For long time fans of Mary’s burgers in Newtown and Sydney’s CBD, the new grown up rendition of fine dining meshed with remnants of the old Basement vibes calls for a new refinement to our palettes. Down the staircase there’s familiarity yet mystery as we place our trust in the stirling reputations of Mary’s and wondering what has become of Sydney’s oldest live music venue which was supposedly almost going to be used as commercial office space had it not been for the saving grace of Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth.
Jake’s smile and personable greeting sets the tone for this visit while Kenny oversees the backroom clam bar. Turning over your menu, the resident live acts for the month are shown and its the feelgood sounds of The Pocket Trio that provide the mood music. A salute to the emerging artists of yesteryear, the Mary’s Underground re-invention pays homage to that tradition as their stage continues to be a platform for local artists.
The ambiance is soft and delicate, the personality of service attendants fun, casual yet sophisticated. The clearing of tables runs like clockwork, the timing of each course surprisingly smooth in a kitchen that might still be finding their groove on the second night with a substantial amount of covers.
Veteran wine sommelier and legend, Charles Leong makes a cameo with yet another appearance at Sydney’s newest and hottest venue in town. If you dine out alot you’ll be very familiar with him and his extensive knowledge and recommendation living and breathing their selection.
Plates are designed to share, the bar lines the walls from the entrance and it will inevitably find an audience craving a nice dinner out to the jazz embellishments that resonate off the stage. Two sets by The Pocket Trio provide the atmosphere of improvised, originals and jazz covers.
PRAWNS ALA PLANCHA: $28
The perfect grilled prawn lies in the dressing of fermented chilli and garlic butter.
TATHRA PLACE PASTURE RAISED DUCK (HALF): $70
Instantly on arrival, the aromatics from the discs of persimmon wedged between each slice of duck seduces. Unpronounced bursts of anise myrtle intermittently enhance each bite.
ACCOMPANIMENTS: $12 EACH
PARSNIP, MACADAMIA GRATIN
It’s a great pairing, the nutty flavour of parsnip accented with the crust of macadamia that goes through a crescendo of sweetness, nuttiness finishing with a slight saltiness.
Pellets of mountain pepper pop as you work your way through the sweetness of the carrot.
DUCK FAT PAVE:
The beautiful layering of potato
The shared kitchen for the upstairs burger outlet also produces the elegant dishes of this high end Mary’s offspring menu. There’s great promise in this concept for long time fans of Mary’s who may have outgrown the burger fix or are just looking for a much more formal option and special night out.
Featured here: Resident band for May – The Pocket Trio
There’s great relief for long time fans of The Basement’s vintage era where jazz continues to play. A great salute to the past while reimagining an experience with a great future.