Hey Chu Is A New Late-Night Bar Bringing Ho Chi Minh City To Sydney
— Updated on 21 April 2023

Hey Chu Is A New Late-Night Bar Bringing Ho Chi Minh City To Sydney

— Updated on 21 April 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Fans of Vietnamese food don’t have to look far for quality in Sydney but they do have to look hard. From Marrickville’s excellent VN Street Foods to Haymarket’s incredibly popular and innovative Hello Auntie, the city’s Vietnamese dining scene is just as strong as it is for Thai and Japanese.

Yet as good as the quality is, it’s still much harder to find great Vietnamese food in Sydney CBD.

Enter Hey Chu. The executive chef for Hello Auntie, Cuong Nguyen, has just opened this casual spin-off of the new-school Vietnamese kitchen, leaning towards the late-night crowd on the first level of Hotel Downing. With bar snacks nodding to the after-hours cocktail lounges that you’d find dotted around Vietnam.

“The drinking culture in Vietnam is quite fierce,” said Cuong.

“We like to drink and snack all hours [and] if I were to open a venue in Vietnam it would be like this.”

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This isn’t a special occasion joint. Hey Chu borrows much of its rustic aesthetic from the hole-in-the-wall restaurants with plastic chairs that are commonplace in South-East Asia. For Sydney, you’d usually find places like this in Chinatown or further out west like Strathfield or Ashfield. You wouldn’t expect somewhere like this to be located on Castlereagh Street.

Considering the decidedly modern take on Vietnamese at Hello Auntie, it seems like Cuong will be taking a similar left-field approach for Hey Chu. Signature snacks include abalone cooked in roasted chicken broth and Congee en Croute with koshihikari rice.

Further down the track, Hey Chu will even be introducing a Korean BBQ-style action each night after 9 PM with hibachi grills available at each table alongside selections from a dedicated meat fridge. Note that this concept is not yet ready but Cuong plans to introduce it soon.

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As far as what you’ll be sipping on. Cocktails are a big focus for the bar, trailing more playful concoctions like the What The Pho which is built with house-infused coriander Tequila, ginger liqueur, Cointreau, pho syrup, lime and spiced fish sauce. But there’s just as strong a focus on wine. Hey Chu has managed to rope in Patrick Harrowsmith (ex-Love Tilly Devine, Dear Saint Eloise) as sommelier which should mean a quality list for onephiles to get through while they dodge the smoke from the hibachi.

Hey Chu

Address: Level 1/249 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (5 PM – 12 AM); Friday – Saturday (5 PM – 3 AM)

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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