What a surprise THE CARTER SYDNEY was. I was invited to visit from the lovely folks at the Trish Nicol Agency and when I got the invite I just imagined some drinks and a dinner in a pub. When I got there it was instead the most ballin venue I have been to in Sydney. A veritable hip hop palace dedicated to Jay-Z aka Shawn Corey Carter. Weeknights its a wonderful, huge, and mostly quiet CBD bar and restaurant and on the weekends – LOOK OUT – it’s all hip hop, drinks and partying in a wickedly cool venue.
THE CARTER SYDNEY – THIS VENUE IS TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL:
I am way too uncool for THE CARTER SYDNEY. I assumed it was a funky palace of worship for Beyonce and Kanye and all the other hip hop people. But then I was advised Carter was Jay-Z’s surname, the actual guy married to Beyonce. You will see them on wall graffiti around the venue, mostly in the lower, club dance floor and toilet area. Apparently this place pumps on the weekends. The men’s toilets have some insane wall art and you would probably be forgiven for pissing on Donald Trump (although Spooning Australia in no way advocates pissing out of the bowl!!). The venue is nearly worth the visit alone to see the art work downstairs – I just kept clapping and giggling and taking pics, I even dragged Laarni in to the mens to check it out haha.
The venue is heritage listed and at one stage was the fancy marbled Westpac bank of Sydney. In the main bar level, the ex-foyer and general banking section of the bank, you will notice that speakers and lighting is all affixed to gold scaffolding that is permanently up. This is to protect the walls and the like from drill holes etc. It is not however a good pole dancing opportunity, although the more drinks I had the more I wanted to start some twirling.
The centre of the main street level is taken up by a massive bar island which you can access from every side. There is seating all around the edges and at the back. To the side there is also stairs to the lower levels and stairs to the upper, weekend VIP booth areas, where you can no doubt get your Cristal and Patron shots delivered to be enjoyed in privacy with your posse.
THE DRINKS, THE FOOD AND STUFF WE LOVED AND STUFF WE DIDN’T:
There was a few let downs on the night. Firstly they had one staff member serving food and running the bar – our drink orders took 20mins to arrive and the ordering and delivery of courses went very slow on the night. But we were having so much fun it wasn’t detrimental to our experience. The first two cocktails we ordered were not available on this night – the Froze machine wasn’t working and they didn’t yet have the new stock for the alternate I chose. But the good news was the cocktails we had were AMAZING.
The menu itself is as impressive as the venue. Most of the items have some form of Hip Hop artist tie-in. For example Laarni’s cocktail was the DRUNK IN LOVE – inspired by Beyonce’s DRUNK IN LOVE and the line “I’ve been drinking watermelon.” Vanilla Vodka, pomegranate liquor (I think it should be spelled liqueur), fresh watermelon juice and raspberry cordial. The menu even has a provocative picture of Queen B herself looking out at you – who wouldn’t want to drink a dozen of these!! I smashed the SIRI RUMI – the drink even looks like the picture of Beyonce when she revealed SIRI and RUMI to the world. The drink was Amaretto, passionfruit, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, egg white and orange bitter – deeeeeelish, downed it in about 20secs haha.
Their wine is mostly from Australia and NZ but they do get fancy with the sparkling, escalating to Moet, Veuve and the Dom – I find it a disservice they have no Cristal in a hip hop venue haha. Food wise it’s a lot of share plates, burgers, and some pimped up bar food. Plus – the best chicken and waffles you will ever have!!
WHAT WE ORDERED:
- Delicioso Guacamole
- The Southern Cheesy Hush Puppies – deep fried cheese corn bread served with red eye mayo
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings
- Obama Fried Chicken – Buttermilk chicken deep fried and served with homemade waffles, watermelon slices and finished off with a side of watermelon inspired hot sauce, maple syrup and vanilla ice creamm
- Southern Pork Loin – pan baked pork with creamy mint peas and roasted kipflers
- The Carter Signature House-Made Waffles – house made red velvet waffles served with popcorn ice-cream drizzled with berry sauce
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The food is near perfection. This should have made my Top20 venues of 2017 but will make 2018 instead – I do intend on returning. Guac was standard but good and was the perfect starter with cocktails. OMG – the hush puppies – first foodgasm right there! So divine and with a wonderful dipping sauce, I could have just had a big bowl of these and been satisfied, but no, we ordered enough food for six people and nearly died trying to eat it all.
Next up was the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings – these were Laarni’s favourite. I enjoyed them and the spice was wonderful but as soon as the next dish arrived I creamed my pants and there was nothing else in my vision while I made sweet sweet love to the Obama Fried Chicken. The single best Chicken and Waffles dish I have ever eaten. Admittedly I have only had three in my life but this is miles above the others. It is large enough to feed three people and only costs $30-. The crunch on the chicken nearly made me cry and the waffles were perfect. The watermelon was a fantastic addition and was perfect with the hot sauce and other things on the platter. Trips to The Carter will not be complete without this dish!!
By this stage I was so full I didn’t want more food. But the Southern Pork Loin arrived and it too was so delicious we had to shovel in as much as we could. And then we forgot about dessert in a pre foodporn coma. But arrive it did. We took turns punching each other in the stomach so we could throw food in when each other gasped with mouth agape. Haha. It was so delightful and so wonderfully fruity I am still delirious as to how we got through this epic Red Velvet Waffle Dish.
It should be noted we each took home a bag filled with left overs. No food went to waste.
THE CARTER SYDNEY was a marvellous find. If, like me, you are beyond your clubbing ballin age then I highly recommend a quiet weeknight early dinner here so you can smash some epic food and drinks and still get home in time to watch some Netflix before a 10pm beauty sleep. If you are still capable of dancing ten kilos off on the dance floor while slamming Patrón shots in-between swigging Veuve out of the bottle hit this place up on the weekends for epic food, cocktails and one frakking awesome hip hop venue.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food,1/2 service, 0/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
The Carter Sydney Deets:
PH: 02 9231 1640
16 O’ Connell St Sydney NSW 2000
BOOKINGS: Yes – check with venue
Mon – Thur: 11am – 10pm
Fri: 11am – 2am
Sat: 5pm – 2am
TAKEAWAY: Apparently yes – but odd
LOCAL DELIVERY: Yes
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – limited
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – limited
KID FRIENDLY: Definitely not
Website – although not a fan – it looks like you need to sign up to their newsletter to enter – no thanks
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment and/or any PR agencies representing them. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such ***
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