If you read my last post (I don’t know why you wouldn’t, but it’s great… I’ll help you, it’s right here 😉 ) I said sneakers and fried chicken are a big part of my life. Throw in hip-hop music and doughnuts and there you have it – you’ve just described all the things that I love in this world. Luckily for me, The Carrington is the place that put’s them all together by setting up the Hip Hop Chicken Shop for the month of February. Expanding on the popular menu, the Pop Up’s menu takes a different turn to highlight new flavours as imagined by Head Chef, Dave Penistone.
The front of The Carrington looks like any other pub in Surry Hills. Due to its recent refurbishment, the back dining area opens you up to an entirely different concept and ambiance with it’s flourishing greenery, timber tabletops and white windows; giving a very familial touch to the iconic Surry Hills pub to so many locals. Specifically for the pop-up’s vibe, it took a little throwback to the 90s hip-hop scene… funny enough, most of the songs that were playing from the likes of Outkast and Snoop Dogg, I was too young to remember when they came out but that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to it now.
We started off the night with Watermelon Margarita ($25) mixing Don Julio Tequila, watermelon, lime, jalapeños and soda. The watermelon was refreshing, taking sweet and fresh notes whilst the lime livened up the drink adding a spritz of sourness. There was a hint of jalapeño, which was a little kick at the end of every sip. Now when I think of tequila, I think of all the mistakes I made as an 18 year old. This drink was definitely not one of those. There was a slight taste of the liquor, making this a very deadly beverage, popping glass after glass and before you know it you’ll be ‘dropping it like it’s hot’.
The 50 Cent Wings were deep fried chicken wings with a beer glaze and served with a blue cheese sauce, and just with that description – how can you go wrong? The distinct, strong aroma of the blue cheese was the first thing we’re hit with; that was quickly followed by the salty, robust flavour when the wing was dipped into the sauce. My favourite part of the chicken are definitely the wings because of its succulent and juicy flesh on the bone. This juiciness was encrusted in a deep golden crunchy exterior and at 50c a piece, you really can’t complain. Definitely my favourite from the night.
The Chicken, Bacon and Doughnut burger ($19) with a ginger slaw was a fairly complex addition to the menu with so many flavours working together. The streaky bacon was crisp to perfection bringing a layer of saltiness and smokiness. The doughnut was the surprise element and made the burger quite memorable. Being sugar coated, it brought a sweet end note to every bite, balancing out the spiciness from the chili paste and saltiness from the bacon. The ginger slaw was what livened up each bite as it added freshness and tang and was visually appealing with the crimson pink slithers of pickled ginger dispersed throughout the burger.
The Grilled Chicken Burger ($18) with slaw, manchego cheese and chipotle sauce was another great addition to the menu. The bun was light with a pillowy texture that was slightly sweet. The chipotle sauce was the same used in the previous burger but I feel in worked better in this variation as it gave a little tingle on the tip of your tongue and was a developing heat with every bite. The manchego cheese had a distinct smokiness and a mild, nutty sharp taste with a smooth, creamy texture and when melted on top of the grilled chicken was simplicity at its finest.
Lastly, we ended the night with the only dessert on the menu – the 40oz. Pale Ale Cheesecake ($12). I have a confession. I don’t like cheesecake. When I think of cheesecake, I immediately imagine a dense and heavy dessert that you buy from the local supermarket. This was definitely not the case here because I only have one word. Wow. It was so light and fluffy with a more creamy flavour and texture rather than the aforementioned. The cheesecake itself wasn’t overly sweet but it was the caramel that seemed to be infused with Pale Ale that brought the whole dessert together. The malty notes from the Pale Ale fused with the sweet yet deep richness from the caramel heightened the flavour of the cheesecake. The base was like a graham cracker crust that was literally soaked in buttery goodness. My companions and I demolished this in 4 minutes. Not even embarrassed.
The moment I walked in, I could see the NBA being played on the screens, hip hop music playing in the background and could smell chicken being fried to a crisp — not sure if I was in the Ghetto or in Sydney?
The Hip Hop Chicken Shop at The Carrington is on for the month of February 2016, so there’s still one more week to get ‘The Fix’… as Nelly would say, and I mean Fried Chicken.
UPDATE: I have just received word that the Fried Chicken Wings will stay on the Happy Hour menu for $1 a piece after the conclusion of the popup. Looks like I’m coming back 🙂
The Carrington Sydney
565 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW
Phone:(02) 9357 3754
Web: The Carrington Sydney