25 Aug 2012
AFL star Chris Judd, his wife Rebecca, Buddy Franklin, Mel B from the Spice Girls, and actress and model Rachel Taylor … These are a few of the many local and international celebrities that have set foot in Morris Jones Bar & Restaurant to enjoy its quality dining experience.
Frequented by local celebrities and touted a ‘must visit’ by famous visitors to Melbourne from around the world, this bar and restaurant is located in the well-known Chapel Street precinct. It is found not in glamorous South Yarra or alternative Prahran, but further south in Windsor, an area known for its laid-back, offbeat atmosphere.
Hayden Burbank owns the restaurant and has stayed in Windsor for 25 years.
He describes the area as ‘bohemian’, a word that encompasses the free spirit of the area, unbound by customs and traditions.
With its wide front and chic tones of grey and black, the store is one with a distinct presence.
Its glass windows and doors ooze class, whilst also providing a glimpse of the store’s spacious interior, filled with an inviting, relaxing atmosphere.
This is a place that is neither too formal nor too casual- it makes perfect sense why Burbank calls it bohemian.
“This building was originally built as a warehouse in 1887 by Morris Jones, a furniture businessman. While we did keep some of the original interior, we also took 7 months to refurbish it and create its current style,” he explains.
“Don’t you think the sign at the front of the shop looks amazing with its old-fashioned logo of ‘H. Morris & Jones & Co.’? That’s why we decided to keep the building’s original name.”
Last September, one of Morris Jones’ grandchildren poured the store’s first beer as part of its stylish opening ceremony.
Tony Milton, who has worked locally and internationally on the restaurant scene for over 20 years, is in charge of creating each dish.
Milton began his journey in the gastronomic world in Paris, and has experience working as Executive Chef on the luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II. With this background, it’s no wonder that his strengths lie in French and European-style food.
Milton is passionate about cuisine and constantly endeavours to learn new things and challenge himself. Charmed by these qualities, Burbank has no doubts about entrusting him with all preparation of Morris Jones’ fare.
Together, they offer an honest, unpretentious bistro and a pub providing good quality food.
While its central concept is undeniably European, the restaurant also casually reflects Melbourne’s multicultural tastes and influences.
Bringing together a team of over 10 kitchen staff, Morris Jones and its young chefs are committed to continuing to produce new ideas and create new dishes.
Milton prides himself on bringing something ‘extra’ to the table, using his global experiences to provide Melburnians with food that exceeds their expectations.
Today’s lineup is centered on meat dishes char-grilled over Red Gum and Grey Box wood. Each dish is made with heart and hand, crafted with careful attention to detail.
The entrée is a fresh tuna tartare, topped with chili jelly the same delicate pink as the tuna.
Its smooth texture and slight spiciness stimulate the senses and add a hint of surprise to the dish, complementing the tuna that is seasoned simply with sesame, lemon and soy sauce.
“This dish really comes alive with the light and refreshing ‘Kirin Megumi’ beer”, Milton adds.
Wood grilled quail with zucchini relish
Next up is stuffed quail, grilled dark brown over a charcoal fire. This is paired with smoked tomato and lettuce mixed with cubed bacon that is crispy and pleasantly salty, to create a dish that leaves one hoping for more.
The smoky flavor of the meat and the wheaty fragrance of ‘Kirin Megumi’ make a perfect combination.
The tangy relish base- made with zucchini, cauliflower, corn and green peas- nicely compliments the quail on top.
Slow cooked pork belly
Hidden under bright orange strips of fried sweet potato and thin, crispy slices of baked apple is a juicy piece of pork belly that is thoroughly soft and tender to the core, the result of 10 hours of oven-cooking at a low temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.
Fruit and pork make a novel combination in this dish, completed with pea and parsnip mash and a rich meat sauce.
These complex, sophisticated flavours contrast beautifully with the simple taste of 'Kirin Megumi'.
This dish is one of the new additions to the spring menu that will be introduced at the end of August.
“In fact, ‘Kirin Megumi’ is my absolute favourite now,” says Burbank. “Above all, the splendidly crisp flavor of this beer makes it perfect for quenching a thirsty throat.”
Whether celebrities are dining or enjoying a drink at the Morris Jones bar afterwards, bottles of Kirin Megumi frequently make an appearance.
Burbank is passionate about offering a place whose vibrant social scene is further enhanced by its delicious food and complemented with a good drink; in the kitchen, Milton is busy giving it shape.
And in the two men’s hands there is often a drink that they both love- contained in these green glass bottles.
Text: Noriko Tabei
Translation: Irene Han
Morris Jones Bar & Restaurant
163 Chapel Street Windsor VIC 3181
TEL: 03 9533 2055
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 8am – 1am, Sat & Sun 9am – 1am