Chica Linda: a timely facelift

And then, there was Chica Linda. The former Carrington (read my former review here) spruced up with a generous amount of paint in a kaleidoscope of colors, a reformed Latin American inspired menu; and VOILA, the Drink n Dine group had itself a new baby; adding to its successful line of niche ventures like House of Crabs, Queenies, Norfolk & The Forresters (and another one here!). 

With a fresh coat of cheer, Chica Linda is all set to win the regulars back, swapping its Spanish Pinxto stylised menu for an amped up full-flavored Latina one capable of soothing quivering tongues. 

We were first treated to an 'amuse-bouche' of spiced melon. The dash of heat hidden among the mild sweetness of the unripened melons giving a sneak peak of whats to come.

For the peckish, there are plenty of snacks on the menu that would go down well with a swashbuckling of beers. The Chicarones ($5) with guasacaca sauce is a smart example. Guasacaca is essentially a Venezulan version of a guacamole; where the usual suspect lime is replaced with vinegar. Deep fried and well seasoned with a heavy hand, these pork rinds have a puffed rice sort of texture combined with the delicate taste note of carnitas. My one gripe was that these were not freshly fried to order and the humidity probably got to them first before I could.

Next up on my journey through Latin Cuisine, Arepas: flat bread made from corn or cooked flour. This  was a dish I've been meaning to try for the longest time after my obsessions with food truck programs introduced me to this strange ethnic beauty. We had the Smoked Pork, honey chipotle glaze, pickled slaw ($6) as well as the Soft shell Crab, avocado, hot sauce ($6). The former impressed more with its' hefty anchoring of tangy slaw perched over the thick cut of smoked pork. The soft shell crab on the other hand needed some major boosting with respect to its portion size as the sandwiched crab was a measly portion. Zooming in on the arepas themselves, these corncakes had a delightful rustic flavor but were a little too dense and stodgy for my liking.

For me, the real strength is in the Puerto Rican roast pork ($35) with salsa criolla, an amazing assemblage of tender cooked flesh and pure white fats with bits of charred crackling. Spiced black beans and corn over the top, this lifted the dish with a herby vibrancy. 

Chica Linda, barely a week old now has managed to up the ante by presenting its diners with a hodgepodge of unfamiliar Latin American flavors. For a fiery dose (check out the scotch bonnet sauce they offer on the side of the table, it's DA BOMB!) of exotic fare, head on down to Chica Linda, the latest casual chic joint at the back of The Carrington for a hearty meal. FYI, brunch is now served as well... just maybe.. that warrants another trip.

Chica Linda
543 Bourke Street,
Surry Hills

Chica Linda on Urbanspoon


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Meet Sihan

Snap Eat Love is Lee Sihan. 27 going on 28, she is a dessert enthusiast, food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Sydney. Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen

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