Sydney’s appetite for Cantonese food and dumplings is insatiable. Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has seen the cuisine's popularity first hand through the relentless turnover of tables at his two-level CBD Cantonese Mr Wong and Enmore’s Queen Chow. Queen Chow alone serves between 2500 to 3000 dumplings a week.
Now Hemmes is hoping Manly has a similar fervour for the cuisine; he’s closing Papi Chulo on Sunday April 29 to make way for Queen Chow Manly.
“We have had a lot of fun at Papi these past four years but felt the time was right to evolve the space and its offering. Queen Chow has been a tremendous success in the inner west, so we’re going to take the very best bits from there and create something really special for Manly,” said Hemmes in an official statement.
The Deep-South barbeque menu is out and a concept similar to the Enmore pub’s offering of pots of tea, roast meats, live seafood and a decadent dim sum is in. The space will remain light-filled and will have harbour views, a rarity for Cantonese restaurants in Sydney.
To say goodbye Papi Chulo is unveiling a “best of” menu in its final weeks: a mixtape of the dishes that have lodged themselves in our memories: pea guacamole; mushroom-and-spinach croquettes; roast cauliflower with romesco brown-butter crumbs and parmesan; hot wings; Wagyu brisket; and more. The Papi Chulo burger will now be served with grain-fed beef, bacon, American cheese, tomato, lettuce and pickles.
“Papi Chulo had a lot of bangers on her menu over the years and this is our way of giving Manly locals and our regulars one last bite,” says executive chef Patrick Friesen, who will be joining “dumpling master” Eric Koh of Queen Chow (who was also the head dumpling chef at Mr Wongs when it first opened) to shape the new restaurant. “Quite a few old-timers have made a comeback. I can’t wait to have the porchetta again.”
Papi Chulo will close on April 29. Queen Chow is slated to open in early July after a short refurbishment.