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The AB at Blue & White Café North Adelaide

Author: Posted on: January 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hangover food. The food you have when you’ve had a heavy night on heavy drinks. The food you have when you want something inherently evil to ingest. Sheer dunderheaded stupidity. It could be any one of these motivations that would lead you to head out to North Adelaide and consume one of these monstrosities.

I am referring to the AB.

The initials of this particular dish are quite unsanitary and hardly appetising, however when you sum up the ingredients; kebab/yiros meat on top of a bed of chips/fries, drizzled with garlic, tomato and chilli sauces, you have a beast of a dish that simply screams its vulgarity from the rooftops.

The AB at Blue & White Café
A taste of Adelaide: The AB (right) with the FUIC (left), another icon from Adelaide

The locals would have you believe that the AB is a dish forged from culinary geniuses masquerading as drunken university students, but it’s difficult to pinpoint its origins within this city. Two cafés that are quite literally a stone’s throw from each other (Blue &White Café and the North Adelaide Burger Bar) both claim to have birthed (ahem) the original AB and their doors seem to constantly attract lingering revellers seeking to sate that drunken appetite.

The AB at Blue & White Café
Blue & White Café (left) and the North Adelaide Burger Bar (right)

One shop used to display the AB’s own wikipedia entry, but it seems to have been deleted by the Wikigods.

The AB assaults you from the first moment you see it. There’s no pretence here. It’s bold, garish, ugly, gaudy and no matter how artfully the sauce is drizzled over the meat and fried potatoes, it still has the aesthetic appeal of a giant bowl of hastily mixed cobblestones and glue. The aroma of garlic graces your nostrils with the loving tenderness of a swung cricket bat.

The AB at Blue & White Café
The AB up close, with barbeque and chilli sauce – there’s no other way, really!

These opening paragraphs don’t seem to paint a complimentary picture of the AB, when to actually eat one of these is probably an experience that’ll be remembered. My experience with the AB has usually contained three stages:

Stage 1: The High

I dig around the plate with the supplied plastic fork and skewer myself a portion that contains a good amount of meat and chip. Upon placing the portion in my mouth, the food seems to explode inside. It gets everywhere. I can feel the garlic tingle around the insides of my cheeks, on the roof of my mouth and into my sinuses. Dear Lord this food is strong, the flavour is harsh and by God it’s fantastic.

Stage 2: Perseverance

This AB is bigger than I thought, and that aroma and taste that I so loved is starting to transition to the point where it’s difficult to chew without feeling like I’m trying to bite into a bike tyre. Garlic and chilli has seeped into every portion of my upper digestive tract and has set up camp there. A sensation similar to reflux has started in my chest, but I don’t care… it still has the flavour I like.

Stage 3: The AB bites back

Every word I utter causes my friends to physically recoil from me and people who are out walking their dog stop abruptly as their pet stops at my table, taking exaggerated notice of me. The plate is mostly consumed, and my fork is idly searching out the tinier, more garlic coated examples of potato. Despite my stomach protesting, my friends goad me on, telling me to finish my meal like strict matriarchs. I secretly wonder if there are stink lines emanating visibly from my person.

Once the AB is consumed, I lean back in my seat, feeling rather guilty. I’m drunk, not on alcohol or some other comparatively innocent substance, but from the fumes created by the chemistry happening in my stomach. Everything has gathered into one mighty smoosh in my belly and is happily churning away like an expertly prepared simmering sauce. Everything feels hot, and it’s not just from the sweet chilli sauce. The fizzing cycle happening in my system feels like the sort of energy that could be harnessed to fuel a small vehicle, but I fear it would generate more harmful emissions than a conventional combustion engine.

I could almost see the paint peel from the walls of my home when I returned.

The AB isn’t so much as a food or meal as it is an adventure into a realm where outrageous is the norm and drunken Adelaideans are the populace. It’s arguably the finest food you could find on a boozy night out, where the effects of the strong sauces and meats are dulled by alcohol and the high of the occasion.

Fine dining, this isn’t. The AB will grab you, shake you, and will not let go.

The AB at Blue & White CaféThe AB at North Adelaide Burger Bar
Blue & White Café                                                                 North Adelaide Burger Bar
51 O’Connell Street                                                              43 O’Connell Street
North Adelaide, Australia                                                     North Adelaide, Australia

Blue & White Cafe on Urbanspoon
North Adelaide Burger Bar on Urbanspoon
Photographs courtesy and copyright of Andy – All rights reserved.

Andy is a freelance writer, sometimes gathering his camera into his car and heading out to just “see where the wind blows him”. He has varied interests, not often shying away from different experiences, having contributed articles to video game, martial arts and automotive publications. Follow him @overquill .


This article is posted on Gourmantic.com. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2014

The AB at Blue & White Café North Adelaide was last modified: June 8th, 2014 by Andy H

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14 Comments to “The AB at Blue & White Café North Adelaide”

  1. arr the sight of AB brings me back to university life, especially when you stay at the residential colleges a short walk away, this is often eaten during supper after a night out or during winter..

    blue and white definitely tastes better though!

  2. Meat, lots of garlic and chips. Hangover or not, I’m craving one right now!

  3. I used to live around the corner from there when I was little then when I was at University, was a frequent visitor. Ahem. Glad to see it’s still trucking on!

  4. Chris says:

    I can almost taste the garlic! How much does this tasty monstrosity set you back?

  5. [...] accompanied by a hot Cornish Pasty with tomato sauce, it also offers the rare treat of enjoying two regional delicacies at the same time. And who knows… the experience may even give you some insight into one final [...]

  6. Andy says:

    @Chris – This particular example cost me $14AU, which was lamb, garlic sauce, tomato sauce and sweet chilli sauce. The protesting pores on your skin are complimentary, though. :)

    @lotsofcravings – both outlets of the AB offer formidable ABs, but I agree that the Blue and White won out of the two.

  7. OH MY GOD! That’s a crazy huge AB dish. I have never and will never be able to finish one serving even if i have to starve myself for days prior to that. But yet, it’s a great cure for late nights and serves as a great power booster. It’s been ages since I’ve had some and it’s virtually unheard of here in Kuala Lumpur.

    • Gourmantic says:

      Unheard of here in Sydney as well. Thanks to Andy for educating us on what Adelaide has and the rest of us miss out!

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andy and Degustinations, Ms Gourmantic. Ms Gourmantic said: [New on G] Hungover? Try the #AB at Blue & White Café North Adelaide http://bit.ly/g6e90c guest post by @overquill #adelaide #food [...]

  9. Ahhhhhh yes, the feared and revered AB. I made many a 3am visit to the Blue and White in the mid 80′s, something to do with “soaking up the booze” after sampling each of the 13 hotels in North Adelaide ( specific details are rather hazy for rather obvious reasons ) with a shopping trolley load of student chums.

    I was never brave enough to tackle the AB… one of my many, many soberless regrets from those carefree days. I salute anyone who could finish one though, and more pointedly, I salute anyone who did not manage to go into caridac arrest immediately after finishing one.

    • Gourmantic says:

      I thought you may have been acquainted with the AB, Dudley! Finishing one seems like a daunting task… but would you want to share hangover food? Hmm… I might stick to Vegemite on toast! :P

  10. [...] guest writer for 2011 contributed a South Australian flavour with the legendary AB of North Adelaide, a companion to the iconic FUIC, the Stunned Mullet of Henley Beach and a tour of the Clare Valley [...]

  11. […] The AB by Andy H You’d have to be a local to know what the AB from Adelaide is all about and Andy’s guest article on this food has gained cult […]

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