EDIT: The Abercombie has closed
Is there such a thing as too much fried? Nay, I say. If it can be dipped in batter, then go ahead and deep-fry that baby.
And that's just the way the folk behind the Abercrombie Hotel feel, too. First they gave us the deep-fried Gaytime. Now they've unleashed the joys of deep-fried pizza and Twinkies to the Sydney masses.
Fries with mayo and gravy $7
We make the mistake of presuming there'll be a post-work 6pm rush at The Abercrombie, but uni students finish lectures way earlier than that, and the place is already heaving by 5.30pm on a Friday afternoon.
Minh manages to score the last booth and settle in with a round of beers, ciders and G&Ts. It doesn't take long for our first order of food to be delivered from the kitchen and we make short work of the terracotta bowl filled with crinkle cut fries and pickle slices. It comes with pots of mayonnaise and gravy, but the gravy is too thin and watery for adequate dipping.
Deep-fried pizza $9
It's the deep-fried pizza that gets our attention though. Encrusted with a gnarled and nobbly golden batter, every bite comes with a satisfying crunch. It's a simple cheese and salami pizza inside, but the base is surprisingly thin and not half as bready as you'd expect. Instead this is more like a celebration of batter, wait, make that an orgy of batter, and yes, you're likely to feel just as awkward throughout the entire experience.
Rave juice $10 during Friday happy hour 6pm-8pm (normally $13)
The Abercrombie isn't afraid to have fun with their cocktails, and rave juice is probably the quirkiest - a mix of agwa and Red Bull served in a ziplock bag complete with glow stick at the bottom. Agwa is a herbal liquer made with Bolivian coca leaves, guarana and other herbs. It's fun but messy, especially if your ziplock bag springs a leak.
Cocktail happy hour happens every Friday night, which is also spruiked as Totally Barry, or a 'good time' in local Edinburgh slang.
Philly cheese steak sandwich and fries $17
Philly cheese steak arrives in a soft bun and smothered with melted cheese. The only inconsistency is that the beef comes as seared steak cubes, and not the tender beef slices I enjoyed on my last visit (a crucial component of a Philly cheese steak sandwich).
Double cheeseburger and fries $17
The double cheeseburger hits the spot, two beef patties slathered with mayonnaise and tomato sauce and slapped between two halves of a toasted sesame seed bun. The cheese is stringy but it's the zing of pickled gherkins that tips it from average to awesome.
Pie stack $15
The pie stack is a Scottish version of the Aussie pie floater. The pie itself is particularly impressive, with superb flaky pastry holding a huddle of tender braised beef. The rosti potato pancake on top is a little greasy, and the clapshot, a traditional Scottish dish of mashed potato and turnip, tastes more like mashed potato with shreds of carrot. I dig the mushy peas though, and the lake of gravy.
Deep-fried Twinkie $8
Only happiness can come from rainbows! You can't help but smile at the sight of the deep-fried Twinkie, draped with an archway of marshmallow fluff and covered in sprinkles. The batter is unexpectedly thin but even the rainbow can't disguise the taste of artificial cream in the middle of the sponge cake finger.
On a Friday night, however, it's mostly about the beer, and as if to prove it, all the beer taps run dry by 9.30pm. At 10.30pm the back area is cleared for a dance floor and a roving balloon man handing out poodles and swords. Totally Barry.
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The Abercrombie (CLOSED)
Lansdowne Hotel, Chippendale
Stitch Bar, Sydney
The Dip at Goodgod, Sydney
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10/24/2011 01:23:00 am