Even though I walk past The Marlborough Hotel in Newtown every few weeks or so I failed to notice the whole place had shut down for a full renovation and make over. I think my eyes were distracted by that “other” Newtown pub that has also had a recent make over and ended up bright green like a radioactive frog.
The "new" Marly is bright, light, airy and fun. It’s also feels much more feminine than before with the decor (both inside and out) reminding me of a garden party. There are loads of comfortable upholstered couches, hanging baskets of flowers and astro turf . Gone are the dark, masculine booths, carpet and wood that adorned the old Marly. Don’t worry though boys as you can still get beer on tap and a good blokey feed.
I like how "fun" the food options are at the new Marly Kitchen. It’s really good mix of that diner craze that is popular at the moment (cue the cheeseburger with fries) and good pub staples like steaks and schnitzels. It’s the best of both worlds. The new menu also has some fun twists on regular pub items such as “chip nachos – there’s not a corn chip in sight. I really got a chuckle out of seeing the “Backyard Platter” listed on the menu – a perfect mix of Aussie BBQ favourites such as Jatz with cheese, cabanossi and dip – perfect food for sharing over a beer or three on a sunny Sunday (or Saturday) afternoon in the beer garden.
The new menu also has a REALLY large selection of vegetarian options on the menu which is a rare sight at a pub (or anywhere really). On my first visit I’m with VegeTARAian so we try a few of the non-meat options. We’re planning to come back with a bigger vegetarian group soon as there are SO many vegetarian choices we hardly made a dent in things.
Tara is keen to try the Vegetable Schnitzel ($17.00) which is something VERY VERY rare to see on a menu anywhere. We’re told the schnitzel is made from “seitan” which Tara pronounces like “satan” (who staunch meat eaters might think concocted this “non-meat” schnitty) but I thought it was pretty good. The flavour is good (quite nutty) and the texture was somewhat meaty (like a sausage perhaps) but more “bouncy” which makes sense seeing as this product is basically pure gluten. We had the vegetable schnitzel with a side of mushroom gravy (all their gravy’s here are vegetarian) along with some stellar, creamy mash, and fresh, crunchy batons of vegetables.
The minute I spied the Chip Sandwich on the menu ($8.00) I knew that I HAD to have it. The chef tells us it’s something that he’ll often eat in himself while working in the kitchen so he thought why not put it on the menu. I tell you the man is a genius! This simple, but delicious sandwich will bring back memories for just about every poor uni student or British backpacker who has whipped themselves up a chip sambo to ward of certain starvation.
The Nacho Fries ($18.00) are a tasty and interesting twist on your regular nachos. We have all the usual suspects - salsa, guacamole, cheese and beans - adorning, not crunchy corn chips, but big fat steak fries. The creamy guacamole has a mild heat to it and the salsa is vibrant and colourful, offering a burst of freshness with every mouthful. I really loved the spicy beans -- they have a good amount of smokey + spicy = tasty! And can I just say how much I LOVE liquid cheese. I kinda want to burst into the kitchen, find the liquid cheese bottle and empty into my mouth. But, that would be wrong (or would it)?
I'm back a few short days later I really need to try the cheeseburger as I'm still on my quest to find a Shake Shack doppelgänger. Whilst there are loads of meaty options on the new Marly Kitchen menu I need to get my cheeseburger craving sorted first before I can move on.
The cheeseburger is very substantial and it comes with fat, steak chips - so I think it's pretty good value for $16. It's gloriously messy to eat and my little rectangle of wax paper looks like something akin to a crime scene by the time I'm finished - a good sign of enjoyment I'd say. The burger comes on a sweet, pillowy brioche bun (as they all do here) which is soft and fluffy from being steamed before serving. The juicy pattie is generously sized with a hint of pepper and is blanketed in a layer of melty cheese AND my beloved liquid cheese. The whole lot of topped off with a squirt of tomato sauce + mustard. I am happy!
I brought my meat-eating work buddy along so that I could get snaps of some other options for carnivores but she was too tempted by the Veggie Burger not to order it! This thing is HUGE and a much less messy affair to eat than my lovely cheeseburger (or perhaps she is just a more coordinated eater). The burger has a flavorusome veggie pattie, sweet potato, beetroot and tomato amongst other things and my friend says that it's really good. I didn't spy any liquid cheese on there though...perhaps because I ate it all?
I'm back again, this time for a Friday team lunch (paying my own way this time FYI). The courtyard is really nice area to spend our lunch hour -- a nice respite from our artificially lit cubicle farm. I'd already decided last visit that I was going to order the steak sandwich ($18.00). The Marly's steak sandwich is a departure from the type of steak sambo I'm used to seeing. The steak was thin ribbons of tender meat - not the huge chunk of steak I was expecting (making it really easy to bite through). Other than that it had all the usual suspects - lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese + big fat steak chips. I cannot get enough of these chips!
I also knew from my last visit that I really NEEDED to try one of The Marly's waffles (all $8.00) each. I'd had my eye on the pulled pork waffle but when one of my teamsters hinted that she'd like to try the fried chicken waffle I was happy to go halvies (after all a waffle AND a steak sambo is a bit much even for me). The waffles themselves were quite crunchy, but softened up thanks to a generous dollop of gravy. The fried chicken was EXCELLENT, so excellent that I was sad I was sharing. The batter was super crispy, and just a bit peppery and the tender white meat was still nice and moist.
One of my colleagues had the fried chicken burger -- I'm getting this next time for sure if the chicken inside is anything like the chicken that comes with the waffle. And here's a picture of a salad - just to prove they do salads (or deconstructed prawn cocktails actually).
The Marly Kitchen is on the ground floor of The Marlborough Hotel -145 King Street, Newtown.