Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F dining room

Kings Cross’ old Hugo’s site is being born again with the launch of Chula

When a group of hospitality leaders fly a guy in from Mexico to head their kitchen in a new Mexican restaurant, you know the result is going to be good.

Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F cocktails bar

That’s exactly what Peter Lew and Nicole Galloway – the brains behind the well-loved Barrio Cellar and Fei Jai in Sydney – have decided to do, with the opening of their new Mexican restaurant in Kings Cross, adorably named Chula.

Not to be confused with Sydney’s other prominent cute kid, South American named pub in Manly, Papi Chulo, Chula is a refined Mexican offering, playing the role of big sis to their CBD tequileria and taqueria, Barrio Cellar. Chula will take the hospitality group from casual street food to a new refined dining experience that’s rooted in Mexican traditions and celebrates the regionality of the cuisine.

SEE ALSO: If you like Papi Chulo, try many of the other great Merivale venues

Located in the old Hugo’s Pizza site – shut down years ago as victim to Sydney renowned drinking laws – the restaurant is directly across from the team’s former venue Barrio Chino, one of Kings Cross’ hottest nightlife spots of years past. They’re locals to the scene and by accounts, doing their darnedest to bring life back to the area.

Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F dining room

The guy Lew and Galloway put in charge of their output is Mexican national kitchen master, Alvaro Valenzuela.

Chef Alvaro Valenzuela, Nicole Galloway and Peter Lew in Chula

Chef Alvaro Valenzuela, Nicole Galloway and Peter Lew in Chula

After working the kitchens of several Mexican restaurants in both Mexico City and New Zealand, he crafted his culinary skills under seasoned chefs, taking him to the position he’s in today.

Valenzuela’s palate of zesty and flavourful tastes are inspired by his abuelita (grandmother), to whom he attributes his love for and skill with food.

Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F food 1

“She taught me that everything in life should be done with love, and that includes cooking,” he reminisces.

“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. There’s also the heartier charcoaled offerings of whole, de-boned, snapper, and smokey beef short ribs.

Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F food jalapenos 2

MORE: Try the stunning southern flavours of Tequila Mockingbird in Paddington, too

“All over the world, people associate Mexican with ‘tex mex’,” Valenzuela says. “It’s great to finally move passed the burritos and fajitas and showcase the soul and the freshness that is Mexican food.”

Chula is a dark, fiery, Mexican cantina-vibe venue with more refinement than you’d expect from that stock-standard ‘tex-mex’ reputation that of so many Mexican venues in Australia have aligned themselves to, that you need to experience.

Chula Mexican restaurant Potts Point Sydney THE F posters wall

It channels Acapulco, Tulum, earthy tones and raw textures, is accentuated with over-stacked vintage cabinets and collected timber, matched with organic hand-woven pendants and quirky linen fabrics.

It’s cute – reflective of the name – but also suitably edgy for being located where it is, serving the kind of food and atmosphere it does.


Find Chula at:

33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

Wed, Thu and Sun – 5pm-12pm

Fri and Sat – 5pm – 2am

@chulasydney #chulasydney

James Banham
Follow James

James Banham

Editor at THE F
James Banham is an Australian lifestyle, fashion and entertainment journalist. His writing can be found on these many topics and more in print and online publications around the country.
James Banham
Follow James

Comments are closed.