California meets Japan at Windsor’s revamped Morris Jones Restaurant and Bar.
Chapel Street’s Morris Jones has been a Southside favourite since it opened in 2011, so when the restaurant fell into darkness earlier this year for renovations, it set tongues wagging with excitement and anticipation. Renovated and relaunched, the new look menu and interior have delivered with a Californian-Japanese fusion menu hitting all the right notes.
For discerning diners, Chapel Street is a gastronomic playground offering up food from all corners of the globe, so when Morris Jones owner Hayden Burbank decided the venue needed a revamp, he knew this new direction had to be fun, interesting, and fresh. Burbank enlisted New York Design Award winner Alex Zabotto-Bentley of AZB Creative to transform the interior of the heritage listed 1887 building, while head chef Matthew Butcher was tasked with creating the menu.
The result is a cool and haute-casual venue that delights the eyes as well as the palate. The building itself began life as furniture and carpet warehouse in the latter half of the 19th Century, and still bears the original owner’s company name – H. Morris Jones & Co – the current venue’s namesake. But that’s where visions of the past end. Enter Morris Jones, and you’re entering a sleek and perfectly curated space, decorated with an array of 1960’s Japanese art from the personal collection of renowned artist David Bromley.
Zabotto-Bentley has designed three distinct spaces within the cavernous former warehouse, each capturing a different vibe. The main dining area is the place to be seen – monochrome meets neutral, with marble touches – while the open-air courtyard at the rear is the perfect place for sunny day dining and sipping. The upstairs dining and bar area is moody and muted, with an intimate ambiance and is the perfect perch to people watch below. Hints of green find their way into all three of the spaces via a tangle of vines that weave their way through the venue across the exposed woodwork in the vaulted ceiling.
Butcher’s menu came about after the chef spent time in kitchens across California, and felt inspired by how they were creating fresh and interesting dishes using local seafood, and Japanese techniques, melded together with California’s Mexican influence. He brought this inspiration back to Morris Jones, to craft a menu that features fusion dishes such as crab and uni nachos with chipotle queso dashi chips, and crispy pork belly salad with chicharrons and ginger caramel.
The drinks list doesn’t disappoint either, with decadent delights such as passionfruit and white chocolate martinis and sake plum spritzes sitting comfortably alongside more traditional offerings of Japanese beer and a collection of local and imported wines.
With the visual and culinary elements working in harmony, the revamped Morris Jones is well worth a visit.
Morris Jones Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
163 Chapel Street, Windsor
Ph#: (03) 9533 2055