I walked into Sydney pub, The Carrington in Surry Hills one fine Sunday afternoon keen to check out the refurbishment and give the menu a whirl. Simultaneously, one very clever staff member switched the television channel, et voila, baseball.
How did they know? I love baseball but only some serious stalking on The Carrington’s behalf could have uncovered such a random fact. Or it was a total coincidence?
Yeah, okay. I suspect the latter too but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fab welcome to the revamped Bourke Street pub.
Now, let’s chat about that revamp, shall we? A little while back co-owner Luke Butler told The Urban List that the plan was to “create a true local pub” with “heaps of character”.
Well, kudos, Luke—you’ve nailed it.
With help from Sydney architect Lucy Humphrey, the interior is a casual and inviting space. Up front, the Bourke Street Bar is where the local feel most strongly resides. The heritage-tiled bar and restored parquetry floors add a glam touch without taking away from the welcoming vibe. In ‘The Poke’, large tables and benches invite guests to cosy up with friends—or perhaps just one—under lighting of a more romantic kind. But on this occasion I couldn’t resist setting up shop in the Garden Bar. The light, relaxed space is an ode to greenery with pops of contrasting colour by way of furniture and textiles. Perfect for my sunny afternoon.
With the baseball at my service, I turn to the drinks menu. The small cocktail list included an espresso martini ($18) so that was me sorted. Served in a faceted cordial glass, and with a dash of Licor 43 for good measure, it was an impressive take on the ol’ favourite. There are a few cocktail jugs ($35) available too. Had I have not been 1. driving and 2. dining with just one friend it would have been hard to go past the Apple and Cinnamon Mojito. Next time.
But hey, I know not everyone goes to their local for a cocktail. Good news then that The Carrington caters for all with a solid beer selection, including Stone & Wood and the Rocks Brewing Co on tap, and a strong but not exhaustive wine list.
By the glass, wines range from $8 to $13, which is a reasonable array in my book. The other end of the scale is covered too. If I ever feel like dropping $129 on a bottle, I could do worse than the Hewitson ‘Old Garden’ Mourvedre from the Barossa or the Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay from Tasmania’s Coal River.
Of course, no Sydney pub is complete without the grub and, thanks to Glebe Point Diner’s Alex Kearns and head chef Jon Cowan, The Carrington has crafted an appealing menu combining classic fare and European highlights.
I had heard a lot about the ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms, sage, amaretti and parmesan ($23) so I was pleased when my date ordered it. She knows me well enough to know she’d be sharing and it meant she got a crack at my grass-fed cheeseburger (well, the cow was grass-fed I guess, not the burger, that’d be weird) with shoestring fries ($18) so she was happy.
We agreed we weren’t overly hungry but went ahead and ordered the goat’s cheese croquettes ($13) to start anyway; our shared over-eating problem brings us closer. The decision was a good one. The croquettes are creamy spheres of deliciousness and the hint of honey is the perfect complement to the wonderfully tart cheese.
When our main meals arrived, we were full. But we soldiered on.
The gnocchi was light with just the right amount of rich. The burger was definitely tasty, although could have been slightly more rare and juicy for mine. Still, with a particularly generous side of fries, I was plenty satisfied.
For dessert, we did not have the warm chocolate brownie with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream ($12). Devastating as it was, we had to accept we were bursting at the seams.
Oh well. We’ll have to go back. And I suspect we won’t be the only ones committing to a return visit.
Image credit: Daryl Kong