It’s a question the Bondi set has been asking for weeks thanks to the brightly coloured posters heralding his arrival. Luis Tan is a 1960s Peruvian hustler determined to lure you into his unusual living room, just a stone’s throw from the ocean. He serves South American snacks and drinks with an Asian twist.
The 120-seat venue, tucked between Campbell Parade and Gould Street, is the result of a collaboration between Raul Gonzales, Shane Moran, Nathan Joliffe and Ryan Ginns – a foursome with impressive credentials. Gonzales is behind Potts Point’s Backroom and Surry Hills’ Brooklyn Social; Moran’s bar experience includes Ruby Rabbit, White Revolver and Canteen – his dive-bar project with Joliffe. Ginns worked as design coordinator at The Grounds of Alexandria.
“Luis Tan is a character we created,” Gonzalez says. “He didn’t have a lot of money, but made his way in the world, embarking on a career in politics and giving back to his community – kind of like Robin Hood. Then he married into a wealthy Japanese family and that’s where the fusion starts.
Step inside and you’ll discover eclectic furnishings and contrasting design elements that reflect both the Peruvian and Japanese influence alongside personal items such as pictures of Tan’s wife. On the menu, you’ll find ceviche and pinxos created by Venezuelan head chef Alejandro Franco Lancini, and drinks ranging from South American rums and piscoes, to Japanese whiskies and sake mixed under the watchful eye of Quynh Nguyen, formerly of China Diner.
Gonzalez’s Peruvian heritage provided the inspiration for the venture. During a recent trip there he saw opportunity in the Asian-influenced street snacks being served. “We decided Bondi would be the best fit with it being health conscious,” he says. “A lot of the food we’re going to be doing is quite healthy. There will be a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.”
It took around a year for them to find a suitable venue in the area because of its popularity, particularly in the fall-out of the lock-out laws, with more people choosing to stay local. The venue they finally settled on is the former site of Paper Planes, a Japanese restaurant that closed last year.
“We’re actually opening slap bang in the middle of winter, but we think that’s a good thing – we can get everything right, get people familiar with the venue and then, come spring and summer, it will hopefully become that happening spot.
Luis Tan’s will open its doors on the Tuesday July 7, serving lunch, dinner and drinks.
178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach