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Barzura Turns The Clock Back 20 Years

By Marcus Braid on September 16, 2014 in News

Photo: Kaily Koutsogiannis

Photo: Kaily Koutsogiannis

When Barzura owner Rodney Sen stumbled across a Mexican restaurant on an innocuous block of land in Coogee over twenty years ago, he saw his future laid out in front of him.

After plenty of toing and froing with the landlord and owners of Casa del Sol, the Mexican restaurant where Barzura sits today, Mr Sen got his way.

“I started on probably a good 18 months’ worth of negotiations with the landlord to purchase the existing business and get a proper ten-year lease on the property,” he said. “It was one of those things where persistence paid off.”

This year marks twenty years since Barzura first opened its doors, and Mr Sen is using the celebrations as a chance to reflect on how far both Coogee and his business have come.

Coogee was a much different place 20 years ago. Randwick Council invested heavily in upgrading the suburb – a move that paid dividends.

“Randwick Council, around 1992 to 1994, made a massive investment in Coogee Beach,” Mr Sen said. “Beach Street used to run right along the front of the beach and there was a car park in front of the Coogee Bay Hotel where the grass is now. Prior to that, it was a pretty down and dirty sort of place.

“Where the kids’ park is around the corner from Barzura now, there was a garbage dump. The site where is Barzura was a pretty rundown Mexican restaurant. That Mexican restaurant had suffered dreadfully from being at a cold, desolate end of the beach.”

When Mr Sen opened Barzura in 1994, the menu focused on an Italian and Hard Rock Café style of cuisine. Over time the restaurant has moved more towards Asian food, aligned with its Balinese and Filipino chefs.

“The big thing is the evolution of the food where we’ve left behind our European routes and our café routes and gone in an Asian direction, which has been in line with people’s changing eating habits,” Mr Sen said.

“Back in the day, the big seller was sausages and scrambled eggs. These days the big sellers are Asian omelets and Nasi Goreng.”

There will be a number of events held to celebrate Barzura’s 20th anniversary. You can find out more at