Just open: Chica Linda at The Carrington

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The Achiote smoked chicken at Chica Linda.
The Achiote smoked chicken at Chica Linda. Photo: Supplied

RIP morcilla stuffed squid. Bienvenido grilled chicken hearts!

Muchas respetos to The Forresters, Norfolk, and Oxford Tavern, but The Carrington always had the best food in Drink 'n' Dine's portfolio.

Shame then that the pintxos and tapas have left us. But it's not all bad news, the group has set up Chica Linda in the back room with a pan-Latino menu.

Executive chef Jamie Thomas has crafted a menu that reads like an Intrepid tour of Central and South America. Examples include designed-to-share Puerto Rican roast pork with criolla (grape) salsa ($35), Amazon jungle curry with sweet potato, yucca, squash, coconut, rice, and beans served in a pineapple ($22), and barbecued cuttlefish with paw paw and chilli ($15).

Asado steak skewers with chimichurri ($35) make up in size and taste what they lack in tenderness. A green and red tomato salad with jicama (Mexican turnip), aji chilli, chia seeds and queso ($15) is by far the healthiest item on the menu.

Cocktails are expectedly fruity. The 'Hot Lady' - tequila, guava soda, and lime ($10) - is a perfect way to kick things off, particularly with a $6 smoked pork arepa (arepas are doughy, South American corn cakes).

Designer Mike Delaney has decorated the room with trademark panache. There's so much pink, yellow, and aqua around its impossible to not feel a little happier just by sitting down. The kitschy bric-a-brac factor has been calmed a notch and the centrepiece of the room is a busy mural of a classic South American village and a couple of its excited residents.

The famous Carrington breakfasts return 9am Saturday May 10 with a Latin twist. Expect chilli chicken and waffles, acai bowls, and smoked fish and tamarillo tostadas. And, of course, bloody marys.

Chica Linda, 563 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, 02 9360 4714
Mon-Fri 6-10pm, Fri 1-3pm, Sat-Sun 1pm-lat