The Carrington: Beba Y Cene, Surry Hills

Ah, technology… I love it. I, like many, use it most waking hours, from my job to my personal life. I also, like many, am never without my iPhone. This glorious invention has a solution for everything I could need: weather updates, GPS directions, iPod, camera, and numerous apps for anything you can think of.

However, there is one aspect of daily life where I am old school

I keep a real paper diary (this is 2011’s if you’re interested, because it’s so cute). I just can’t make the transition to the phone calendar, it feels wrong. I’m also a serial list-writer and list-making iPhone apps just don’t cut it! You see my precious paper diary not only holds important information like birthdays and events, but also my ever-growing list of restaurants and cafes I want to visit.

Very rarely a restaurant will catch my interest so intensely that it doesn’t even make it on the list – it must be visited ASAP. That is what happened when I started reading about The Carrington.

I was looking for a place to take Paul for his birthday dinner, and thanks to Head Chef Jamie Thomas’s tweets, and subsequently the online menu, I immediately knew that The Carrington would be perfect. I showed the menu to Paul, which features some of his favourite food words such as morcilla and chorizo, and his response was an instant ‘yes’.

Another Surry Hills gem, The Carrington reopened its restaurant 3 months ago as Beba Y Cene (which I believe roughly translates to drink and dinner/eat). The nicely priced, share-friendly bar and restaurant menus focus on Iberian cuisine, with a range of pintxos and tapas, perfect for grazing with a drink in the front bar, and larger meals, or, platos grande.

Hot olives, $6 (given complimentary)

I arrived at 6.30pm on a Friday night and both the bar and restaurant areas were already loud and buzzing, full of happy people celebrating the end of another week in that wonderfully festive, social way of good food and drink.

Taking a seat in the restaurant section and poised for people-watching, I admired its warmth and quirky details, such as beer cartons on a drop shelf from the ceiling, a whale cut-out, and hanging plastic vines. I was given a plate of warm mixed olives while I waited for Paul to arrive, and it was rather difficult to refrain from eating them all myself.

With the birthday guest now seated it was time to get festive. Paul started with an Estrella beer and I chose the ‘Single Mother’ cocktail ($10). A mixture of red wine, Southern Comfort, sugar, fresh nutmeg, and ginger beer, the ‘Single Mother’ is probably one of the most delicious cocktails I have ever had. I loved it so much I went back for seconds. Maybe thirds too, but I can’t remember…

In my usual style I had been studying the menu for a couple of weeks prior to dining, yet it was still difficult to decide on what to order. We thought we would order modestly to start, and chose 2 pintxos, 2 tapas, and 1 platos grande. This order turned out to be not so modest though, as the serving sizes here are generous and they are deliciously rich.

left to right: Chorizo, apple & cider, $12 | Kingfish pastrami, kohlrabi
& fried bread, $4 each

Being one of Paul’s favourites we had to order the chorizo with apple and cider. I must confess that my capacity for chorizo consumption is limited due to its richness and intensity, and I’m usually done after a couple of pieces. However Paul loved this dish, and the apple pieces and cider made me happy too.

The pintxos of soft pieces of the cured kingfish pastrami sat atop a mound of creamy kohlrabi on fried bread. Topped with crunchy gherkins, I loved the different textures and flavours of this dish.

centre: Chicken parfait, pear & saffron chutney, $3.50 each

Now. About the chicken parfait… With the first bite my eyes widened in pure wonderment and joy at this creamy, smooth, rich, flavoursome spread. Accompanied by a sweet pear and saffron chutney, this was our favourite dish of the night. It probably took up half our stomach spaces, effectively ruining my dessert capacity, but it was so worth it.

Bull’s tail empanadas, $12

The bull’s tail empanadas had a nicely crisp pastry outer, and were filled with a rich ragu. There was a strong spice flavour throughout, which I think was cumin, and I enjoyed the boldness immensely.

Chef Jamie generously sent us a complimentary platter of their cured meats. Meltingly soft and thin slices of meats, including Jamon Serrano I believe, were presented delicately with caper berries and poached pears. I could easily eat a platter like this for dinner any day.

