Papi Chulo: Smoke gets in your eyes

On the chopping block today, Papi Chulo, Merivale's latest baby. First of all, to clarify matters, do not be overwhelmed by the amount of food that is showcased on this post. Note, all this was consumed over a spread of two visits. 

Located just on the boardwalk, you'll be swept off on a wave of arrival action off the ferries as you make your way to Papi Chulo. Try to catch your breathe as the sights and sounds of the establishment would probably steal a breathe or two as well. Essentially a smokehouse grill, Papi Chulo offers the best of smoked meats with a clever combination of classic Southern American dishes like fresh ceviches and empanadas and a killer cocktail list to match.

With nothing but the real deal on our minds, we dived in straight for the win. Papi's smoked meats have been dealt with some royal treatment, cooked low and slow over in a special oven for a minimum of 6 hours, imbuing dishes with a heady smoky sensation.

The Smoked Wagyu Brisket (300g for $34) was excellent, its slight shaggy pink centers meltingly pliable. The accompanying BBQ sauce, a wonderful blend of sweet, shy heat and secret spices. I was intrigued and furthermore, greedy, succumbing to the fatty richness of the protein with absolutely no qualms about cholesterol levels whatsoever.

Next to the brisket was another platter that would delight the carnivores, Smoked Lamb Ribs with Papi's BBQ sauce ($32). Being dealt the same hand, the lamb ribs didn't have that charred slightly toasted crust but it's flesh was agonisingly fall off the bone. Well seasoned under the carbon treated exterior. However, I would still stand by Hurricanes as having the better ribs of the two.

On my second visit, we treated ourselves to Merivale's irresistible $33 dollar meal deals in line with their food and wine festival #marchintomerivale. An entree/main or main/dessert, no kidding. But of course there would be pre-selected choices from the management.

We settled for the Summer Pea Guacamole with tortilla chips ($14) and the Mushroom and Heidi Gruyere Croquettes ($12) for our warm-up. Excellent starters all around, my favourite being the former, large portions of vibrant and tantalizing looking guacamole, impressively seasoned to taste and gobsmackingly good devoured with the freshly fried hot tortilla chips. The croquettes were a hit of deliciousness, salty creaminess encrusted in a crisp exterior of batter.

We followed up the dirty deal with the Smoked Maple Black Pepper Pork belly ($29 for 300g). An amazing assemblage of pure white fats, blankets of aromatic meat studded with coarse pepper and thinly sliced,  quite delicate is the flavor of the maple that aid in sweetening this sinful convergence . No words are effective enough in translating the amount of pleasure and guilt acquired from this dish. One of the best pork belly dishes I've ever had. period.

Thank goodness for the Vietnamese coleslaw ($8) that accompanied the meat lovers feast, the light handed use of dressing much appreciated further down the meal when the fattiness got the better of us. 

Papi Chulo is an institution of Smoked Meats and I reckon you have already skipped my deliberation before heading on down for a taste. The cat is out of the bag. This comes very highly recommended.

Papi Chulo
22-23 Manly Wharf
Manly NSW 2095
Tel: 02 9240 3000

Papi Chulo on Urbanspoon


  1. the brisket at papi chulo is just freaking amazing!

    1. I agree totally. But my heart still sings for tt pork belly. OMG



Meet Sihan

Snap Eat Love is Lee Sihan. 27 going on 28, she is a dessert enthusiast, food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Sydney. Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen

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