Chica Linda at The Carrington, Surry Hills

There’s a new South American restaurant on the scene and she’s got the lot: potent cocktails, spicy share food and a healthy breaky in the morning. We approve.

The Carrington has been keeping a secret. They’ve been planning to close down their Spanish restaurant out the back for a while, only to reopen as South American eat house. And in two weeks time, this will become a reality.

Señors, Señoritas, we bring you… Chica Linda. She’s colourful, flirty and ready to guide you through a taste exploration of Cuba, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Peru.

Well, she will be. Give her to the 2nd of May, ok?

If Chica Linda tells us anything, it’s that the South American trend isn’t going anywhere fast. We’re just fine with that. Keep the tequila cocktails and fresh ceviche coming our way, please and thank you.

The menu looks like something you designed on Paint in the mid 90s, which proves once again that Drink ‘n’ Dine (also behind House of Crabs, The Norfolk, Forresters and The Oxford Tavern, to name a few) has a magical ability to turn tacky into cool. Eating is divided into family style dishes to share, meals for one of the big and small variety (expect loads of seafood here) and the kind of bar food that’ll have you ungraciously licking your fingers afterwards.

There’s a few dishes jumping out that we can’t wait to get our hands on – the Bar-B-Qued Cuttlefish with paw paw and ancho chilli, the Amazon jungle curry with sweet potato, yucca, squash, coconut, pineapple, rice and beans – but the real mystery lies in the Coca-Cola rice and beans. Is the rice cooked in Coke instead of water? And what does Coca-Cola rice taste like, anyway?

Health-nuts, you’ll find your way through. We can spy quinoa and chia seeds in between the chillis, chipotles and hot sauces. That being said, one glance at the desserts will have you down in a flash for cheat day. Can we just go ahead and order the Cuban Cooldown, with Mojito pineapple, cherry sorbet, coconut ice and cassava chips before our mains? Gracias.

Drinks-wise, you’re looking at a fresh and fruity cocktail list making liberal use of South American spirits and relevant puns (anyone up for a Pana Margarita?). Cervezas (read: beers) take the form of “south of the border tinnies” and tapped Australian brews, while wines are all from a South American grape.

The only thing that’ll wrestle us away from drinks like the Red Eye Especial (Cachaca, Coffee, Cacao and Coconut) is the promise of breakfast. Come Saturdays and Sundays, you can cure last night’s drinking sesh with Corn Arepa Benedicts, Aztec Greens (quinoa, barley, kale and a poached egg) and smoked fish and tamarillo tostadas.

And if that doesn’t do it, a morning Tomatillo Bloody Mary should do the trick.

Chica Linda opens to the public on Friday 2nd May, with breakfast starting on May 10th. Like us on Facebook to find out when she's up and running!

What you need to know

Address: 563 Bourke St, Surry Hills

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday from 6pm, Friday from 1pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am

Find Chica Linda on Facebook: Chica Linda

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