It's official. You cannot have too much fried chicken in this town. As Newtown's newest bar, Mary's, lights up across Twitter streams, the buzz is all about the fried chicken, and what many claim to be the 'best hamburger in Sydney'. Seriously.
Mary's sits in a space with a lively past. The tall building down a narrow side street has at times been home to an STD clinic, a Masonic Hall, a pool hall and a Greek club. In fact, finding the entrance is half the battle.
Street entrance to Mary's
Inside it's dark and deliberately grungy. Exposed brick walls, black facades and heavy wooden furniture stamp this as bloke's territory. Hollowed-out Jack Daniel's bottle converted into light fittings are a nice touch. Be warned though: the music is unrelentingly loud.
The high-pitched roof enabled a mezzanine level to be constructed for diners - head upstairs if you want table service, otherwise you'll have to order your own food and drinks from the bar on the ground floor.
Upstairs diners get drinks and table service
There are some heavy credentials involved here, with the team headed up by Jake Smyth (ex-Bodega) and Kenny Graham (ex-Gardel's Bar at Porteno). Luke Powell -- ex-head chef at Tetsuya's -- is in charge of the kitchen.
The blackboard menu is short and sweet. It's burgers or fried chicken.
Burger with fries $14 and
Fried chicken (whole bird) $28
The fried chicken comes out in a basket, a jumble of battered pieces fresh from the fryer. There's a satisfying rubble of crusted edges to each piece, and the chicken inside is impressively tender and juicy, even the breast. Douse liberally with hot sauce as required, housed in repurposed miniature Jack Daniel's bottles.
We order the whole bird and score ten pieces of chicken or you can slam dunk a Larry Bird ($50) of two chickens. Apparently they also have a Thunderbird, available once a day, that features three chickens stuffed with cheeseburgers served with mash and gravy.
Mary's burger with fries $14
plus trashcan bacon $4
The burgers come wrapped in greaseproof paper, with fries piled in on the side. The pattie ain't no ordinary mince. Time Out Sydney reports it's a scientific ratio of two parts chuck to one part each of brisket and rump, yielding maximum softness without compromising on flavour.
We add a side of trashcan bacon to ours too, named after the (clean) trashcan in which the bacon is smoked. The smokiness of the bacon comes through well, and the rasher itself is substantial.
Cheeseburger with fries $14
My favourite is the cheeseburger, but then I've always been a sucker for a good cheeseburger. The bun is deliriously soft without being overwhelmingly sweet, a comforting combination of juicy pattie, melted cheese, fluffy bun and sweet pickles. It does remind you of a burger from Golden Arches but a really really good version of one.
And vegetarians need not go hungry. They offer a (mu)shroom burger ($12) too.
Mash and gravy $5
Somehow they even manage to serve the mash and gravy in a greaseproof-paper lined plastic basket. There are no plates or niceties here, and we're happy to eat off serviettes and out of plastic baskets. Cutlery, thankfully, is provided.
Mash and gravy might not sound like much, but this will blow your mind. A huddle of mashed potato smothered in real gravy is every kind of comfort food dream you could wish for. The mashed potato is smooth, pillowy-soft and buttery, with an elastic quality to it, as though it's been pushed through a drum sieve. The gravy, too, is delicious, with a subtle meaty sweetness. Save your fries for dunking in the mashed potato and gravy. Heck, I'd even dip my fried chicken in there too.
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6 Mary Street, Newtown, Sydney
Monday to Friday 4pm - midnight
Saturday 12pm - midnight
Sunday 12pm - 10pm
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4/29/2013 02:46:00 a.m.