Maggie's off Macleay Street is an historic Kings Cross restaurant cafe institution renowned for its hearty authentic German Austrian and eastern European food. (Not to be confused with the other Kings Cross Maggie's, an institution but not a restaurant, still trading in the infamous Kellett Street.)
Spilling out into the generous paved outdoor eating area that adjoins the Fitzroy Gardens, Maggie's restaurant seating consists of the most fabulous vintage black rimmed tables and multi-colour chairs. Although the inside tables are now quite sensibly covered with brown paper covers, Maggie's decor in itself is worth a visit for its trip-down-memory-lane.
Think time warp on the menu too: Gypsy schnitzel, deep fried Camembert, Dutch croquettes, cabbage rolls and goulash, all which match well with the predominantly German, Austrian and Hungarian beers on offer.
But Maggie's is having somewhat of an identity crisis. In recent times the new-ish owners have added their own tastes: Shirazi Persian salad and Napolitana pasta have a red 'NEW' marked against them on the black on white paper printed menu. 'Maggie's Specials' on the blackboard announce that Prawn spring rolls are on offer today.
To be honest, I prefer Maggie's traditional fare, although what is served as Rosti is a tad under-seasoned and under-fried, although granted the potato is grated. To finish my meal requires the liberal use of the quaint old fashioned salt shaker. The shakers are another vintage decor plus, and useful ones at that.
Desserts hold true to Maggie's heritage and Strudel and Crepes are made on the premises, with Sticky date pudding and Zesty lemon sorbet bought in. The Crepes are beautiful and reminiscent of Australian childhood, when you squeeze the lemon over them.
Despite the confusion, Maggie's is busy, perhaps I ponder at least partly due to price. A Schnitzel main is a large serve of two pieces and served with potato rosti and cabbage salad is a hefty meal for a not hefty price ($22). Listening in to other tables, some Kings Cross regulars have remained loyal, even though the one time backpacker patronage has long gone covid AWOL.
Maggie's German Austrian Restaurant was originally given this name for a reason. It will be interesting to track what becomes of the Kings Cross' institution now that the menu is morphing to a nondescript international mix. And I can't help feeling, what a pity that the owners didn't stick to its famous long time heritage.