Cheap Eats: Mary’s
Mary’s has been on my list of places to eat for a while, but the act of dragging myself to Newtown, starving (because I know eating at Mary’s is all about going hard or going home) was far too much effort for a while… Mostly because I do not enjoy being hungry and tend to act quickly on my food impulses, not caring about the consequences later. However, on Tuesday the stars aligned – I was at dance class until 7:15, my friend finished work at 7:30 and we were both near Central Station, which meant it was easy to get to Newtown.
Mary’s is located on Mary Street, behind Kelly’s on King. There is no signage, it’s just a creepy looking door emitting blue light and a whole lot of trust that you’re not entering a drug den. Yes, it really is that creepy. Hell, Mary St in general is a little spooky after dark, but that’s probably because there’s NO street lighting and like one single house on the entire block.
In it’s previous incarnations, Mary’s has been an STI clinic, a Masonic Hall, a Greek club and a pool hall and from the inside, you get the feeling that there are a fair few stories in those walls. It serves craft beers on tap and I hear the cocktails are excellent, but it was a Tuesday night and I behaved by ordering only a cider.
Mary’s is dude food at it’s finest: fried chicken, cheeseburgers, mash & gravy and fries. It’s messy, it’s greasy and you feel that perfect kind of filthy after you’ve eaten something really naughty but don’t care because it was worth it.
It’s incredibly dark inside, so flash was my only option and it doesn’t do the fried chicken ($15 for half a chicken) justice.
Clearly marinated in buttermilk and seasoned in what I can only describe is the best fried chicken coating I’ve ever had in my life, this fried chicken is the stuff of legends – even the breast was mega juicy. The table next to us ordered a whole chicken ($28) and I had to ask: “How are you going to finish all that and a burger each?” and they admitted they were taking the chicken home. It tastes better the next day, they said, crisped in the oven for 10 minutes either side and then blasted under the grill for a further few minutes. (I can confirm this is accurate, as I took my chicken wing home and ate it a day later.) This is not just Sydney’s best fried chicken, it’s probably Australia’s best fried chicken.
Mary’s burgers ($14) are not pretty, but they don’t have to be when they taste this good. I ordered the cheeseburger, while my dining partner K went for the Mary’s burger (also $14) – which has salad on it as well. The burgers are a lot bigger than you expect them to be and the serving of fries is intense.
The burger is claimed by many as Sydney’s best. While I thought it was amazing and can’t wait to go back for another – the cheese oozed, the patty was the ideal thinness and the steamed bun made me feel gooey inside – I’m not sure it’s quite got the title secured yet, I’m still partial to Chur Burger’s lamb burger.
To make this a truly stingey meal, I’d suggest ordering ONE burger and ONE serve of half a bird between two – which brings the meal to $14.50 each. You’ll absolutely leave stuffed, I promise.
Mary’s is hidden at number 6 Mary St, Newtown – look for the blue light and you can’t go wrong.