Real estate agents are having a ball in Maryville, at the moment. Some dwellings in the suburb formerly known as Smedmore are increasingly being described as “uber-cool”, “funky”, and “hip-urban” with a “Manhattan flavour” in real estate listings, which come with a turgid price tag to match.
You know who else is having a ball in Maryville, and has been for the last few years, way before it was “uber-cool”? Inner-city locals looking for an easy place to go that specialises in serving cold beer and hot meals in a relaxed atmosphere that’s great for mates and even better for families.
The last time I stopped in for a meal at The Maryville Tavern, the front bar was under construction. That was over two years ago, and given that part-owners Brad and Lara Cranfield are former winners on The Block, expectations were high that the renovations would be finished by now …
They are, and the front bar is the place to be if you’re just after a quiet schooner or glass of something nice. The pressed metal ceiling, exposed brick and high timber panels give the front bar a cosy feel, while retaining a quiet sense of The Maryville’s history as an inner-city tavern tucked away on Lewis Street. Order your drinks here – and bring them with you into one of three spacious dining spaces nearby.
Summer nights in Newcastle are made for al fresco dining, and The Maryville has a wide open space, covered by large marquee-sized umbrellas where you can pull up a stool or stand at one of the high benches on the upper level.
The menu consists of olde pub favourites mixed in with a few riffs of dude food as well as a healthy number of gluten free (GFO) and vegetarian options. This includes lamb rump ($30) and chicken roulade ($28) in the GFO camp, and the spicy chickpea and vegie pattie burger ($16), plus the eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, mushroom and ricotta laden Vege Farm pizza ($22) for the non-meat eaters.
There are breads and salads, pasta, steak, and seafood options as well, like scallops served with a chorizo salsa, fish and chips, cod or barra, and squid.
We start with a few chunky slices of golden toasted chili cornbread smeared with coriander butter, and a chopping board of barbecue glazed pork riblets. The ribs are a little on the dry side, but they practically fall off the tiny little bone and into our mouths, tasting all meaty, smoky and manly.
A couple of schooners of cold tap beers get us from entrée to main in no time at all; the taste of Hawke’s Lager is almost as good as the elaborate cricket bat tap decal.
Instead, inspired by the $15 rump steak special, I go for the 350g rib-eye ($33), while my dining partner has a crispy piece of chicken accompanied by some strips of bacon, kale and lettuce, tomato, aioli – all wedged between a toasted bun. The Crispy Chicken burger ($15) is flush with a mildly spicy flavour combination that satisfies with shoestring fries to boot.
The steak is requested and cooked medium-rare on the inside with a sweet hatchet of char marks on the outside.
Served with sautéed beans, steamed broccoli and herbed chat potatoes, it’s enough to satiate an insatiable hunger, any night of the week.
With the type of money now moving into this sleepy little part of town, it won’t be long before we can expect to see real estate agents dining on a salad of crisp globe artichoke with slow cooked quail and fermented mushroom custard, or, at the very least, hopefully, a moist morsel of Moroccan spiced lamb.
- What: The Maryville Tavern, 71 Lewis St, Maryville. 4961 1888. Lunch & dinner 7 days; check website for details (themaryville.com.au)
- Owners: Brad Cranfield, Michael Deer, Travis Scarr.
- Vegetarian: Yes
- Bottom Line: Two entrée, two main, plus drinks about $80
- Wheelchair Access: Yes
- Do Try: Chili Cornbread and Pork Riblets