{ CHEF PROFILE }

AUSTRALIA MEETS CALIFORNIA

Chef Jesse Paul puts the new Westerly Pubic House on the map

PHOTOS BY MANDY SCHAFFER

The stunning architecture of the new Monsaraz San Diego, Tapestry Collection by Hilton has brought a breath of fresh air to Point Loma’s Rosecrans Street. It has also brought an array of fabulous dishes to try at its signature restaurant, Westerly Public House—thanks to the delectable cuisine of Chef Jesse Paul. Recently, he prepared a sampling menu for us, and wow! We were impressed by the innovative menu he has created to introduce San Diego to Australian cuisine.

The culinary concept for Westerly Public House is rather unique in the San Diego area. How do you describe it? We really wanted to highlight the similarities between Australia and Southern California. Both cuisines are an amalgamation of cultures, so it seemed best to concentrate on this. Both Australia and California are lifestyle-driven: beachy, coastal, relaxed, and fun. For the menu and the ambiance of the restaurant, we focused on keeping it imaginative yet approachable, local, seasonal, fresh, and coastal.  

What specific ingredients and cooking styles are intrinsic to your menu? I cook 100 percent seasonally, so ingredients vary based on what time of the year we are in. As for cooking styles, I’m all over the place! I, like most chefs, was trained in classic French cuisine. I spent a long time in Italian kitchens, so there is a big influence from that. I also love Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European cuisines—so you will see hints and highlights from all those styles in our menu.

Buttermilk-fried  enoki mushrooms  with adobo dip
Buttermilk-fried enoki mushrooms with adobo dip
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Think fast! If you could order one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one dessert item from the menu right now, what would you choose? For breakfast, it would be the House-Made Granola Bowl with Greek Yogurt, local raw honey, and seasonal fruit. For lunch, I’d order the Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Papaya Slaw and Smoked Adobo Aioli. And for dinner, I would choose the Braised Lamb Ragout with Rigatoni Pasta, Mint, and Pecorino Cheese. After the lamb, I would get the Butterscotch Pot de Creme with Whiskey Chantilly Creme, Cocoa Nibs, Sea Salt Ganache, and Caramel Popcorn.

The restaurant is housed in the new Monsaraz Hotel on Rosecrans, yet you seem to have a lot of local customers. Why do you think this is? I believe that our locals can connect with what we are offering. It has been a long time since something new has come to the neighborhood. We offer everyone genuine hospitality: a family environment; beautiful amenities; and—in my humble opinion—good, honest food.

What do you want to accomplish next at Westerly Public House? I would like to increase our offerings in the restaurant and add a tapas-style bar menu. I’d also like to start having culinary-themed activations such as pasta-making classes and butchery demonstrations in our courtyard. And, eventually, it will be great to have a tasting menu with beverage pairings.