The team behind now closed Kings Cross favourite Barrio Chino are set to open a new Mexican dining concept on Bayswater Road this October. Chula will be helmed by Nicole Galloway and Peter Lew, with Reece Griffiths behind the bar and a soon-to-be-announced talent from Mexico City leading the kitchen.
Located in the old Hugo’s Pizza site, the new restaurant will become a big sister to their CBD tequileria and eatery, Barrio Cellar, offering a more refined dining experience that’s rooted in Mexican traditions and celebrates the regionality of the cuisine.
“Over the past six years we’ve been inspired through our travels to the different regions of Mexico, working with like-minded chefs, restaurateurs and producers”, says Galloway. “Mexican is a very special culture and cuisine so we wanted to create a menu that celebrates the rich traditions and flavours, while treating it with a contemporary hand. Simple food that’s seriously flavourful and visual.”
Slang for ‘beautiful’ and ‘hot’, the name Chula reflects the space, as well as the menu.
Seafood and vegetables feature heavily, with tostadas, aguachile, ceviche and charcoal whole fish taking centre stage. Chula’s ‘Tlayuda’ — traditional Oaxacan dish of toasted tortilla base with black bean puree and charcoal meat — serves as a tribute to the pizza institution that previously inhabited the space for 15 years.
Griffiths (founder of The Agave Cartel) has created a drinks list inspired by the Central American country, combining fresh flavours, seasonal fruits and textural elements to complement the spice and citrus of the food. Cocktails will have a strong focus on agave spirits and incorporate many indigenous ingredients that reflect the regional diversity of Mexico’s culinary culture. Textural and aromatic wines also be showcased on the list.
Joshua Clapp from Steel + Stitch is behind the design, drawing on the rich colours and textures of Acapulco and Tulum to create a space that captures the essence of the Mexican country-side. The old-world charm of over-stacked vintage cabinets and collected timber will be matched with organic hand-woven pendants and quirky linen fabrics.
Chula will also feature a back bar — complete with a tequila shrine — inspired by an old ‘farmacia’ in a Mexican country town, a spectacular handmade tiled mural, warm sunken lounges, and succulent gardens filled with agave plants.