When The Carrington became that rare thing — a Drink N Dine closure — it looked like the pub was gone for good. Now the venue is teeming with new life following a resurrection by Luke Butler and Roger Gregg, formerly of the Keystone Group.
Mirroring its leafy Bourke Street surrounds, The Carrington has emerged fresh as a daisy with new palm tree wallpaper, barnyard shutters and a tropical rainforest of hanging plants. Out the back where Chica Linda used to be, there's a dog-friendly garden bar where you can order a summery fruit pitcher and cuddle strangers' dogs. All that's left to do is kick back and wait for the beards to arrive.
Some of the biggest changes that have taken place are on the menu, which has been totally overhauled by Glebe Point Diner's Alex Kearns and head chef Jon Cowan. They've replaced their famous salami-laden parmaggedon with a much more dignified Kurobuta pork neck schnitzel ($24), which uses premium Japanese black Berkshire pig, the wagyu of the pork world. Prices have also leapt up too, but if you come on the right day there are still good deals to be had. On a Thursday you'll get that schnitty for half price, and on Wednesdays it's just $15 for a Greenstone Creek scotch fillet with cafe de Paris butter, which will set you back $26 the rest of the week.
As a whole, the quality of the food has lifted considerably, so if your flatmates are too busy, you can take your parents instead — even if they haven't been back since they were served fries in liquid cheese last time. Alongside bistro classics, there's a salt poached chicken salad with freekeh, pickled zucchini, green tahini and mint ($20) as well as goat's cheese and thyme croquettes with a drizzle of honey ($13). The management were kind enough to let me trade up a side of shoestring fries for crispy smashed spuds in celery salt with smoked aioli ($10), which had all the nostalgia value of Sizzler's potato skins. I recommend highly.
The feasting ended with a pavlova-gone-wrong, otherwise known as an Eton mess ($12). A beautiful tousle of whipped cream and strawberries with ripples of poached rhubarb, topped with black pepper spiked meringue is sensational. It's just one of the many good things about the new and improved Carrington.
Image credit: Diana Scalfati