Down-N-Out has to be one of the cheekiest pop-ups to hit Sydney. Euphemistically labelling itself as a tribute to American fast food cult In-N-Out, there's an unabashed synchronicity between both menus, including a "secret menu" that is a distinct trademark of the original. When the real In-N-Out popped up in Sydney (twice), locals started queueing at 6am for the midday opening.
Order counter at Down-N-Out
There's little doubt that Down-N-Out is seeking to cash in on that Sydneysider obsession, taking over the kitchen at the Sir John Young Hotel that was previously home to one of the few remaining tapas joints in the Spanish Quarter, La Tapa Guapa. Running the kitchen is Sebastien Cens, former head chef of Mr Crackles.
The back dining room has had a minor update with comic graphics on the wall but otherwise the furniture has remained the same. The crowd is a mix of burger fans and backpackers. Large TV screens are dedicated to sports. A handful of outdoor tables line the footpath.
The blackboard menu (over the entry doors to the women's bathrooms, no less) is deliberately brief. Unlike the original In-N-Out, they do mention the Secret Menu on the order board. A vegetarian option is also available.
Prepping burgers in the kitchen
The not-so-secret menu at In-N-Out is most famous for the ability to order your burger "Animal® Style". That means cooking your beef patty in mustard and adding pickles and extra spread (a kind of Thousand Island dressing) with grilled onions. Animal fries means your chips are covered in cheese, grilled until the cheese melts and then loaded with onions and spread.
Double Tiger-style with added bacon
At Down-N-Out, they call this Tiger-style. Because. Registered trademarks. Unlike In-N-Out, you can also add bacon.
Doubles Tiger-style with Tiger fries
Order and pay at the counter, receive a buzzer and pick up your order when it starts flashing. Grab a drink from the hotel bar while you wait.
Food is served on red plastic trays with burgers propped up in white paper bags. The tray liner is worth saving if you remember, unfolding to an A3 poster by Sydney-based illustration artist and cartoonist, John Roderick Paine.
Double Tiger-style with added bacon $19
We go straight for the double, adding bacon, and ordering it Tiger-style. And you know what? It's pretty darn good. The burger patties are juicy, the cheese has been melted well, and the salad is crisp and fresh. You get a full rasher of bacon and a generous amount of that Thousand Island-tasting spread. Caramelised onions provide a element of sweetness.
The brioche bun is toasted but still soft. It's a messy eat but most good burgers are.
Tiger fries $5
The Tiger fries are a tasty side. Plain fries are $3 but an extra $2 yields melted cheese, caramelised onions and a healthy dollop of spread. The fries have been cooked to a good crisp and there's enough sauce to get everything sticky. We scrape the cardboard clean.
Originally pegged as a two-week pop-up. Down-N-Out will now continue their run through to September. Shakes are set to be added to the menu soon.
Down-N-Out at the Sir John Young Hotel
557 George Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02)
Tuesday to Saturday 11.30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm (Fri and Sat til late)
Latest news is that Down-N-Out will be popping up until September. Check their Facebook page for latest updates.
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7/04/2016 01:36:00 am