EDIT: The Abercombie has closed
Deep fried Gaytime. Because surely a coating of batter could only make this sentimental childhood favourite even better than we remembered? It's not the only thing we're excited about as we head into the newly re-opened Abercrombie Hotel, resurrected after closing for more than a year.
Booth seating and library shelves
The Abercrombie was always a popular haunt for university students, particularly its Friday night Purple Sneakers parties. The hotel has been leased to Jaime Wirth, one of the Gang Bang DJs, and re-opened on July 22 after five weeks of refurbishments.
Described as a "Scottish pub meets American frat house", the decor is a mix of tartan-covered booth seating, filled bookshelves and a cheeky assortment of paintings that range from bulldogs and bagpipe players to naked women. Our only quibble is that the tables at the booths seem designed for drinks not food, which makes eating in rather tricky.
Beware of sharks
Mac n cheese balls with aioli $12
The menu is aimed squarely at carb-hungry uni students, with plenty of quirky items to keep things interesting. We came back the next day to try out more items, and still haven't covered the entire menu.
Inside the mac n cheese balls with aioli
Snacks range from $5.50 tacos to "drunken stones mac prawns" for $14. We go straight for the mac n cheese balls, deep-fried orbs of macaroni and cheese that are served with a side of aioli. Surprisingly we find the macaroni cheese in need of salt, and the aioli is probably oil overkill, but the crust is deliciously crunchy and golden..
Hot artichoke and parmesan dip $8
Hot artichoke and parmesan is perfect with beer, hot and oozing with cheese.
Scotch egg slider $6
I couldn't resist ordering the Scotch egg slider, that arrives on a too-cute-for-words miniature brioche burger bun.
Inside the Scotch egg
A quail egg is encased with sausage mince then dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It's ridiculously tasty, especially with its generous slather of mayonnaise.
Bag of fish $10 weekday lunch (regular price $16)
Main meals run from $10 (toad in the hole) to $19 (bbq pork ribs) but a limited selection are available for only $10 at lunchtime on weekdays. One of the healthiest options is probably the bag of fish, an all-in-one meal of fish, greens, fennel, new potatoes, garlic, lemon and cherry tomatoes steamed in a paper parcel. Unfortunately we find the fish to be a little on the bland side when we tried it.
Beetroot salad $10 weekday lunch (regular price $11)
Beetroot salad is a pleasant mix of baby spinach leaves, red onion slivers, walnuts, fetta and chunks of tinned beetroot in a lemony dressing.
Chorizo taco 2 for $10 weekday lunch (regular price $5.50 each)
There are four types of tacos available (chorizo, lamb, shroom and chipotle chicken). Usually they're priced at $5.50 each but you can get two for $10 at lunchtime, or score them for $3 a pop on Wednesdays after 6pm.
The tacos are damn tasty, generous with filling and wrapped in a soft fresh tortilla. The chorizo taco is high on the spice factor, a rubble of pan-fried chorizo pieces served on a bed of red cabbage and queso fresco cheese and adorned with pickled jalapeno chile peppers.
Chipotle chicken and shroom tacos 2 for $10 weekday lunch (regular price $5.50 each)
The chipotle chicken taco comes with black bean relish, fresco, tomatilla salsa and chipotle sauce and there's plenty of flavour in the shroom taco, a mix of wild mushrooms with pickled enoki, shredded red cabbage, queso fresco cheese, avocado salsa and chipotle sauce.
El Yucateco chile habanero hot sauce
BBQ pork burger $10 weekday lunch (regular price $17)
Dedication to research has meant we have managed to cover all the burgers and sandwiches on the menu. The BBQ pork burger is probably our least favourite, not the pulled pork I was expecting, but thick slices of Chinese char siu barbecued pork. The pork isn't particularly sweet nor caramelised, and ends up being a little lost in between the cabbage slaw, mayonnaise and thick burger bun.
Fried chicken burger $10 weekday lunch (regular price $17)
The fried chicken burger offers more promise but we find the chicken a little on the dry side. We're hoping this was just a one-off glitch, because fried chicken in a burger with chilli mayonnaise and slaw should be a guarantee of awesome.
Philly cheese steak $10 weekday lunch (regular price $17)
Philly cheese steak is the cheese river of your dreams. Warm soft bun, tender slices of beef, diced capsicum, mayonnaise and a cascade of melted cheese will make your toes curl.
Schnitzel with bolognaise $10 weekday lunch (regular price $16)
I love the pairing of schnitzel with spaghetti bolognaise and chips, because sometimes you don't know if you want pasta or fried. This is comfort food by the bucket, a crunchy-coated chicken schnitzel draped with ham and melted cheese accompanied by a scoop of spaghetti with beef mince and a mountain of hot chips. Hello starving uni students...
Double cheeseburger $10 weekday lunch (regular price $17)
The double cheeseburger offers everything your local fast food outlet does not. It's bigger than your head and comes with two all beef patties, tomato sauce and double cheese. There's no sesame seed bun but there are pickles, mustard, tomato and a crazy amount of mayonnaise.
Inside the double cheeseburger
It's a burger that hugs you on the inside, even as it leaves a sticky trail of sauce around your lips.
Bar stools inside The Abercrombie
Deep fried Golden Gaytime $7
If your childhood was anything like mine, it included that biscuit-coated choc-dipped caramel ice cream, the Golden Gaytime. Back then, a Gaytime was an innocent iced confection, said without today's requisite eyebrow raise.
At The Abercrombie, they've embraced this childhood delight and given it the highest adulation possible - deep frying it.
Inside the deep fried Golden Gaytime
Break through the outside crust of the deep fried Golden Gaytime and you'll find the ice cream you still remember. Hot crunchy batter, cool vanilla and caramel ice cream and the sound of sighs of happiness all around. It's ludicrously rich but worth it.
What else can you deep fry? On Tuesday nights there are stoner food specials for $10, with deep fried pizza making a regular appearance. Whoah.
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The Abercrombie (CLOSED)
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8/08/2011 02:52:00 a.m.