature Papi Chulo BBQ platter to share among three, we went easy on the starters and opted for the light snow crab salad, which turned out to be a delightful Thai or Vietnamese style shredded green mango salad.

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
Our small round table could barely handle the main game (which is designed for 2-4 diners) amid the share plates and drinks. A large, metal dish held the varied BBQ meat platter of all the good stuff, starting with my favourite of Ranger’s Valley wagyu beef brisket, smoky and tenderly marbled with fat.

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.

Berry sundae
We requested a birthday dessert to share, not really expecting the rough-and-tumble looking bowl of a berry sundae. With a vanilla-y ice cream showered with a mix of fresh raspberries and blackberries; freeze-dried raspberries and blueberries; minute crisp meringue drops and crumbled shortbread biscuits, it was actually quite a sophisticated take on an ice cream sundae.

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.

Papi Chulo on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

chocolatesuze said...

dat brisket! <333333

Jacq said...

Love the brisket and lamb ribs from Papi Chulo! The watermelon on that salad looks super vibrant

Amanda @ Gourmanda said...

Ooh, that sundae looks like so much fun!

Jade Graham said...

However, with the pork carnitas recipe featured here, you can make carnitas as good as any restaurant or taco truck around. In fact, Food Truck Los Angeles

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