Fabada: pork belly, ham hock, chorizo & beans, $19

We were both full by this stage but still had the platos grande of fabada to go. Arriving in a cute terracotta pot, the fabada is a comforting, warming, rich dish of pork belly, ham hock, chorizo and beans, topped with a crumb. Paul found the flavour of the ham hock too strong, and he doesn’t love beans, though I enjoyed this dish.

Sadly, we had barely made a dent in this before we waved the white flag of defeat. But happily, I shamelessly requested to take home the leftovers as it would have been a terrible waste, and I finished it for lunch.

Dionysus Martini, $17 | Agua de Valencia, $10

The enticing sound of the desserts on offer could not help me through my stage of fullness, and I feel a bit sad not having tasted the churros con chocolate, creme catalan, or Pedro’s sherry trifle.

There was enough room for one last cocktail though. Paul chose the Dionysus Martini, a brilliant cocktail perfect for dessert, or any time really, of homemade fig-infused vodka and Medos honey vodka, served martini style with a slice of blue cheese. I needed cooling refreshment so chose the Agua de Valencia, a Spanish mimosa, with fresh Valencia juice topped with Cava (Spanish sparkling wine). A perfect end to a wonderful dinner.

How much do you rely on technology? Do you still keep a paper diary?

Head Chef Jamie Thomas

The Carrington: Beba Y Cene

Contact details:
61 2 9360 4714
565 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday, 12pm – 10pm (kitchen hours)

The Carrington – Specialite: Beba y Cene on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Bars, Eating Out, Tapas

21 responses to “The Carrington: Beba Y Cene, Surry Hills

  1. JB

    How awesome are the cocktails?! Had a chilli martini (?) which was a special for the day last time we were there. Had an awesome kick!

  2. I still have a paper diary – I use that for personal things and Outlook for work… old school ;)
    Yum yum yum – so many tempting pinxtos!

  3. I LOVE Pintox after trying them at Naked for Satan in Melbourne – such a fun way to eat. Now that I know they’re in Sydney too I think a trip to The Carrington is in order (onto my virtual wishlist it goes).

  4. I find myself using my paper diary less and less, and relying more on the electronic one. It’s taken a long time, considering I work in IT :) The food you ordered looks great, lucky you to have leftovers for lunch. BTW, “beba y cene” = “drink and dine”.

  5. Im not sure how we use to cope without technology. I have to say though, I buy diaries every year and use them for about a month or so then they end up in my bag less and less and fall by the bedside eventually lol. Maybe I should make it a NY resolution. Now THAT’s a long list! Haha

    • I was just thinking that around 11 years ago I had my first mobile phone in high school: a clunky Ericsson with under an inch of text space. Amazing how things change so quickly :)

      Haha well my kikki-k diary has stickers and a couple of recipes printed in it. Maybe that’ll help you stay interested in one? ;)

  6. Hehe yes I still have a a paper diary. It makes for some comical moments I must admit when I pull it out when making appointments. People think I’m mad but I can’t make the transition!

  7. Love this place! Went there just after it opened and loved everything. You must try the calamari sliders and the churros and trifle next time, so so good!!

    I felt like I was reading about myself with regard to making lists and keeping a paper diary. I totally agree the iPhone apps don’t cut it. I’m always making lists hehe

    Great post x

  8. I love technology but I still keep a journal. Those empanadas look amazing.

  9. I keep a paper diary too! The act of writing something down helps me remember. I’m a fool for unusual cocktails, so I’ll be visiting The Carrington soon!

    • I’m the same. Often all I need to do is write it down or set an alarm and I automatically remember, because I’m waiting for it!

      Definitely try their cocktails, amazing :)

  10. i love the carrington.
    i’m a bit grumpy though that it is so popular.
    sometimes it would be nice to wander down the street and actually get a table at a local restaurant.
    the cocktail mixers are solid performers and the door wench is actually friendly! i love the buffalo wings :drool:

  11. Pingback: September In A Nutshell | Cats – Love – Cooking

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