Chula will open on Kings Cross’ Bayswater Road on Wednesday 11 October.
The kitchen will be led by Alvaro Valenzuela, who has relocated to Sydney from Mexico City. Alongside Valenzuela is Reece Griffiths, who will be shaking things up behind the bar.
Located in the old Hugo’s Pizza site, the restaurant is directly across from the team’s former venue Barrio Chino.
Valenzuela joins Chula after working the kitchens of several Mexican restaurants in Mexico City and New Zealand. While he crafted his culinary skills under seasoned chefs, his palate is inspired by his abuelita.
“She taught me that everything in life should be done with love, and that includes cooking,” says Valenzuela. “There’s a lot of love in everything I create — from a simple taco to a more complex dish. I hope that people can taste the passion I have for food.”
Valenzuela is excited to introduce Sydney to a more refined variant of Mexican food, as found in Chula’s delicate scallop aguachile, chorizo tlayuda and seafood tostada.
“All over the world, people associate Mexican with ‘Tex mex’,” says Valenzuela. “It’s great to finally move passed the burritos and fajitas and showcase the soul and the freshness that is Mexican food.”
The drinks list is created by Reece Griffiths (founder of The Agave Cartel), and has been inspired by the people, places and culture of Mexico, with vibrant flavours, seasonal fruits and textural elements complementing the spice and citrus of the food.
Cocktails have a strong focus on agave spirits and incorporate many indigenous ingredients that reflect the regional diversity of Mexico’s culinary culture. The wine list is angled towards texture and aromatics.
The space has been designed by Joshua Clapp from Steel + Stitch. Drawing inspiration from the rich colours and textures of Acapulco and Tulum, Chula is accentuated with vintage cabinets and collected timber, matched with organic hand-woven pendants and quirky linen fabrics.
The restaurant also features a back bar inspired by an old ‘farmacia’ in a Mexican country town, and features a spectacular handmade tiled mural, warm sunken lounges, succulent gardens filled with agave plants and a tequila shrine.