02 August 2012

The Morrison: Bar and Oyster Room, CBD Sydney (1 Aug 2012)

225 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Oyster fix shucked to order

‘Be charmed. Be cultivated. Be captured by Sydney’s newest cutting-edge restaurant, bar and oyster room; an authentic New York style brasserie, charismatic yet cheeky - The Morrison.’

As soon as I read about The Morrison in the SMH Good Living being an oyster bar my heart skipped a beat. I'm a passionate oyster lover and the promise of a variety of oysters that are shucked to order was my idea of food heaven. Five varieties were on offer for the day so I first tried one of each. Port Stephens Rock ($3.80) was a favourite for its size and clean flavour along with St Helen's Pacific ($3.80). Oysters were served with lemon, homemade tomato sauce with fresh horseradish and a vinaigrette. My preference is always to try them natural to fully appreciate the brine and flavours and then try extra ones with any condiments. I'm not sure if the tomato sauce worked for me but I didn't mind the lemon combined with some vinaigrette. Next time I'll try the chilli sauce with the oyster that's on the table with maybe a touch of pepper. The Morrison Signature Cocktail ($15) was freshly juiced Granny Smith apples blended with rye vodka which was quite refreshing although the taste was probably a little one dimensional for my liking and needed a bit more depth. Perhaps a touch of scotch might have done the trick like they do at The Baxter InnFor a carb-friendly interpretation of a taco the Crab & Lettuce Tacos with chardonnay vinaigrette, salmon caviar ($15, 3 pieces) hit the spot as a fresh bite sized joy on the palate. A decent amount of crab is always a winner in my books but I wondered if a smidge of mayonnaise or seafood style sauce would have helped add a nice creamy level to make it even better for me. These would make a perfect canapĂ© for a cocktail function — a cost a bomb as well.

The Duck Fat Chips Thrice Cooked ($10) would be a good one to share that had nice potato flavour and decent crispness although I was hoping for just a fraction more of the shattering effect to the outer bite you'd expect from Heston's recipe — loved the quirky presentation in a cook's measure. Chef Sean Connolly recommended I try the Split scampi sashimi style with chilli, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes ($26) which he provided complimentary — thanks. It had an interesting flavour I hadn't had before although my preference was probably still to be cooked but sharing amongst 2 or 3 people would be a good way to try it to appreciate the subtle flavours of the scampi. I really enjoyed flavoursome Split Garlic 'n' Pernod Prawns ($26) although when the meat sticks to the shell a bit it can get a little messy to eat which happened at Rockpool Bar & Grill too. The Chicken Lollipops ($15, 5 pieces) came out larger than I was expecting. Nice flavour although was expecting more a buffalo wings spice rubbed version rather than the crumbing like they serve at The Coach and Horses Hotel. I wasn't a huge fan of the molasses dip and actually preferred the table chilli sauce which I thought was a better match. I had to take most of the crumbing off as I was getting a bit full from it and found it a little too heavy to consume. Just a couple of days officially in and the restaurant was pretty full and had a good vibe. Service attention could have possibly been a bit more available when needed at times but it was friendly and helpful and it's still early days and will hopefully be on top of their game soon.

PROS: Oysters shucked to order, Quality ingredients, Nice decor with airy high ceiling, Buzzing atmosphere, Good location for CBD, Friendly service
CONS: Can get expensive depending on what you order, Early days so service finding their feet
MUST TRY: Oysters, Crab & Lettuce Tacos, Returning to try other tempting dishes on the menu
VERDICT: A must visit for oyster lovers but make it soon as I predict this restaurant is the next hot spot of popularity since Jamie's Italian — which means possible queues to get in so book ahead
Chef Sean Connolly
Oysters ($20.70) clockwise Port Stephens Rock ($3.80), Tuross Lake Rock ($3.80), St Helen's Pacific ($3.80), Pipeclay Lagoon Pacific ($3.80), Coffin Bay Angassi ($5.50)

Oysters Port Stephens Rock ($3.80) 
Oysters Tuross Lake Rock ($3.80)

Oysters St Helen's Pacific ($3.80)
Oysters Pipeclay Lagoon Pacific ($3.80)
Oysters Coffin Bay Angassi ($5.50)
Homemade tomato sauce with fresh horseradish, vinaigrette

The Morrison Signature Cocktail: Freshly juiced Granny Smith apples blended with rye vodka ($15)

Crab & Lettuce Tacos with chardonnay vinaigrette, salmon caviar ($15, 3 pieces)

Duck Fat Chips Thrice Cooked ($10) — some tomato sauce would have gone nicely with them that you get with the oysters
Split scampi sashimi style with chilli, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes ($26)
Scampi meat came out quite easily from the shell
Split Garlic 'n' Pernod Prawns cooked over coals, garlic, Pernod, parsley butter ($26)
Prawn meat sticks to the shell a bit so can get a little messy and awkward to eat
Chicken Lollipops: Southern Fried Chicken, Chilli, Molasses Dip ($15, 5 pieces)
Molasses Dip is quite thick and syrup-like although I preferred the chilli sauce on the table
The crumbing was tasty but just a bit too heavy to eat it all on my own and their was a bit of skin under some of the chicken
Oysters Tuross Lake Rocks ($3.80 each, right), St Helen's Pacific ($3.80 each, left) — there was a bit of confusion over Port Stephens with Tuross Lake
Tuross Lake Rock ($3.80)
St Helen's Pacific ($3.80) 
Port Stephens Rock received to correct mistaken Tuross Lake Rock (no charge)
Bill $116.90 for one — going in a group of 2 or more would give you a chance to share a few dishes

Oyster menu — a great insight into flavour expectations
Open seven days for lunch and dinner

Cocktails menu
Patented oyster holder for easy opening

Oyster menu on boards above oyster shucking station

A few beers on tap
Cured meats display

Stairwell decor on the way to toilets upstairs — interesting

Xlerator hand dryer — these ones do what they're supposed to do very well

Cute window graphics

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The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room on Urbanspoon


Richard Elliot said...

Hi Simon, is The Morrison on the site of the old Brooklyn hotel?

Some of your bills for one are legendary I must say!

tania@mykitchenstories.com.au said...

Looks great Simon Im off there foe an oyster or two

gaby @ lateraleating said...

I love oysters too, gotta check this place out. Although I reckon right now it's too cold for oysters :)

Christine said...

chicken lollipops and triple cooked duck fat chips?!?! sounds too good to be true :P

Anonymous said...

Did you actually pay that bill for one, or was a PR chicky there on hand to take care of that for you?

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard. yes it is.

Simon Leong said...

hi richard, that's correct. i remember a few late night drinks at the old brooklyn and the big dance floor they used to have now replaced by a great oyster station. a foodie has to do what a foodie has to do. sometimes it's hard to find someone to dine with last minute.

hi tania, let me know what you think when you go.

hi gaby, never too cold for oysters for me and keeps the cold for longer hehe

hi christine, go the triple cooked chips. i wonder if someone will invent a quadruple cooked chips one day

hi anonymous, bill was paid for by me alone as a dined alone. if a PR company or restaurant invites and pays for me then I'll always disclose as you'll see in my complete list of guest reviews http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com.au/p/guest-reviews.html

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