At first glance Morris Jones, at the Prahran end of Chapel Street, appears to be a bar. A serious looking bar lined with exposed bricks dominates the warehouse space and the only times I’ve been in previously has been exclusively for drinks. But an invitation to eat dinner at Morris Jones made me realise this “bar” also houses a pretty serious restaurant with an ambitious and talented chef.
Morris Jones’ new chef Matthew Butcher is ex Vue de Monde and Maze. At Morris Jones he’s created a menu divided into four sections “from the garden” for vegetables, “from the sea” for seafood, “from the land” for meat and “from the fire”. It all sounds simple enough but belies the complexity of the dishes that Butcher is producing.
My meal there started with an amuse-bouche of a thin disc of beetroot and creamy goats cheese. Next came the most theatrical dish, concealed beneath a glass dome – a cloud of smoke and black and blue tuna ($20). The tuna was perfectly cooked – seared to white on the edge and blood red inside then topped with slices of radish and puffed quinoa.
My favourite dish of the evening was the rather pedestrian sounding Jerusalem artichoke soup ($18). But this soup was rich and velvety and teamed with crispy pastry, tiny mushrooms, broad beans and decadent splash of truffle cream.
There was more theatrics in the form of the Otway crispy pig ($26). Butcher came out with the dashi broth to pour on the pork which then set off the “prawn popcorn” popping away. It was a grown up take on Rice Bubbles complete with snap, crackle and pop.
From the dessert menu, Butcher’s interpretation of strawberries and cream was refreshing but still manna for any sweet tooth. Morris Jones also does a mean chocolate pudding, known as the “chocolate biscuit” ($15) and teamed with a tart raspberry sorbet and dollops of salted caramel.
Morris Jones has always been known as a great bar so it is no surprise that the drinks here were a highlight. From a glass of Moet to start, to a perfectly paired crisp, fresh and mineral riesling from the Alsace, the Josmeyer Le Kottabye 2009. The wine list is anything but standard and the staff have great recommendations for new and more unusual wines. This is one bar that has reinvented itself while still offering a great array of booze. It’s a great place for dinner, I only hope the serious food doesn’t scare off the regular patrons.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review Morris Jones
Details: Morris Jones, 163 Chapel Street Windsor Victoria 3181 (Ph 03 9533 2055) Open Tues – Fri 4pm – 1am, Sat – Sun 9am-1am.
Damage: Pricey. The chef’s tasting menu which I had is $80 per person, although pricey it’s good value given the standard of the food.