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Monday, August 08, 2011

Abercrombie Hotel, Chippendale (CLOSED)

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

Student diners

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.

Oh deer

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.

Deep fried pizza (image from The Abercrombie Facebook page)

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.

View Larger Map
Abercrombie on Urbanspoon

The Abercrombie
100 Broadway, Chippendale, Sydney
(corner of Broadway and Abercrombie Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9280 2178

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Lansdowne Hotel, Chippendale
Stitch Bar, Sydney
The Dip at Goodgod, Sydney
37 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/08/2011 02:52:00 am


  • At 8/08/2011 3:14 am, Anonymous Lola (Figs and Brie) said…

    FUCK YES, I noticed this re-opening just in time for the start of semester. I know where I'll be after late lectures and gaps in between classes. The food looks better than I imagined.

  • At 8/08/2011 3:33 am, Anonymous Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    You had me at deep fried Golden Gaytime! $10 is pretty good value for a lunch time feed like this.

  • At 8/08/2011 3:50 am, Anonymous divemummy said…

    I think the Abercrombie has done their research - spot-on uni student food.

    Deep-fried Gaytime .... mmmmm......

  • At 8/08/2011 4:40 am, Blogger easyfoodhacks said…

    I wish I were a Uni student again so I can eat all that fat-laden food, and be no worse for wear.

  • At 8/08/2011 6:45 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    This is awesomely great! Everything looks very inviting.

    About time someone did a deep fried golden gaytime.

  • At 8/08/2011 7:50 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Mac and cheese balls? Scotch egg slider? DEEP-FRIED GOLDEN GAYTIME? Yes please!!!!!!!!!

  • At 8/08/2011 8:34 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Glad to see this place has had a make over! And I can't wait to try that deep fried Golden Gaytime!

  • At 8/08/2011 9:13 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love the furniture and library shelves. I think the menu is too eclectic to expect all the items to be good. On the bright side, it gives you some healthier choices aside from the deep-fried stuff.

  • At 8/08/2011 9:17 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    It's all so beautiful... I'm totally mesmerised by all of that flowy cheese.

  • At 8/08/2011 9:20 am, Anonymous betty said…

    deepfried gaytime thats gold

  • At 8/08/2011 9:31 am, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    OMG deep fried gaytime has my name on it! everything looks superb - will have to check it out!

  • At 8/08/2011 9:44 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    A sticky trail of sauce around my lips? Oh my! I'm there!

  • At 8/08/2011 9:50 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    so much deep fried foods! If only I was still at Sydney Uni... I know where I'd be heading for lunch!

  • At 8/08/2011 10:07 am, Anonymous Joseph said…

    That's incredible value for a student. Though it was not uncommon for the poor UTS student to have a $2.00 meal from the cafeteria!

  • At 8/08/2011 10:29 am, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    Loving all the deep fried options, may be deep fried pizza is pushing it a bit though. However, the Gaytime is on the top of my list.

  • At 8/08/2011 10:49 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    this whole post is insane! i want everything! and a hug!

  • At 8/08/2011 10:53 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Food looks disturbingly nice, for American frat house stuff. Deep fried Gaytime sounds insane.

  • At 8/08/2011 11:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's with the fascination of deep fried foods? I can't wait until you all have heart attacks.

  • At 8/08/2011 11:10 am, Anonymous chopinandmysaucepan said…

    I still remember our dilemma during high school days in Sydney going up to mothers manning the canteen and asking for a "golden gaytime".

    This is very clever marketing, giving a taste of some 70s classics albeit with a twist to young uni students who have no living memory of these dishes. Asian chefs and restaurants need to innovate and not stick to what they hold on as "authentic" which in itself is so subjective. Unless it is a classic recipe woven into the very fabric of a particular food culture, it will eventually become obsolete and irrelevant.

