If you've spied graphic posters dotted around Bondi enigmatically asking "Who is Luis Tans?" and been intrigued – well, wonder no more.
Not so much a "who", as an "it"; Luis Tans is a newly opened restaurant serving "Latin American street food with Asian accents" in the former digs of Paper Planes.
"I just thought we could have a bit of fun with it," co-owner Ryan Ginns says.
Run by model-slash-reality star-slash-entrepreneur Nathan Jolliffe and fellow TV celeb Ginns, a former Big Brother contestant with design credentials from the Grounds of Alexandria, this is no old-school Inca-meets-samurai interpretation. Share plates that merely sample Asian and Latino dishes, made by Venezuelan chef, are the order of the hour.
The tomato-braised Black Angus beef short ribs with chimichurri and black turtle bean ($23) appears meltingly tender. Pair it with the ensalada de repollo – red cabbage with shaved Brussels sprouts, black rice and edamame beans in an agave and sesame dressing ($11) for added crunch. For those with briny penchants, the wild Port Lincoln mussels in coconut curry ($22) reinvigorates the Thai staple.
With bar tsars as backers - Raul Gonzales of Backroom and Shane Moran of Ruby Rabbit - expect an experience where dining is just one of the attractions. They nabbed former China Diner bar manager Quynh Nguyen to curate the fusion cocktail menu. South American rum, pisco, sake and Japanese whisky anchor exotic liquid concoctions. Take the pisco champagne, for instance - pisco, purple shiso syrup and red grapes with sparkling wines ($18).
The interiors, much like the menu, are a play on contrasts. Dim lighting from antique lamps is offset by sharp neon accents. Lacquered tables counteract stripped-back brick walls. And although the music can be pumping, oldies can also enjoy the space. "My parents were in there and they said they didn't feel out of place," Ginns says.
In fact, to further contradict their party-boy reputations, the owners decided to place nosh centre stage. "The food has blown people away. They weren't really expecting that from us," Ginns says.
Luis Tans, shop 15/178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, Tues-Thurs, 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sun, noon-midnight (Friday lunch starts from next week), facebook.com