The Carrington – Beba Y Cene opened in July last year and since then it has been performing quite well if everything I hear is true. Lex had already been twice before this visit and loved it both times. Tuesday night is $3 pintxos (pronounced pin-choss) night but it wasn’t why we were there specifically, it just happened to be the only night that worked for us.
We started out in the pub with a drink and noticed the pintxos were being served out there as well, a pretty cool idea, and great to grab a few sliders and beers on the way home from work. After our drinks we scooted on through to the restaurant and were seated up in the corner above the bar with the best views of all the action happening throughout.
Roasted green peppers (Complimentary).
While still going over the menu a plate of roasted peppers came out compliments of the kitchen. We were given a simple warning – that they are just a mild chilli, roasted and salted, BUT there ‘may’ be 1 in 10 that is hot. I felt that it was a challenge, find a hot one. I may have devoured at least half of these things hunting for the elusive stick of dynamite. BOOM, found it and it was hotter than I was expecting. The subtle smoky flavour of those I smote earlier lulled me into a false sense of security. The hot one was definitely that, absolutely fiery and ever so good.
White anchovies, sliced pear & crisps ($12.00).
The anchovies were suggested by The Carrington via twitter so we knew we had to try them. I do like common anchovies from the jar; great on pizza and superb in pasta, but there is the occasion where I find them a bit too much. The white anchovies though were beyond what I thought they could ever be. The tang of the pickling just rips right through but the crisp and sweet pear brings you back to your senses and levels it all out. The rocket and crisps played their part well to keep it feeling light and fresh. Absolute winner.
Bulls tail empanadas ($14.00).
Whatever cuisine it is, there is ALWAYS a place for little pastry, rice paper or dumpling filled goodies. Empandas come in second on my list behind the supremely awesome gyoza. Bull’s tail or oxtail whatever you may call it in the end you are only going to end up with awesome. A rich and unctuous beef filling in a short and crispy shell was exactly as it should be, ever so damn tasty and utterly addictive.
Paella onigiri with fried calamari ($3.00 ea).
It seemed I was too busy playing with the camera to take notice that we had ordered the paella balls. Evidently when the deep fried rice balls arrived with a baby calamari skewered on top I knew they were something to behold. Cracking them open revealed a deep black rice filling which can only be achieved with squid ink. Squid ink is not one of my favourite things, there is something I can’t quite identify about it that I dislike. Nevertheless this has never stopped me before and I got stuck in to find some rather amazing rice without being too overpowered by the ink.
Manchego and Rosemary Tortilla ($3.00 ea).
When Kieran & Rae suggested the tortilla I somehow knew they were thinking Mexican flat breads and not utterly amazing potato goodness. We loved the super soft texture of the potato and creamy distinct flavour of the manchego cheese. The paprika, although there was merely a pinch on top, was felt in a positive way. Hehe Mexican flat breads have nothing on this.
Prawn & chorizo sandwich with chorizonaise & bravas fries ($18.00).
While it was $3 pintxos night Kieran was taken by the prawn and chorizo sandwich. Lucky for me we are a caring bunch and I got to try a little slice. There was a good richness of chorizo throughout and only a slight prawn flavour, the bread was toasted just the right amount leaving it just ever so moist on the inside. The bravas fries were good, but they would have rocked with some sauce and mayo like normal patatas bravas rather than just the chorizonaise.
Beef cheeks in PX with corn puree & parsley salad ($26.00).
Seeing as Kieran & Rae had strayed from the pintxos/tapas menu Lex & I decided to do the same. We just couldn’t go past the beef cheeks in Pedro Ximenez. Oh how things have changed from the days when Lex would wince at even the thought of PX. The cheeks were nothing short of incredible, so tender and juicy, the richness of the beef and PX was justified and while the parsley added a lovely herbaceousness to the dish it did so without taking away from the big flavours going on. The addition of corn was a great touch, as a normal potato puree may have been lost in this dish.
Carrington Mess ($12.00).
When it came to dessert I think it was the first time in a very long time that I really craved something sweet. Unsure of what to get, the Carrington Mess was suggested by our waitress and described as their special take on an Eton Mess. A really well balanced mix of cream, berries and some brown sugar meringue layered into a glass and generous dollop of passionfruit sorbet placed on top. Tart, sweet, creamy, crunchy and fruity, a myriad of things going on but all working together to make this a top dessert and ever so moreish.
Since we were all sharing desserts the churros were an obvious choice. Everyone loves churros, and if you don’t you are crazy and if you have never had them find a Chocolateria San Churro (or even just a Mad Mex) one day and be sure to go all out and experience these spanish treats. The churros were a little drier than we would have preferred but they still hit the spot when dipped in the rich chocolate sauce.
We all really enjoyed the night, the place was absolutely heaving but that never once seemed to affect the level of service or make the place seem too busy or loud. The food is what really makes me want to come back again and again, I still have to experience pintxos night in all its glory (and order one of EVERYTHING) as well as getting back to try all of the tapas menu.
565 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9360 4714
The Carrington Website