City guide: Mexico
Julian is born to Chinese and Australian parents. He lived in Kuala Lumpur, London, Perth and Jakarta as an overworked investment banker, before he saw the light and decided to start his own establishments in Singapore. Currently the co-owner and operator of a number of restaurants and bars in Singapore, including Loof, Tanjong Beach Club, Lucha Loco and Super Loco, Julian loves what he does. In fact on most nights, you'll probably find him at any of these restaurants helping out.
What kind of traveller are you?
I am an adventurous traveller. I like to travel to destinations and live like a local. I like getting to know the local habits and culture; eating at restaurants that only the locals go to. I am usually the one who is in charge of the itinerary, maps, directions, logistics and accommodation bookings, so I spend a lot of time researching where and what to eat when I travel.
What is your favourite destination to date and why?
Mexico City. It is a city like no other! It may be completely foreign, gritty, dirty, and overpopulated, but it has the most amazing energy and spirit. Of all my travels, Mexico has the nicest and friendlist locals. All of them would offer their help, show us around, and basically be an unofficial ambassador for their city. In fact, I'm still friends with some of the locals that I met on my Mexico trip.
Not to mention, their street food is the best I've ever had. Some of my favourite meals of all time were from unknown street stalls and restaurants.
Can you tell us where to eat, party, drink and shop there?
Contramar – Mexican food at its best. Casual, lively and full of locals eating and drinking all afternoon and into the evening. This was my favourite Mexican dining experience.
Pujol– Ranked as one of the top restaurants in the world, Pujol is a mix of Mexican street food and fine dining.
Pictured above: Contramar (credit: Vogue)
M.N. Roy – This club looks like it came straight out of a movie. The DJ booth looked like an altar, the crowd was all wearing black, and I kept thinking at some point someone was going to be sacrificed!
Jules Basement – A speakeasy cocktail bar where you have to entire via a refrigerator door that is in a restaurant. So don't be too alarmed if you see people walking in and out!
Pictured above: Jules Basement (credit: Jules Basement)
La Lagunilla (Corner Rayón and Allende, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico) – A flea market with some fantastic local folk artwork and bric-a-brac.
Have you been inspired by any places you've traveled to and incorporated that inspiration into one of your establishments?
A trip to Mexico City in 2012 was the inspiration for us to start Lucha Loco. We fell in love with the delicious street food, drinks, culture, colours, people and the crazy “Lucha Libre” wrestling.
We came back from that trip craving tacos and good Mexican street food, but struggled to find it in Singapore. In Lucha Loco we sought to create a restaurant and bar which was a combination of our experiences from our Mexico trip.
If there was one celebrity's vacation home you would like to live in for a week, whose would it be, and why?
It would have to be Frank Sinatra’s Original Palm Springs estate which was built circa 1950. Always loved the architecture and interiors and Palm Springs desert setting. A throw back to an era gone by.
Pictured above: Frank Sinatra’s Original Palm Springs (photo credit: Sinatra House)
Stylish places to stay in Mexico
This luxurious apartment is located in Playa del Carmen, close to the famed Cancun. It has a beautiful sea view as well as a private roof terrace with grill.
Going to Mexico? Check out more places to stay in Mexico on Roomorama.