It seems as though the Drink’n’Dine group has always got a new project in the works. After opening House of Crabs and The Oxford Tavern late last year, their latest venture is Chica Linda at The Carrington in Surry Hills. While I’ll miss the Spanish-influenced paella onigiri and morcilla stuffed squid at Beba Y Cene, Chica Linda serves up some spicy, robust and earthy flavours from South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
It’s not just the food that’s had a Latin American twist applied to it – the cocktail list also features pineapple, jalapenos and of course, tequila. The ‘Hot Lady’ cocktail – a name that is quite appropriate that Chica Linda means exactly that in Spanish – is a sweet concoction of guava and tequila, while the Panamargarita packs a punch with salt and jalapenos.
It’s hard to ignore a drink that lists ‘fire’ as an ingredient. Even though it’s a weeknight, we promptly order some Burnin’ Passion shots for the table and go a little snap-happy at the fire burning out of the passionfruit cups. The shot itself seems to be quite variable, with some people spluttering at the strong taste of alcohol and others downing the sweet passionfruit and vodka mix easily. We suspect that the fire element comes from a high-proof spirit which allows it to burn for quite a long time – but it also means that it can taste quite alcoholic if there’s too much of it!
These chicharones are a great drinking snack. The puffy, light deep fried pork rinds are sprinkled with a chilli seasoning and served with a tangy guasacaca sauce.