The team behind the dearly missed Barrio Chino is returning to the Cross with a Mexican restaurant called Chula (slang for “beautiful” or “hot”).
Peter Lew (Fei Jai and Nicole Galloway are out to break the belief that Sydney lacks a genuine Mexican food scene.
The menu purposely lacks burritos and guacamole of the American-Mexican kind. “There’s so many different layers of Mexican food. We want to look at the regional cuisines and do something a bit different,” says Lew.
Instead diners will see ceviche, tostadas, whole fish grilled over charcoal and Chula’s traditional Oaxacan tlayuda – a Mexican spin on a pizza with a tortilla base laden with pureed black beans and smoky charcoal meat.
The chef is yet to be announced but we do know it’ll be a big import from Mexico City.
Reece Griffiths, founder of The Agave Cartel (a collective of like-minded agave lovers and industry professionals), will lead the bar. He has designed a mezcal- and tequila-heavy cocktail list with a strong focus on seasonal fruit and indigenous Mexican ingredients. The wine list leans towards textural and aromatic wines to complement the lively food.
Joshua Clapp from Steel + Stitch is behind the design (Lobo Plantation), which mimics the vibrant colours of Acapulco and Tulum in the Mexican countryside. Earthy tones and raw textures create quirky, old-world charm. “We’ll have a lot of greenery,” says Lew.
Chula will also have a large back bar that reflects “farmacias” or pharmacies found in Mexican country towns, featuring a hand-tiled mural, agave plants and succulents.
Chula will open in the old Hugo’s Pizza site in Kings Cross this October.