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Monday, April 29, 2013

Mary's, Newtown

burgers at mary's newtown

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 newtown
Street entrance to Mary's

The entrance is tucked down Mary Street off the main King Street drag. Look for the unmarked door just past Kelly's on King.

inside mary's newtown
Inside 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.

bar at mary's newtown
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 fries and whole bird fried chicken at mary's newtown
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 trashcan bacon at mary's newtown
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 at mary's newtown
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 at mary's newtown
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.

bar at mary's newtown

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Mary's on Urbanspoon

Mary's, Newtown
6 Mary Street, Newtown, Sydney

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 4pm - midnight
Saturday 12pm - midnight
Sunday 12pm - 10pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Newtown - Hartsyard
Newtown - Pie Tin

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26 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/29/2013 02:46:00 am


  • At 4/29/2013 6:16 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    OMGz!!! All the social media buzz has been making me wanna go! It is cheeseburger & fried chicken after all! Now if only they were open for breakfast :)

  • At 4/29/2013 7:58 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    I've been waiting for you to get on this. Am I surprised to read that you dunked your fried chicken into the mash & gravy? You know the answer to that. Looks like I may have to stop shaving for a couple of months before I set foot into Mary's ;)

  • At 4/29/2013 8:56 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    Hell to the Yeah! Whole bird of fried chicken please!!!

  • At 4/29/2013 9:17 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    oooh a couple post on mary's now. Oh man, i know the burgers and fried chicken look great here.. but my eyes are drawn to that mash and gravy.

  • At 4/29/2013 9:21 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    its all over instagram etc! i want to try this place out badly!

  • At 4/29/2013 9:47 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    That mashed potato sounds like the real-life version of the final page of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, with the butter-sun melting over the mashed-potato-hill.

  • At 4/29/2013 10:44 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Definitely the cheeseburger next time then ;) How does the chicken rate on the Sydney scale?

  • At 4/29/2013 11:25 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Am I going to have to grow a hipster beard to drink here do you think? LOL. The cheeseburger looks AMAZING! I cannot wait to try it.

  • At 4/29/2013 11:37 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    i want to dunk my head into that mash and gravy!

  • At 4/29/2013 12:20 pm, Anonymous James said…

    Great review and photos. Added to my must-visit list.

  • At 4/29/2013 1:41 pm, Anonymous Kelly @ MsBrulee said…

    Everything sounds badass here, esp. trashcan bacon - on your recommendation I cannot wait to slam dunk a Larry Bird and a few blokey burgers, very informative post as always Helen!

  • At 4/29/2013 1:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The groans I was emitting as I was scrolling through this post, oh my gawd, your writing is cathartic. You had me at fried chicken and cheeseburger and what the hell is that Thunderbird!

  • At 4/29/2013 10:30 pm, Blogger L said…

    Those burgers look amazing. Yes, never too much fried chicken. XD

  • At 4/29/2013 10:30 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    The food blogs have all been buzzing about Mary's - looks like I need to make my way there stat! Mash and gravy is a heavenly combination :D

  • At 4/30/2013 12:27 am, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    ooh mash and gravy! starch me up :D

  • At 4/30/2013 9:30 pm, Anonymous Trent said…

    Sounds seriously awesome. The Thunderbird would be quite the challenge.

    We might go and try out a burger and bird this weekend.

  • At 5/01/2013 2:52 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Omg! That looks totally awesome!!! I want it ALL!

    Also the venue looks very Melburnian hehe, with the hipster staff and being hidden down an alleyway and all! :)

    xox Sarah

  • At 5/01/2013 4:14 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Hallucination: That Mash and Gravy seem to be calling out.."come and find me".

  • At 5/01/2013 6:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Loved the burgers, fish sambo and the chicken, just a pity the music is so loud you can't enjoy the company of friends.

  • At 5/01/2013 7:51 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    Really enjoyed the fried chicken and burger here! will definitely be back..

  • At 5/04/2013 4:59 pm, Anonymous Chris @ MAB vs Food said…

    I really need to go to Newtown to try the fried chicken and the cheeseburger! So much deliciousness!

  • At 5/05/2013 7:51 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    I'll be there in a heartbeat for that mash & gravy! Although pretty much everything sounds great. Wheelbarrow me home, won't you?!

  • At 5/05/2013 9:38 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    omg this post is just unbearable. it is filled with food porn, one after another. That cheese burger, that chicken, the chips and the mash with the gravy. stoppp it!!

  • At 5/18/2013 4:36 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    woooaah that ,mash and gravy looks scrumptious! having that and the fried chicken will be my idea of heaven!

  • At 7/07/2013 6:26 pm, Anonymous Jasmine said…

    i love this post! I went to mary's last night and this review is what sold me to go! Thank you so much! I have fallen in love with this place.

    Check out my blog for it!

  • At 7/16/2013 11:23 pm, Anonymous Ando @ The Lamstock said…

    Drool at the cheeseburger! LOOKS SOOO YUMMMM!! Food porn!


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