As I am walking into Mary’s and my eyes are adjusting to the dim lighting my ears are assaulted with loud obnoxious metal music. It is 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon, perhaps too late to line up for lunch but definitely too early for this. I feel seedy in a place which has a church like ambience with high ceilings and exposed beams juxtaposed with too-loud-for a-conversation music.
We join the queue (clearly we aren’t the only ones up for a cheeky burger and chips late on Sunday) and patiently wait single file in the stairs as well balanced waiters clomp up the stairs with a large trays piled high with food and drinks and then race down empty tray in hand ready to grab the next round. We are with friends who have children about 2 and 8 who seem less phased by the music than I (and surprisingly, there are younger visitors than them!). It takes us about an hour to make it to the top of the stairs and then finally we are finally led to a table beside a window. I pull the curtain back hoping for an open window to escape the noise but instead the glass is covered by black paint and the only light is coming through scratched graffitied names. I notice the crowd and we aren’t the only ones who are not dressed as death metal fans. I am very confused by the concept.
The menu is brief which makes decisions simple so we attempt to get a waiter’s attention so we can place an order – after the wait we are starving! We try to make conversation over the noise while we wait for our food but there is a lot of yelling, “pardon?” and “what was that?” and after a while we sit and try to communicate with gestures and sign language because the noise is too much.
Finally the food arrives, elegantly served in plastic baskets and greaseproof paper. I rip into the burger and take a bite – and I understand what all the fuss is about. There is a science to a good burger, there needs to be the right ratio between bun density : patty size : sauce : cheese and Mary’s burgers are awesome. The chips are hot and crunchy and with the hot sauce from the table, they are delicious.
We make quick work of our burgers and move towards the exit and sunlight. We were trying to figure out why they play the awful music so loud and the only logical reason we could come up with was for quick turnover of tables. The burgers are delicious, but I’ll only be going back for take away. The combination of dim lighting and loud music mean I have no desire to return to a table. I like good food and conversation. At Mary’s it is only possible for one, not both.
6 Mary St, Newtown