After spending recent months intrigued by the ‘Who is Luis Tan’ posters around Bondi’s streets, I was finally able to satisfy my curiosity with a visit to this newly opened Asian/South American fusion restaurant on the weekend.
Brought to us by former Big Brother winner Ryan Ginns and his Amazing Race contestant mate Nathan Jolliffe, the restaurant has been beautifully designed to mesh colours and decor from these two very different continents. The culture clash creates a warm, vibrant space that we found very welcoming, even with a two-year-old in tow. With travel imagery and mementoes dotted around the walls, wanderers and dreamers will be inspired to start planning their next trip while chewing on a plate of edamame and downing a Pisco Sour.
According to our very helpful waitress, the plantain crisps with chipotle mayo are a must for nibbling while perusing the menu, so we took her advice and ordered a plate. They were delicious – very crisp and light (I’ve had many plantain crisps in the past that have been more on the chewy than crispy side).
The menu is full of sharing plates, so we chose the 8-hour slow cooked pork and the pan fried ‘boss’ prawns with garlic, chilli and ginger served with wasabi butter greens for mains.
The prawns were succulent, the beans juicy and crunchy, and the pork rich and flavoursome with that soft, slow-cooked texture that melts in your mouth.
Our only complaint would be that the plates were a tad small for the price, however the food was equal parts delicioso and oishii. We will definitely return soon to try other dishes.
Luis Tans has a beautifully stocked bar that runs the full depth of the restaurant, it’s sure to become a favourite space for late night gatherings.
The Asian/South American fusion cocktail menu has been put together by former China Diner bar manager Quynh Nguyen and offers up plenty of intriguing new flavours. We love a good Pisco Sour and had a hard time choosing between the four versions on offer, settling on the terrifically tart El Gallo Negro-ni (Pisco, Suze and Regal Rogue Vermouth with grapefruit bitters).
There are plenty of options for those who prefer whisky or white spirits as their cocktail base, and the bar carries draft and bottled beers. Wine lovers will be happy with a separate wine list – while it mainly features Aussie wines, I was happy to see that they have included an Argentinian Malbec among the rich reds.
I was pleasantly surprised by the vibe and the attitudes of the staff. I’ll admit that I had expected Luis Tans to be pretentious and full of twenty-something model/actor/whatevers, but we were made to feel very welcome even with an energetic two year and a pram in tow. While there are no high-chairs, we were given a comfortable banquette seat so that our daughter could sit safely between us.
Ryan and Nathan were very approachable, happily chatting to diners and overseeing the evening service – the duo seem intent on making the restaurant inviting to all ages.
WHO IS LUIS TAN?
So just who is Luis Tan? According to legend, Lui (1923-1984) was a Peruvian gangster, regarded as the wealthiest underworld figure in Peruvian history. He married Akemi Tan, the daughter of a Japanese crime boss, creating a South American/Asian power gangster fusion. They lived in a luxurious estate known as Luis Tans.
Location: Shop 15/178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach (formerly occupied by Paper Planes)
Opening times: Tues-Thurs: 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sun: 12pm-midnight (Friday lunches will start this week)
Check their Facebook page for bookings and more info!
Tracey @ What’s New Bondi xx