Okay, I admit it, I approached Morris Jones with a bit of scepticism. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forked out for something somewhat less than average (The Smith, I’m looking at you). I didn’t want something fad-ish and trying to do the whole ‘restaurant AND bar’ thing doesn’t really cut it. Do one and do it well is generally the motto. But… I actually think this is different.
The food at Morris Jones is worth your money. Then you can always stay for the cocktails.
You have to admit (yes, more admissions) they have a pretty awesome set-up: wine rack – tick. Outdoor area with green wall – tick. A window to the soul (I mean, kitchen) – tick. Exposed beams – double tick.
So what did we order? Calamari ($16.50) to start. If I hadn’t just blogged the absolute scrumptiousness of the calamari at The Mess Hall, these would be up there with the best of the year. The reason? Spicy salt and pepper. The kind of mix of spice and salt that has you licking your fingers well afterwards!
I ordered the gnocchi for main ($16 entree; $21 main), which is an incredibly soft homemade spinach and ricotta gnocchi with butternut pumpkin, pine nuts and crispy sage. The crispy sage and pumpkin lifted the dish to a pretty epic high – so much fun to crunch down on and lightened the whole dish.
L took on the Grill by ordering the Chicken thighs ($27) with the rocquette salad (I can spot walnuts as well in this picture) and she wanted to let me know that the cumin rub was just perfect.
Really, I feel like the menu is a good mash-up of Steak/Grill food and European – the inclusion of quail, tartare and mushroom cassoulet in the entrees alone speaks French as well as any suave Frenchman whispering in my ear. Gnocchi, risotto and ragu I long to get at a good Italian restaurant. Funnily, the combination works. I would also like to point out that there are quite a few good options for the vegan and vegetarian alike. That’s not the usual, to have the vegetables stand up proud as dishes in their own right against steaks from the grill.
Do you know what they also have? Yeah… creme brulee ($12) I’m pretty keen on trying the other desserts and… crepes? It is slightly weird but it’s a fun mash-up indeed.
This was a pretty stock-standard brulee, but I can’t wipe the smile from my face while I’m eating it. I’m glad this place seems to be doing well – it is filling up very quickly with the very hip and cool all sipping cocktails and looking sophistocated (there’s one guy sitting across from us with not one, but TWO very well dressed model-types). I suddenly recall why I had to leave Prahran. At least the food is still good.
Ambience: 8/10 (when it has had time to warm up, it’s pretty cool)
Service: 9/10 (very pleasant and attentive wait staff – very knowledgable too)
Food: 9/10 (I’d suggest it’s worth travelling for)
Value for money: 8/10
Score (food is weighted double): 86%