Sunday, December 14, 2014
Who said cocktails can't come with a slice of grilled cheese and bacon? It makes perfect sense on a Bloody Mary, the spicy tomato juice protected by a lid of melted cheese. This bad boy comes to you from the crew at Mary's, Newtown- home of burgers, Metallica and deep fried chicken.
So Mary's might have opened a new takeaway outlet in the city, but only Newtown allows you to eat-in and while away several hours with booze. The entrance still looks grotty, the interior is deliberately dark and gloomy, and the music borders on deafening, but that still doesn't stop the joint reaching capacity by 12.30pm on a Saturday. There's a steady trickle of families too - it's not unusual to see prams and toddlers wandering the floor on a weekend.
Service can be notoriously brusque at Mary's. We queue at the bar at 11.55am only to have one bar staff tell us sternly "don't you dare try and order food before midday". Mmmkay. Other staff members, however, go out of their way to be helpful.
Bloody Mary with bacon and cheese $18
But they that gives us more time to settle in with drinks, me with a Young Henry's cider and Suze with her Bloody Mary. We all try some of that Bloody Mary of course.
Sucking up that spicy tomato cocktail through a blanket of blowtorched cheese has to be up there as one of the craziest things you can drink. Then there's a drunken sense of bewilderment as you try to scoop up that melty cheese goodness with a straw. The curl of caramelised bacon on top is crazy delicious. And the pickled onion works brilliantly too. If you ever wanted a meal in a glass, this would have to be damned near perfection.
The menu hasn't changed since my last visit, but novelty has never been high on the list of priorities here. The only thing that has changed is our appetite.
Cheeseburger and fries $14
with extra patty $3 and trashcan bacon $4
These days we're all about double burgers. A cheeseburger with fries will set you back $14 but throw in an extra three bucks and you've got a double patty. Trashcan bacon is mandatory, $4 for three strips of sweet and smoky cured porcine goodness - smoked on a clean trashcan lid if you haven't worked that one out yet.
Double cheeseburger goodness
Getting your gob around that double-stacked behemoth is your biggest worry. That melting river of gooey cheese is the least of your problems. Pickle slices are exactly what you need to balance everything out.
Mushroom burger and fries $12
with trashcan bacon $4
We've always steered past the mushroom burger on previous visits but word on the meat-free streets indicated this was worth making a detour. We succumb out of curiosity - but only after adding trashcan bacon.
Whoah. It's hard to beat the satisfaction of biting into a juicy meat patty, but sinking your teeth into this giant field mushroom isn't a bad consolation. The mushroom has a satisfying resistance with each bite, marked with an umami intensity that fulfils all your savoury requirements. Bonus points too for not squirting rivulets of oil like many other mushroom burgers we've tried.
Whole bird fried chicken $30
And of course there would be fried chicken. A whole bird ends up a decent-sized pile in our plastic basket. There's a terrific crunch to the knobbly batter. Make sure you drench it in hot sauce, siphoned into mini Jack Daniel's bottles on every table.
Mashed potato and gravy $5
Round everything out with mashed potato and gravy. The mash is silkier than your sexiest bed sheets, smothered in a lake of gravy.
Carb on carb action - chips dipped in mashed potato
There's no shame in carb on carb action. Dip your fries in that mashed potato and relish every mouthful.
Even as burger joints seem to opening up all over the city, it's good to see that Mary's is still holding her own.
Mary's burger (with lettuce and tomato)
Double cheeseburger with trashcan bacon
6 Mary Street, Newtown, Sydney
Monday to Friday 4pm-12am
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Mary's Newtown (April 2013)
Burgers - Pub Life Kitchen at the Lord Wolseley Hotel, Ultimo