Friday, April 8, 2016

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor (by invitation) by Benny

Champagne goes straight to my head. Even half a glass can leave me a bit tipsy. So for the official launch of Morris Jones & Co’s champagne lunch menu I do the right thing and take the tram. It is quite appropriate.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, Nitro Violet Crumble
Nitro Violet Crumble resting on a pile of chocolate soil drenched in liquid nitrogen

Champagne lunches emerged as extravagant social events in the mid to late 1800s. The magnificent heritage building that houses Morris Jones & Co was built in 1887 in what was, at the time, the pre-eminent shopping district in Melbourne. With the cable tram service down Chapel Street commencing in 1888, it is easy to picture businessmen or society ladies travelling to champagne lunches down Chapel Street by tram.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, Moet Chandon, champagne
This champagne lunch is the creation of Head Chef Matthew Butcher, who honed his craft under notable chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Shannon Bennett. His aim is to raise Morris Jones & Co above the standard lunch places, and he does this with ease.

The original Morris Jones was a furnishings retailer around the turn of the 20th century. By all accounts he was quite a successful businessman with his warehouse extending to the corner of High Street. While the restaurant that now bears his name is smaller, the trappings of success are still very tastefully presented. Fine stemware, cloth napkins and walls displaying modern art (the pictures are for sale) provide a refined yet casual environment, well suited to today’s sophisticated dining scene.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, oyster
The Moet & Chandon champagne lunch started, naturally, with a flute of Moet. This was followed by a fresh oyster topped with a very refreshing champagne granita, after which we were seated for a fixed price lunch deal. The menu offers a choice of four entrées, five mains and two desserts: $35 for two courses, $45 for three, both including a glass of wine (which can be upgraded to Moet for an additional $5). There is a small selection of Sides (pomme frits, broccoli polonaise, and iceberg wedge) and Delicacies (the oyster with champagne granita, salt and vinegar chips, and pork crackle) available at extra cost.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, saltbush chips
Once seated, we were served salt and vinegar chips with bread from Burnham Bakery (part of Shannon Bennett’s reinvention of Burnham Beeches in Sherbrook). The salt and vinegar ‘chips’ are dehydrated, flavoured saltbush. They have a strong salt and vinegar flavour, but not quite the crunch and substance of a good potato crisp.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, beer and caraway bread
The bread was a beer and caraway bread served with a very light, whipped honey butter. This was very good bread, and while I found the honey butter just a bit too sweet, one of the other diners cheerfully scraped the butter dish clean.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, poached salmon
My entrée was Poached Salmon with yuzu seeds, candied chilli and honey pumpkin. Served under a clear glass cloche that was filled with a white smoke, it delivered a bit of theatre as the cloche was raised, revealing a perfectly cooked baton of salmon with very muted smoky undertones, complemented by the yuzu, chilli and pureed honey pumpkin.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, salad of beetroot
Salad of beetroot

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, zucchini flowers
Zucchini flowers

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, fried quail
Southern fried quail

Comments from around the table suggested that the other options – salad of beetroot (with Holy Goat curd, almonds and passionfruit), zucchini flowers (with basil pesto, honeycomb, and pumpkin jam), and southern fried quail (with turnips, Szechuan pepper and quince) – were equally impressive. I managed to get a taste of the quail, and it was just as good as the salmon.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, beef fillet
My choice for main is the O’Conner’s fillet, with baked potato skin and red wine sauce. I requested medium rare, and it came exactly as ordered. The baked potato skin was nicely crunchy, surrounding a small serve of very smooth potato puree. It was an excellent dish.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, mushroom risotto
As good as it was, I wrangled a taste of the mushroom risotto (with truffle grains and pickled grapes) and that was even better.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, Otway pork
I also tasted the Otway crispy pork (with wilted kale, Cloudy Bay clams, and masterstock served separately to be poured over), and while the flavour and crackle was very good, it was a bit dry.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, barramundi
Wild barramundi (with broccoli couscous, chicken skin and champagne veloute)...

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, bbq short rib
...and BBQ short rib (with caramel glaze and variations of beetroot) rounded out the main course options very nicely.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, cheese plate
The dessert choices were a cheese plate of Le Delice triple cream brie with honey, and a deconstructed version of a violet crumble chocolate bar. Naturally, I chose the chocolate.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor, nitro violet crumble
The Nitro Violet Crumble comprised a quenelle of violet ice cream resting on a pile of chocolate soil, decorated with piped chocolate ganache and violet flowers, onto which was poured a ladle of honeycomb pieces drenched in liquid nitrogen. The evaporating nitrogen gave a dramatic flourish (see the first photo), while the extreme cold heightened the flavour and texture of the honeycomb. It was a great finish to a wonderful meal.

Morris Jones & Co, Windsor


We loved it
We loved it.


Morris Jones & Co’s champagne lunch offers excellent food and the fixed price menu is great value. It is perfect to impress your significant other or an important business partner. Two courses would make an excellent light lunch, while three should satisfy a more substantial appetite.

Find it at

Morris Jones & Co
163 Chapel Street
Windsor Vic 3181
Phone: (03) 9533 2055

Morris Jones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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