As I planned my move to Sydney mid-2005, I already knew where I was going to live. I had visited Sydney a handful of times before, and my Sydney life revolved around Newtown. The people, bars, cafes, record stores… Newtown had been my Sydney home away from home. Since then, I’ve either lived in Newtown, or a stone’s throw away. Many late nights or lazy weekends, Viola and I find ourselves strolling down King Street, either looking for a quick bite or just hanging out. This weekend was one of those weekends.
After a much-needed sleep in, we were on the hunt for food. Not just any food… there are those days you feel like all day brekkie… and then there are those days you crave food. Meat. Burgers. Whole chickens. Fries. You know what I’m talking about. That brings us to Mary’s Café. Tucked away off the beaten track, we walked through an unassuming doorway tagged with graffiti and old chipping paint. A dark hallway brought us to another weathered doorway, which opened up to a dark and haunting, yet bustling dining space. Homemade candles lit each table, surrounded by more beards and tatts then you’d find at Nimbin music festival. But don’t let that turn you off… there’s a reason Mary’s Café doesn’t need flashing lights or neon signs to drive traffic.
We started with half a chicken. Deep fried. Now I’m usually healthy… and to be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I stepped into a KFC. But this was to die for. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside… doused in house-made chilli sauce… I destroyed it. Next up was a Mary’s burger… simple, classic, American style. Think “In'N'Out”… soft brioche bun, tender beef patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce, with a special sauce to boot. String cut fries on the side. Boom. As far as “dude food” goes, this is right up there. At $14 per burger/fries and $14 for half a bird… it ain’t a spare change kinda burger joint. But it's a refreshing sidestep away from the high end gourmet burger thing going on right now. These guys took a step back, and got the classics right.