Down N' Out Sydney
Sydney's In-N-Out-inspired burgers have found a permanent home inside a CBD pub.
UPDATE: MAY 14, 2020 — Down N' Out CBD is reopening to dine-in customers from Friday, May 15. If you're in the inner west, it also has a pop-up food truck in Marrickville.
If you worship at the altar of In-N-Out, you'll be pleased to learn that a group of dead-set Aussie legends have created their very own knock-off, aptly-named Down N' Out. What started as a month-long Hashtag Burgers pop-up — and a second pop-up in Penrith — has quickly turned into a permanent fixture at the Sir John Young Hotel.
For those who haven't yet stumbled into the old Sir John, it's a well-worn space of laminate tables, TVs and beer stains — definitely not owned by Merivale. However, the friendly hospitality and the distinct lack of judgement from the other drunks and gamblers make it the perfect spot for scoffing down a big messy burger and a few pints of beer.
Staying true to the original chain, the Down N' Out team have recreated your typical American hamburger using flame-grilled wagyu beef, melty American cheese, raw onion, brioche buns and a deliciously creamy 'special sauce' based on Thousand Island dressing ($12 single, $16 double).
And just like In-N-Out there's also a 'secret' menu. If you order your burger 'chimp-style' you'll get shoestring fries and caramelised onion added to the mix; ask for 'ape-style' and on top of that you'll get a deep-fried crumbed cheese patty.
However, those who have made the pilgrimage to the Sir John expecting an exact replica of the West Coast burger chain will be disappointed. Don't get me wrong, they're good burgers — but only those who have just finished a round of tequila shots would ever confuse the two for each other. While the ingredients are similar, the Down N' Out version is fresher and leaner, distinctly lacking that fast-food flavour. For some this is a win, for others a loss.
Ironically though, the most popular burger on the menu isn't an In-N-Out tribute at all — it's their Burger of the Week, a unique creation dreamed up by chef Sebastien Cens (ex-Mr Crackles) and the kitchen staff. Each week there's a new one-of-a-kind meat monster that defies both gravity and sanity. Think duck breast, truffle mac 'n' cheese, buttermilk pickles, spicy peanut butter and deep-fried poached eggs. If you happen to have a kinky burger fetish, look no further than their Instagram page. You will scroll forever.
And while they don't have an In-N-Out-style shake on the menu as of yet, what they do have is a whole pub full of alcohol — which definitely gives Down N' Out the advantage.
Images: Bodhi Liggett.