Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pintxos, tapas and sangria at The Carrington

When I heard that pintxos were available at The Carrington, I knew I had to go - if only to make up for the regret I still hold for not being game enough to try the pintxos bars in San Sebastian on my trip to Europe. In my defense, the indoor smoking all over the food sitting on the bars in there still turns me off the idea.

The refreshed Carrington is in an area of Bourke Street, Surry Hills that holds a special place in my heart, so it was with delight that I finally managed to get there one Tuesday night for chef Jamie Thomas' pintxos specials night.

Calamari sliders at The Carrington, Bourke Street, Surry Hills
With a group in the back restaurant area of the pub, we'd decided to go some pintxos and tapas with jugs of sangria. This easy-drinking red wine concoction at The Carrington is topped with cracked pepper of all things, and I lost count of how many jugs we shared after the fifth.

This amazing looking calamari slider, with rocket and some kind of mayonnaise smeared all over the bottom of the bun was so picture perfect it was a case of snooze (or change your camera settings) and you lose.

Potato, rosemary and manchego tortilla
Vegetarians and omnivores alike couldn't resist the velvety texture of the most finely sliced potato tortilla I've ever seen, served with a dollop of creamy aioli, I imagine, and paprika.

Anchovy and smoked eggplant tostada
I skipped the anchovy tostada despite the provoking, modernist presentation of the small silvery fish speared onto the bread spread with eggplant.

Chciken and pork sausage roll with Basque ketchup
The miniature sausage rolls - all shiny, tanned and puffed up - were pretty awesome drenched in tomato sauce and disappeared in a hurry.

Beef skewers with romesco
The metal skewers of charred tender beef cubes, sitting on lines of romesco sauce, were unexpectedly one of my favourites.

Pork belly sliders with white cabbage slaw
Another of the sliders on the pintxos menu, the pork belly was a crowd favourite with a thick slab of crackling topped belly and crunchy cabbage slaw.

Someone in the group lucked out as my half of the slider was almost all crackling - making up for me missing the calamari slider.

Hummus, eggplant and laba salad
The generously sized salad of hummus, grilled eggplant and white blobs of labna came with a couple of slices of bread too - sure to satisfy and completely vegetarian-friendly too.

Bull's tail empanadas
We sampled a decent range from the tapas menu, which are sort of the next size up from pintxos. For me, the empanadas were all about the pastry: gold and crisp with a shortness that just makes me smile. I can barely remember what the filling was like (more sangria?) but I remember loving these.

Jalapeno and smoked cheddar croquettes
There was no need to fear the jalapeno in the perfectly cylindrical croquettes as it was barely noticeable. Instead, the cheesy and smooth potato innards were quite the moreish delight, especially with a squeeze of lemon.

The huge meatballs sat amid a saucy dice of vegetables, with a smidgen of grated cheese melting on top. These were incredible and definitely, I think, some of the best meatballs in town.

Salt cod fritters
Some of the bacalao croquettes I've had before are more about the dryness of salted cod than anything else - these are not those croquettes.

These fritters rather had a lightness that together with potato filling and a fabulous orange-hued sauce were so easy to gobble down, especially with a drink on hand.

Morcilla stuffed squid
After chasing up the second-time order of the squid, the blood sausage stuffed creature eventuated finally, and looking pretty impressive too despite my aversion to all things blood. This rocket of a stuffed squid looked seriously tempting, but timing and the blood thing meant that it wasn't for me.

Pintxos. Tapas. Sangria. We'd ticked it all off at The Carrington and yet there was so much more on the food and drinks menu I wanted to try. Which is not all bad as it means a return visit to re-live San Sebastian is definitely in order.

The Carrington Specialite: Beba y Cene on Urbanspoon


john@heneedsfood said...

I've got to agree with you about the smoking all over the uncovered pintxos in San Sebastian, though it didn't stop me tucking into them. Admittedly we did leave very quickly just to get some fresh air.
At least here at the Carrington the food won't taste of cigarettes! Looks good!

MissPiggy said...

I LOVE The Carrington...LOVE it!

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

We went to the Carrington a few weeks ago for Tuesday pinxtos and had a ball! What a fun and fresh menu. I'll be back for sure!

joey@FoodiePop said...

Haven't been here yet but really dying to! The tapas look really delicious and there's a good variety as well.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

The tortilla here is amazing - I love eating it layer by layer. The $3 pintxos night is a bargain.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

What a great selection of pintxos! Hehe that squid looks like a fish or a shark tail or something!

Tina said...

Yumm!!! Love bite-sized food :) Thanks for the review! Definitely going one day :)

TFP (The Food Pornographer) said...

It all looks so good, but I especially like the look of the sliders. Love mini things, especially delicious mini things. Hope I make it back to Sydney while this is still available.

tania@mykitchenstories said...

It all still looks great. I really loved my visits here only regret is not having the sangria

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

Oh man, it all looks so good. Really need to get myself there.. no fair!

sugarpuffi said...

ive always wanted to go on pintxos night but always something happens ugh! glad the squid finally came cause it was delicious!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Love pintxos and they always seem to have fun with the food at The Carrington :)

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Oh yum, jalapeno and smoked cheddar croquettes!

Tina said...

Hi John - I rather regret it now but at the time the pintxos bars seemed to be so male-oriented and smokey!

Hi MissPiggy - Definitely some fans out there in blog-land :)

Hi SarahKate - Love that quality is not compromised with the value offerings.

Hi joey - Yeah, I rather enjoyed some of the tapas more than some pintxos. Great range.

Hi Helen - Haha, I wouldn't have the patience or restraint to go layer by layer :D

Hi Vivian - It looks great doesn't it? Like a blood sausage filled rocket...!

Hi Tina - No probs. Remember that Tuesday is $3 pintxos night but the tapas are the same price throughout the week.

Hi TFP - Delicious mini things means you get to eat more delicious mini things!

Hi tania - Oh, there's so much more on the menu I want to try!

Hi Tina - What's not fair is that I didn't get to try the calamari slider! And it looked SO good!

Hi sugarpuffi - Yeah, I rarely seem to be able to get Tuesday nights free with people!

Hi Lorraine - They sure do; they're a great dynamic addition to the Surry Hills scene.

Hi Sara - They were indeed yum!

penny aka jeroxie said...

I love carrington! especially tuesday :P

tastyfoodsnaps said...

i still havent been here or the duck in pub! must visit soon!

Tina said...

Hi Penny - I'm hearing about some other great specials nights at The Carrington too now!

Hi tastyfoodsnaps - Indeed, some great revamped pubs around now - lucky us.

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Nice to see Sydney catching up on some of Melbourne's pintxos action.


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