Jam packed on a Monday night? Not bad from the once-shady Carrington Hotel on Surry Hill’s Bourke St. Gone are the pokie machines and garish fluorescent lights, being replaced instead with plush red leather lounges and an eclectic mish-mash of paraphernalia. Middle Eastern mosaic tiles line the kitchen’s exterior while 80s retro bar stools and lounges fill the back restaurant space and an array of ferns and shrubbery hang from wrought iron ceiling gratings. I’m not quite sure if I’m in an American diner, a Spanish pinchos bar or hustling the streets in Morocco’s Fez. Chuck in a wall mounted animal head and suddenly I’m in medieval England. But that’s the charm of this palace– nothing matches but why does it need to?
And while you need to throw away any preconceptions about the decor, treat the menu in the same manner. You can’t expect your clichéd steak-and-mash pub combo, The Carrington Hotel takes beer food to another level with a Spanish menu which features everything from bull’s tail empanadas, calamari sliders and Jamon croquettes.
Each dish doesn’t have your usual whams and bams of Spanish spice, but all the classic flavours are there. Kingfish pastrami, kohlrabi on fried bread provides smoke, salt, creaminess and crunch. It is a textural and flavoursome treat. But, for me, the standout is undoubtedly the hommus, eggplant and labna dish. A plate of zesty, garlicky hommus with lashings of olive oil oozing eggplant wedges and dollops of rich labna are exactly what the doctor ordered on this wintry Monday night.
The Carrington Hotel is the perfect new hangout for Surry Hill locals sick of try-hard trendy bars and restaurants.
15 minute walk from Central Station on Bourke Street, Surry Hills.
The Carrington Hotel is the latest venture from publicans James Wirth and James Miller. The premise may be as old as the hills, but with new owners and a very new look – an ex-local would think they’d walked into the wrong pub.
Read more about The Carrington Hotel here