Mary’s had been on our list for some time, but since it is out in Newtown, it was never convenient to go. Finally, the day after a Thanksgiving celebration took Hollywood and the Chick to Sydney, the time was right. There was another contender nearby, Hartsyard, but we felt the greasy spoon style plastic baskets were the best way to serve fried chicken and so off to Newtown we went.
It is clear that Sydney’s change in liquor license laws is having the desired effect and there are now some cool bars popping up in unexpected places. Mary’s is one of these and you have to know it is there or you’ll pass right by it.
There was a bouncer out front who waved our group in. The Chick led the way into a dark hallway filled with heavy metal music and our companions wondered if we’d ended up in a club rather than a restaurant. Mary’s is a hot spot and if you don’t arrive early you’ll wait in line outside. We passed into the bar area downstairs and headed for the stairs that lead up to the service area. At the foot of the stairs we confirmed that the line began there. So we reviewed the bar menu scrawled on the wall in Slayer font and ordered some cocktails to ease our wait. The Bloody Mary comes with a slice of American cheese and bacon on top, not for the easily queasy! All the cocktails we ordered were well balanced and easy to drink – though the Wingman had a bit of a strong flavour at first, it mellowed upon the second sip.
The line moved quickly and we didn’t even finish our drinks before reaching the summit. The waiters were friendly and quirky, completing the ambiance and making the experience worth the wait.
Our table was a cozy affair under the menu on the ceiling. With four to feed we ordered a whole bird (8 pieces), a Mary’s burger, a mushroom burger and a side of Mash and gravy. Table service was quick and we got our order in right away. Drinks were refilled quickly and we happily chatted away despite the booming music. A few classics played that took us down memory lane to the 90s. The food wasn’t quick, but came soon enough, chook first.
The Chick knew immediately, this was some of the best Fried Chicken in Australia. Even better than Belle’s and Rockwell. It was juicy, not too greasy, fresh out of the frier, crispy on the outside with a good seasoning, meaty pieces. The only downside was the lack of proper hot sauce. The little bottle on the table had chili flavor, but not much heat. But this was acceptable since the fried chicken stood well on its own.
The Mash + Gravy had an out of the box taste to the Chick, perhaps it is a thickening agent that was used. It may be the perfect taste for some, but didn’t satisfy us. Next time we hope they swap it out for a mac n cheese side instead! The Mary’s burger was a small messy burger, small patty, lots of sauce – yummy! The Mushroom burger was the surprise, basically the same as Mary’s burger but a mushroom instead of the burger patty. What a delight, perfectly cooked and a good strong mushroom flavor. The side of fries were good, but not the best fries we’ve ever had.
After we went, the Chick discovered that Mary’s was written up on Time Out Sydney’s “Sydney Bucket List” but the burger was highlighted rather than the Fried Chooks.
Hollywood and the Chick say: Go here now, for the ambiance, but most of all for the Fried Chicken – and if you are hungry have a burger while you’re there!