Thursday, 13 June 2019

Mary Mae's Bar & Kitchen - Review

My former workmate Mr L. and I have a regular monthly lunch.  For our May outing, we decided on Mary Mae's, (previously Watt's) at the Brisbane Powerhouse.  It's a great spot, as it overlooks the (gotta say) brown Brisbane river.  Sometimes you may even spy a dolphin or two cavorting up or downriver.  On very special occasions, you may be lucky enough to see a small whale!  Oh yes folks, it has been known to happen:-)

looking in

We didn't see any aquatic wildlife this grey Thursday (except for the non-aquatic pooches sitting outside with their owners), but we did relax into a corner bench seat with our menus.  As per the custom these days, we had to order at the counter.  Normally they give you one of those buzzer things, and you go pick up your food, but since it wasn't busy, they brought the food to our table.  A nice gesture!  They also let us run up a tab, as Mr L. had a voucher, which he was able to use for the meal and drinks when we'd finished our lunch.

fresh, tasty and delicious tuna with salad $26

Mr L. who is on a special (health-driven) diet, chose the tuna heirloom grain salad with pomegranate, kale and almond ($26).  The tuna looked nicely done, though I do prefer mine just a leetle under-done, more seared on the outside and rare on the inside.  The salad was fresh and tasty, and bursting with goodness.  I think Mr L.'s blood was zinging after that!

mine was the fish and chips $25 - how lewd is that fish:-) tee hee

I went for the beer-battered flathead with chips and coleslaw.  This was a very generous portion with 2 long pieces of fish.  I didn't get through it all, but it was delicious.  The fish was tender, with just the right amount of batter, i.e. not too thick nor thin; chips were crispy outside, soft inside; coleslaw was ... well, coleslaw, nothing remarkably good or bad about it.  I had to laugh at the wire basket; maybe they haven't seen that Facebook page - We Want Plates?  (BTW, I recommend that FB page for a few (many) belly laughs.)

glass of prosecco $12

I had a glass of Prosecco, while Mr L. had a healthy cup of green tea ($4).  If only a fly hadn't dropped into my drink ...  I scooped it out, and drank a bit more, but finally the Ghost of Flies Past stopped me in my alcoholic tracks:-)

looking to the New Farm ferry from the restaurant  

And then a week later, Mr P. took me out for dinner on a Friday night.  I suggested we try Mary Mae's again, for the night-time effect.  It was a busy night at the Powerhouse, as there were a couple of shows on, and the crowds were obviously getting a drink and a meal in first.  We were there about 6:30, and the tables were already mostly taken.  We managed to snag a table inside, and marvelled at the girls with their bare legs and sandals on this winter's night.  

barramundi with cauliflower $32

I had spied this dish on the menu the week before, so really wanted to try it.  It was a crispy-skinned barra with a cauli purée and roasted cauli.  The fish was deliciously tender, the cauli was tasty, and the pistachio gremolata gave it a lovely bit of crunch.  But strangely, I think I enjoyed the fish and chips the previous week a wee bit more than this dish.  The barra just didn't have that je ne sais quoi; somehow it needed a bit more oomph - maybe some spice or a crispier skin.  And a few chips would not have gone astray.  

spiced chickpea burger $21

Mr P. nearly always goes for the vego option when out, so he chose the chickpea burger with roast peppers, celeriac remoulade and fries.  It was on a hefty bun, which was nicely charred.  The chips were great, but didn't come with any aioli or sauce - is that odd?  I guess we could have asked for some ...  Mr P. said the pattie was good, but needed more spice.  The celeriac was crunchy and well seasoned, and had a tangy hit from the horseradish.  He was a big fan of this burger.  We both laughed at the wooden board; Mr P. has a thing about them.  See my note re: We Want Plates!      

prosecco $12

Coke $4.50

Luckily, this glass came sans fly, and was also a bit fresher and sparklier than the one from the week before.  The bar was busy, so they were obviously opening up new bottles.  Hubby had a soft drink; sadly they only had alcoholic ginger beer which he doesn't drink (he's the designated driver), so he went for a Coke.

warm fleece blankets

They had fleece blankets if you were cold.  And they were setting up some outdoor patio heaters as we left.  But then again, those girls with short shorts weren't really worrying ...  

All up, we had a pleasant meal in a fun atmosphere.  The staff were very friendly and helpful, the music wasn't too loud, and the food was flavoursome.

a busy Friday night - were all the men dressed by the same person? :-)

The Pickings' Verdict:

Food: 8/10 from Mr P. and 7/10 from me

Service: 8/10

Ambience:  7/10

Open every day from 8:30 a.m. Mon-Fri, and from 8 a.m. Sat and Sun

Ph: 07 3358 5464
Brisbane Powerhouse
119 Lamington St., New Farm 
QLD 4005

    Mary Mae's Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


  1. I would love that tuna salad too! Looks so good :-)

    1. I know what you mean Angie. It looks so darn good; I wish I'd picked it:-) cheers S

  2. That high-tech look is really a global thing. I like it. Improvement on the droopy ferns of a couple decades ago. I'm really interested in those fish which appear to be quite local to your area.

    best... mae at

    1. hi Mae
      barramundi is aka the asian sea bass. A very tasty fish! yes i prefer a clean minimalist look in restaurants too. thanks for dropping by.

  3. My first pick would be that tuna salad. It looks so yummy. 😊
    I’ve never seen restaurants offering blankets. What a nice gesture.

    1. hi Nil
      it gets cold here in winter - well by brisbane standards. and people don't put enough clothes on, thinking they can imagine winter away, so blankets are usually offered at night...

  4. Mr P found this place rather ok. I especially liked the interesting burger. Well done to Mary Maes. I liked the idea of the fleece blankets too. Great spot to meet people, on the river, and with all the new pathways nearby.

  5. Such pretty outside decor. Can't believe you can see dolphins and the occasional whale! I'd love to try the tuna, looks delicious!

    1. hi Kelly
      the dolphins don't come up often, and the whales rarely but it does happen - sometimes. yes it's wonderful when they do. yep i must go back to try the tuna salad. cheers S

  6. I would have gone for the tuna salad too. And I agree, tuna rare on the inside and seared on the outside is the best of both worlds! :D

    1. Yes i must try that tuna salad next time. It looked so good i had lunch envy.

  7. Looks like a fun place, and I really appreciate an honest review!

    1. thanks david. it can be hard to be honest and constructive at the same time. most places are just kind of middling good and bad, so it gets hard to say anything illuminating...

  8. I like your style Sherry as I would just pluck those flies out as well. Mr. L must have been drooling over your fish and chips. I had to jump over to the "We Want Plates" FB page. What a riot. We're also seeing a lot of wire baskets and slate plates. And, what's up with these extra long cutlery we're seeing these days?

    1. hi Ron
      do you have that horrible long thin cutlery too? it's so unwieldy isn't it? not nice to hold or use at all!

  9. Love your reviews. I am so glad someone mentioned the cutlery, I find the knives very heavy and badly designed to actually hold and cut anything. But they look good beside your plate before you start eating.

    1. So true liz about the darn cutlery these days. It’s so useless!


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