30 Mar Moet & Chandon Champagne Lunch, Morris Jones & Co Restaurant & Bar, Windsor
Morris Jones has just launched a new Moet & Chandon champagne lunch, and given Head Chef Matthew Butcher’s resume, we expected great things. Matthew Butcher has previously worked under big names including Gordon Ramsay and Shannon Bennett, and his style here at Morris Jones could be described as original contemporary Australian.
You might sit in the sunny, airy courtyard surrounded by a trio of vertical garden, exposed brick and wooden panelling while being shaded by umbrellas, or in different corners of the main dining area which range from dark and romantic, to bright and more casual.
I must admit I didn’t hear what the waiter said when he asked whether I wanted the topping on my oysters. I said yes anyway, and when I saw the granular-looking mixture being spooned onto the oyster I was afraid I’d just consented to a teaspoonful of salt. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a refreshing champagne granita that went beautifully with the fresh St Helens oyster, its sweetness tempering the oyster’s naturally present sea saltiness.
Snacks to start included caraway bread paired with an addictively delicious and airy honey-infused butter, and saltbush leaves fried and seasoned with vinegar to create ‘salt and vinegar chips’.
The quail in Southern Fried form was almost unrecognisable, but KFC this was not. In its crunchy and salty fried exterior, Szechuan pepper was predominant. Moist quail, smack-in-the-mouth flavours and crispy skin. I couldn’t ask for more.
The next one had us with our cameras and phones at the ready. The champagne poached salmon presented us with a smokey spectacle once the cloche was lifted. Served with a dob of honey pumpkin puree and portions of pressed, lightly pickled cucumber, the salmon was cooked beautifully – a tender and pink centre that separated into large, smooth flakes with gentle coaxing with the knife. It was a little difficult to pick a favourite dish today, but this was it for me.
The choice of mains included Otway crispy pork with wilted kale, Cloudy Bay clams and masterstock. The masterstock had a lovely depth of flavour, complementing the succulent pork. The pork and seafood was a delightful pairing, and of course, the crackling went down a treat.
Another option for mains was the BBQ beef short rib. The neat, rectangular portion of short rib tore apart easily, its charred, caramelised exterior masking juicy, mouth-watering meat inside. Despite its caramel glaze it wasn’t overly-sweet, and the creamy mashed potato attentuated the robust flavours of the beef when necessary.
As one of the concluding options, soft and creamy La Delice Triple Cream cheese was served alongside sweet quince paste and honey with frangrant hints of truffle.
The spectacle of smoke never fails to impress. This time it came from the liquid nitrogen-treated honeycomb spooned over the violet ice cream at the table. The liquid nitrogen transformed the honeycomb into a less dense form – still sweet, but less sticky – a great texture that didn’t detract from the smooth and gently flavoured ice cream. A decent dose of rich, slightly-bitter chocolate was on hand for balance. This wasn’t just a dish that delighted the eyes, but one that pleased the tastebuds as well.
We were thoroughly impressed by the food presented today, and the range of choices available for the champagne lunch means re-visits can be made with new and exciting experiences each time. The Moet & Chandon champagne lunch at Morris Jones is available Friday to Sunday, 2 courses for $35pp, 3 courses for $45pp with a glass of wine.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Morris Jones as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time