The Morrison Bar and Oyster House is one of those places you feel like is your own little secret that you don’t want to share, which is stupid; I don’t think I’ve ever been in here when it hasn’t been packed! Sitting stoutly in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, the Morrison has a come-one-come-all reputation.
We love finding great places for lunch and dinner amidst the skyscrapers at the heart of Sydney’s city. There’s something about finding a gem in such a busy place that’s both exciting and reassuring. The Morrison certainly fills that brief very well indeed.
We love The Morrison. And as we’re welcomed by the maître d’ like we were old friends, I have flashbacks (good ones) of when we were here last.
It wasn’t long ago – just a couple of days in fact – when we were invited to herald the beginning of The Morrison’s annual Oyster Festival. As the name suggests, this place does a superb range of oysters, and throughout August, the $1 oyster deals can’t be ignored.
But tonight, we’re here for dinner.
Our table, right by the huge picture window looking down on a bustling George Street is perfect for our date night. In fact Mrs Romance and I agree that we’d recommend requesting one of these tables if you’re out for a romantic meal.
Our lovely waitress, Flo, offers us menus and the idea of a glass of champagne to start. It’s like we’ve been Incepted. Yes, we would love a glass of bubbly! How did she know?
We weren’t expecting to eat more oysters… but the champagne! So the platter of 12 mixed oysters arrives swiftly.
We move on to the entrées and immediately hit a stumbler. We just can’t decide what to order. Once again, darling Flo is there to help and hammers out the dings in our eating plan.
Mrs Romance goes for the ceviche – the scampi ceviche that is. The halved scampi – ‘cooked’ by the citric acid of the fresh lime juice and is tender and just the right side of done. It’s an intelligent dish with a subtle kick of chilli from the garnish.
I go for the steak tartare, billed as ‘Sean’s Half Famous Steak Tartare’. The three of us try and puzzle out why it’s only half famous, but the question even has Flo stumped.
When the dish arrives though, none of that seems to matter. The tartare is smooth and delicious. It’s a little looser than I’m used to and the mince is a bit bigger too, but the seasoning is perfect and the blended pickled capsicum adds a picante hint too.
From sparkling, we hit the whites. Flo assesses our needs and asks a few directing questions, and comes back with a couple of winners.
While Mrs R sips on her Crawford River Riesling from Henty, Victoria, and I enjoy the minerally sweetness of my Pinot Blanc from Alsace in France, we hover over the rest of our entrées. Though they don’t last nearly long enough.
For our main course – once again under the advisement of Flo – Mrs Romance chooses the sea trout, which comes in a pea shoot broth, Tokyo turnips and zucchini.
The broth is amazing. It seems to be a blend of soy, sweet soy, sesame and vinegar, but it’s so full of flavour there must be more going on. The trout is exquisite and comes with the crispiest skin I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even go soggy when it’s left in the broth. Amazing.
I thought about going for the dry-aged hamburger – or maybe the delicious lamb shoulder we’ve had before – but Flo once again helps out.
I’m so happy I listened to her. The ‘Orgy of Mushroom Gnocchi’ is beyond words. It really is a mushroom orgy with about 7 different types soaking up the broth-like sauce. But it’s the gnocchi that steals the show.
For one, it’s not just any gnocchi, it’s ricotta gnocchi. It’s creamy and delicate, and its fragile skin bursts as you put each piece in your mouth. As Mrs R says, this dish is so good it could almost turn you veggie!
If our side of delectable duck fat chips weren’t here, there’s a chance I might just do that.
While I’m trying to eat my main politely, I’m also enjoying an excellent Pinot Noir from Shaky Bridge in Central Otago, NZ.
Flo our waitress has been a sweetheart all night. Helpful, attentive, insightful… but as the plates are cleared, she turns dark. It’s dessert time, and she knows we’ll need a forceful hand to guide us into a good decision.
At first she suggests the New York Cheesecake with salted caramel popcorn, which is exactly what I’ve had my eye on. But in the end we go for liquid dessert, which leaves us all feeling good about the negotiation.
I have the unexpectedly good Cheese and Pineapple Martini, which is an elegant mix of port, Grand Marnier and pineapple juice shaken with lemon and fig chutney. The hilariously retro party garnish of actual cheese and pineapple on a stick rounds of the meal perfectly.
Meanwhile, Mrs Romance is busy with this beauty.
It’s the Ferrero Rocher. Created in the Morrison, this is luxury in a glass. A decadent blend of Belvedere vodka, choc liqueur and Nutella with crushed hazelnuts to garnish – it really tastes like an alcoholic liquid Ferrero Rocher. It’s unbelievable.
This has been a meal to remember. And with a gentle walk through the streets of the city at night, an evening to remember too.
The Morrison Bar and Oyster House
Open: every day from 11.30am. Closes: Mon-Wed – 12.00am, Thurs – 1.00am, Fri & Sat – 2.00am, and Sun – 10.00pm.
Good for: Everything! Romantic date nights (ask for a window seat when you book), after-work drinks and munches or a lunchtime feed with friends.
225 George Street
(corner of George and Grosvnor streets)
Where was the last romantic meal you had? Do you go out for dinner in the city often or do you stick closer to home? Tell us in the comments?