  • At 8/08/2011 11:25 am, Anonymous chopinandmysaucepan said…

    To Anonymous,

    Deep-fried foods look good because they usually arrive golden brown. They are also crisp, crunchy and tasty because it is deep fried in decadent fat. They go well with chilled white wines and bubblies which Australia has plenty of, and good ones too! They are sociable because everyone likes them, especially around a backyard BBQ or at a picnic around Sydney harbour on a sunny day. Deep fried seafood such as fish, soft shell crabs, prawns and calamari taste especially good and Sydney has tonnes of these.

    If we take responsibility for our own health which the majority of us do, I don't see any harm in having some good indulgence in moderation.

    Hopefully, you won't get a heart attack seeing other people having so much fun :)

    Lighten up and you will lose a few more calories!

  • At 8/08/2011 12:17 pm, Blogger Laura said…

    oh this place looks delish, i'll be headed down there soon.

  • At 8/08/2011 12:58 pm, Blogger Shanks said…

    I need a double cheeseburger hug!! followed by deep fried Gaytime.

  • At 8/08/2011 3:22 pm, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    That mac and cheese ball looks amazing. Well done for tackling the scotch egg slider lol its mamoth and a bit of a sight haha!

  • At 8/08/2011 5:36 pm, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories.com.au said…

    The food looks good, the photos great,thanks for the post

  • At 8/08/2011 6:34 pm, Blogger Mel said…

    OMG - this place is within walking distance of my office and I'm pretty tempted to try that deep-fried Golden Gaytime...must use all my strength to stay away!

  • At 8/08/2011 8:50 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Bahaha! The Golden Gaytime was certainly a part of my childhood.... but it was most certainly ordered with the eyebrow raised :D I love your dedication to covering a menu, Helen! Go you!

  • At 8/08/2011 11:01 pm, Blogger leetranlam said…

    I admire the workout that you gave your arteries, sampling so much of the (deep, deep-fried) menu! We all owe you a heart transplant. Thanks for the rundown of all the battered, crumbed goods. My friend and I are going to see how far we get, dish-wise, before we can't move anymore.

  • At 8/09/2011 1:52 am, Anonymous Mel said…

    Wow all that food looks awesome and I love all your pictures! Thanks for making my stomach rumble, grrr!

  • At 8/09/2011 9:26 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I want the mac and cheese balls! And the river of cheese on the Philly cheese steak omg...

  • At 8/09/2011 10:41 am, Anonymous FFichiban said…

    Oh wow this place has changed so much! The food actually look good ESP that Philly cheese river and deep fried gaytime!! Much come bak to try sometime! (still never order the soup IMO) and trust u to have a deer pun :P

  • At 8/09/2011 8:43 pm, Anonymous JasmyneTea said…

    Lol Chopinandmysaucepan, good point! Anonymous could have at least put their names down, the chicken.

    That gay time looks INSANELY good. And I love the shelves filled with books!

  • At 8/09/2011 9:38 pm, Blogger Von said…

    Oooh...I walked past here the other day and surprised to find that there was something inside! The food looks really good though- I might just have to try it out some day ;) If only I had more lunch breaks in my timetable....haha I love the idea of mac and cheese balls!! And Deep fried golden gaytime!! (I'm tempted to try that at home right now...)

  • At 8/11/2011 9:46 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Deep-fried Golden Gaytime! Friends and I were so sad when it seemed to have disappeared from the market altogether for a few years and couldn't be found in milk bars nor convenience stores no matter where we looked. Needless to say, I'm loving their revival from being in multipacks at the supermarket to this =D

  • At 8/14/2011 4:25 pm, Anonymous Tania said…

    The Abercrombie Hotel sounds like a wonderful place. The Scotch egg slider looks quite interesting!

  • At 8/14/2011 4:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All that food looks awesome and I love all your pictures! I want the mac and cheese balls!

  • At 8/19/2011 2:25 pm, Blogger ourbillplease said…

    Deep fried Golden Gaytime.... Looks amazing!

  • At 9/18/2011 4:54 pm, Blogger social.aperitif said…

    I walk past this place nearly every day... I think the deep fried Golden Gaytimes may have just convinced me to pop in and check it out...


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