Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dine Under $40: Kika, Darlinghurst + Hinky Dinks

Following on from The Victoria Room, Spanish restaurant Kika is another little beauty in the Kings Cross area (otherwise known as Darlinghurst to sound a little less seedy so you have less explaining to do - unlike Peter Slipper and his Cabcharges.)

I came here with a group of 5 girls on a Saturday night and we kicked things off with a 1L jug of sangria ($22) i.e. red wine infused with flavours of apple and orange.  We agreed it was one of the sweetest sangrias we'd ever had, which undoubtedly led to another jug being ordered.

Of course being at a Spanish restaurant meant ordering a seafood paella was a no brainer.  In terms of tapas, we had the creamy garlic mushrooms, BBQ Spanish chorizo, meatballs in traditional Spanish tomato sauce, garlic prawns in Spanish olive oil, cuttlefish marinated in saffron, and the deep fried calamari rings with aioli.

I thought the tapas were all delicious with the exception of the mushrooms - they were a little undercooked and lacked flavour.  Sadly, the paella was too salty and seemed a little on the small side.

Generally speaking, paying around $15 for a 'half' dish like tapas doesn't spell value to me.    However, I'd say the tapas sizes at Kika are generous relative to other Spanish establishments I've been to.  

Overall, venue was nice, waitresses were attentive and food came out promptly.  I wouldn't say the taste blew me away (I suppose I am a little sore over the paella being too salty).  However I'd recommend trying out this place, if only for the sangria.

We then headed off to watch some cakemaking at Messina and marvelled at their beautiful creations before indulging in some gelato next door.

Next stop was a little bar called Hinky Dinks, only a block away from Kings Cross station.  As we walked in, we were greeted by the bartender who brought us little packets of popcorn and took our drink orders.  The bar clearly has a carnival theme with interesting drinks including 'spyder' alcohol i.e. with icecream dunked inside, as well as your usual stuff.  I thought it was a nice touch that the bartender accommodated us personally instead of asking us to order at the bar.  Hinky Dinks is one of the quietest bars I've ever been to, not because there's noone there, but because unlike other bars, it doesn't pump out dance music so loudly you can't hear others talking.  There are cheap drinks going from 5pm to 8pm, and the cocktails were mostly a little under $20.

I suppose I judged Kings Cross a little too harshly in my last post, but with that being said, as I waited for my bus home, a group of 8 policeman decided to stop by next to me whilst pulling a car over (thankfully I was not in trouble with the law!)   I think Kings Cross is still a little too 'edgy' for a girl like me.

Value rating for Kika:

Serving size: 9/10

Taste: 8/10

Price: 7/10

Final rating: Ice-T

Kika Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon Hinky Dinks on Urbanspoon

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