No mother of Jesus here!
Taking a city stay-cation, we leisurely strolled Hyde Park, dropping in on the winter playground out front of St Mary’s cathedral.
And when our tummies started to rumble, we headed across the park over to Mary’s – home of the best burgers in Sydney?
I’d been putting off trying Mary’s burgers for as long as I could, as I’d been hyping it and myself up, stating that it’s the best Sydney can offer! So the expectation was set so high, to tell you the truth I was semi-fearful that it might not live up to expectations.
Walking down Castlereagh St, it’s nearly impossible to miss it on a Sunday, as with the pumping metal music blazing out from their hole-in-the-wall of a store (whilst everything else was shut), you’re almost physically made to look at the source of all the noise and if you’re looking for it, look no more as you’ve found it!
It’s dark, it’s small, it has graffiti and it has a menu which oozes attitude! If words could punch you in the face? This menu surely could!
“Can you use swear words in a menu?” my wife asked. My response, “I guess so”, inclining my head over to the menu. The actual burger selections were few (Mary’s burger, Cheeseburger, Chicken burger and a Veg burger), there were fries, a hash brown, fried cauliflower and soft drinks and that was basically the extent of the menu.
With very limited seating (6 or so wooden high stools set-up against benches which lined the walls), we decided to just grab burgers to go, with a last minute addition (a hash brown). And we perched on the stools while we waited for our number to be called.
“Hey do you just want to eat here?” I shouted into my wife’s ear over the Van Halen sounding metal, but my wife responded “I can’t stand this music!” And fair enough, it was a bit unsettling, considering to this point we were having a really chilled Sunday.
So after enduring 3.5 songs, our number was called and we took our takeaway bag and headed back to Hyde Park.
Spreading out our lunch on the bag in which it was served, we only had to dissuade a ‘Bin chicken’ (ID079) from coming too near (it seems that you can just reason with them). And after taking their glamour pics (the food, not the ibises) we tucked into our long awaited Mary’s burgers.
OMG! There’s something about Mary’s…….burgers! Jake Smyth has indeed designed a killer burger! I’ve listened to an interview with Jake, where he explains why the burger is the way that it is. Jake wanted to create a burger where dudes could fist the burger in one hand, while leaving the other hand free to knock down a tinny. And although I didn’t have a tinny close to hand, but my word, the burger was so easy to smash! The bread bun was thin, but just substantial enough to hold everything in within its bun-ny embrace! The meat patty was thick (at least a centimetre thick), and so soft (almost melting in the mouth). But the cheese was actually melty, the pickles gave it the sourness to cut through the saltiness, and the application of the tomato and mustard sauces……just at the perfect amounts! This is a critical point, as my pet hate with burgers is a soggy bun due to over-saucing, and my second hate is when a burger falls apart when you bite into it due to packing in too many fillings. And on that point, biting into it, there was never any risk of the filling being pushed out the back-side. Everything just held in place (5/5 on the big bite test), and everything was just so fresh and soft, that your teeth just cut through the burger like a hot knife through butter- I can see myself eating this long into my 80s when my dentures can no longer tear through meat.
No surprise, in a matter of minutes I had inhaled my burger, and the crunchy and perfectly seasoned hash brown which we had shared before our burgers was a distant memory.
My wife was also pleased with her Mary’s burger, where I had pickles in my Cheeseburger she instead had lettuce, instead of tomato and mustard sauce she had a creamy mayo/aioli (Mary’s special sauce), and instead of double slices of cheese she had one. But she was still eyeing off my burger in envy. Haaha.
Our end verdict? 4.5 Stars from 5! (3 from 3 for Food (although we only ordered a very limited selection from the Mary’s menu, everything was PERFECT!); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (although the interaction with staff was very limited, they were all friendly and efficient); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (although seating was limited, and we ended up taking away, the Mary’s city hole-in-the-wall had heaps of character); and 0.5 from 1.0 for Value for Money (although the food was perfect, the only deduction from the entire experience was the cost. Although $13 isn’t all that expensive, but their burgers were pretty small….. but $1.50 Hash browns? That’s a steal!)).
In conclusion, Mary’s burgers is an example of keeping things simple, and doing all the basic things well! The Cheeseburger was literally just a simple Cheeseburger, no gimmicks, no twists, but it might just be the best darn Cheeseburger I’ve ever had! I’ll have to crunch some numbers, and I’ll have to get back to you on an updated version of my Burger Vs Burger scorecard, but at this point in time we might have just found our best burger in Sydney! We have now narrowed down Sydney’s burger joints to the top 3 (Mary’s, Bar Luca, and Ze Pickle). You know what that means! One final loop of the three best joints, back-to-back, to see who has the best burger in Sydney! I’ll have to find a panel of judges, but it will be happening real soon! They’re no saints, but they do make a flaming good burger though!
Mary’s- Sunday 30 June (4.5 Stars)
154 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Mon-Thurs 11am – 10pm
Fri-Sat 11am – 10.30pm
Sun 11am – 9pm
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