The lads over at Drink n' Dine have done it again. They love change and mixing things up. I think it keeps things fresh and on trend. The new venture has taken over the back restaurant at The Carrington in Surry Hills, which up until Easter was serving up fabulous Spanish inspired cuisine. It was only a few weeks ago that a friend was asking when are we going back for pinxos and fried milk custard. Well unfortunately that isn't going to happen....
.....As of today The Carrington is now home to Chica Linda (which means Beautiful
Hot Lady) and Jamie and his team have come up with a mouth watering Latin American menu that has left my taste buds wanting more.
Last night I was honoured to be invited to the preview dinner. Meeting some fellow bloggers we were seated at the back on the raised area of the restaurant overlooking the rest of the restaurant and bar area.
We start with pre dinner cocktails. Starting with the starring lady herself 'Hot Lady' (Chica Linda) which has tequila, guava soda and lime. It's a refreshing start to the night.
During the meal we got to sample quiet a few of the cocktail offerings including a Tengo Hueva (pisco, plum pisco, plum bitters and lime), a Belize Fumes (pisco, inca Kola & lime), a formal sounding Cuban Neck Tie (plantation rum, orange, coconut, kaffir lime), Panamagarita (tequila, jalapeno, aloe, agave and salt) and who could pass up a burning passion (vodka, passionfruit, orange and fire!) I would have to say my favourite was the Belize Fumes running up with a close Hot Lady.
I am loving the new table tops, they are colourful and fun!
Chica Linda bar is pumping out the drinks tonight.
But it's about food too and we are transported to another part of the world through our taste buds. An assortment of arepas hit the table. Here we have smoked pork with honey chipotle glaze and pickled slaw, a grilled cheese (halmoui?) corn salsa and salsa rojo and my favourite the soft shell crab with avocado and hot sauce. The fillings in these are flavoursome and hit the spot I just found the corn 'flatbread' a little heavy (this could be my issue though).
We start with a plate of chicharones with a side of guasacaca sauce. Puffy shards of piggy skins are airy and light.
love me some chicharones
Next up we are presented with a skewer of spiral sausage - a flamed longanzia topped with aji chilli and pineapple. Longanzia is similar to a chorizo but perhaps not as spicy.
spicy sausage skewer
First out to the table is he most impressive. A huge mound of king crab diablo in spicy paprika sauce. Covered in herbage and served with wedges of lime these legs are messy and all kinds of amazement. After all the obligatory photo taking we dig in with gusto and soon we are licking our fingers and hands and lips to get more of that spicy sauce.
king crabs done devil style - diablo sauce
and then the progressive onslaught of dishes arrived at our table, with all of us oohing and arrhing. The red and green tomato salad with jicama, aji chilli, chilli seeds, queso and flax seeds is a refreshing burst of flavours (and cooling on the palate after the spicy crab).
The achiote smoked chicken with tomatillo sauce is really good. The smokiness has penetrated deep into the flesh and the crispy skin is yummy. The tomatillo sauce is vibrant and tangy.
Sides are little dishes of heaven which include coca-cola rice and beans, two tone fries which consist of sweet potato fries and cassava fries and a scrumptious quinoa, barley, pomegranate, orange and labneh
However is the Puerto Rican roast pork with salsa criolla that is the winner dish of the night amongst us all. We are rather full at this point but we manage to eat the whole dish. Crispy crackling and the pork meat is so moist and tender. We are all raving about this dish at the end of the night.
here piggy - the best dish of the night
Food blogger etiquette...everyone gets their photos, angle, lighting for each and every dish before we tuck in.
Of course a meal is only finish when dessert is served. A lovely light guava empanada with apple, dulche de leche ice cream and fried plantains is a wonderful dish to finish off any meal. The pastry and flaky and the ice cream is so creamy and smooth - get into it before it melts. I loved the crispy plantains. The chocolate milk cake with marshmallow, buttermilk icecream and passionfruit was good. the hint of sourness in the icecream is a nice change but I didn't find alot of chocolate flavour in the cake. The marshmallow is soft and fluffy.
empanadas and milk cake
I would like to thank the Drink n' Dine group for inviting me to taste your menu and share in your new venture. It was fantastic evening, food, cocktails and company excellent. I wish you well in your new endeavours and all the success this year can bring.
I look forward to dining here again very soon.