Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room, Sydney CBD

A New York style brasserie with a dedicated oysters menu with a bar fronted by celebrity chef Sean Connery (SBS's My Family Feasts). Sounds too good to be true? Well I never been to New York so I cannot compare the both of them. (And heck I wanna go to New York!). Around this time, I have just started my new job at Martin Place and my friends and I have been looking forward to this place for a while mainly for the oysters.   

The Morrison is a fairly spacious restaurant with different areas across the venue including the Oyster Room where you witness the chefs shucking out oysters, the Conservatory where most of the diners were seated which also includes an outdoor dining space, and the Parlour at the back where diners usually chill out and drink at the bar. It was so weird coming to the place formerly known as The Brooklyn Hotel since it used hold an Asian nightclub 'Shanghai Nights' where we used to frequent back in our youth (now at Space but that's for another blog).

We were greeted with a few interesting tidbits notably the faux newspaper which actually consists of the Oyster and Wine menus. It was nice reading through this as it discusses the food vision of The Morrison and how some of their food produce originate. While it shows a detailed list of all of the oysters available at The Morrison, only a small selection of about 2-4 types of oysters are actually available on the night. This is shown on the Oysters board at the back or you can ask your waiter.

We started off with a selection of fresh oysters that were available on the night, which were the Coffin Bay (Pacific Oyster), Merimbula and the Tuross Lake Oysters (both classified as Rock Oysters). I don't know much about oysters but I've noticed the Coffin Bay Oyster being quite light and a tad salty while both of the rock oysters, particularly the Merimbula oyster, had a rich, fuller flavour that stays on your tongue for a while. You can seriously taste the ocean as you slurp the oysters down. This is the real deal! They were served with a wedge of lemon and a small bowl of red wine with eshallots to add to the oyster experience. 

L-R: Tuross Lake, Merimbula, Coffin Bay Oysters ($4 each)

I was particularly keen to try the crab and lettuce tacos mainly for the low carb factor with the use of a lettuce leaf to wrap the filling instead of a flour or corn tortilla and the fact that I am a big fan of crabs (shoot me). When it arrived, I was a bit stunned to see how small it really was. Considering that the price is $17.50 for 3 tacos but I guess it might have something to do with the decent amounts of crab and salmon roe. Nevertheless, it tasted really delicious and refreshing. If you are keen for a light, low-carb snack, this is a good option but they are small servings sizes that I could easily finish in one bite.   

Crab and Lettuce Tacos ($17.50)

The word molasses may not sound appealing but southern fried chicken sure does. Those three words were enough reason for me to order Sean's Chicken Lollipops. While 5 servings may sound like a lot, it's actually quite small so you can easily share a few or eat this on your own. The best bit if of course the crunchy coating as well as the seasoning on the batter which makes these lollipops seriously addictive. For those who are scared of anything spicy, the chilli and molasses dip is actually quite mild. 

Sean's Chicken Lollipops ($16.00)

For some reason, when we hear of duck fat chips, we think of those golden, super-crunchy, teeth-shattering morsels that you would get from Heston's triple cooked chips. When we got it, we were seriously disappointed on the lack of crunchiness. It was actually soft and soggy. Maybe it was a bad day or we were expecting something completely different for duck fat chips. Most likely just our bad luck as I've noticed reviews on other sites which commented how crunchy the chips were. I've tried these chips again on another visit to The Morrison recently. While they weren't triple-cooked chip crunchy, they were much crispier and crunchier than the previous visit.

Duck Fat Chips ($10.00)

We weren't sure what to pick for our mains and ended up with a couple of pasta dishes. I chose the chilli crab linguine purely because of the words chilli crab. While the crab is plentiful and the chilli does give it a good punch, the pasta seemed to also have a bit of cream when I tried it. I wish the cream was mentioned in the ingredients for this item on the menu but the chilli helped a lot to the overall flavour. If you love creamy pasta with seafood, then I would recommend this dish but to be honest I thought it was too much for me to handle. 

Chilli crab linguine ($26.00)

CC decided on the Beef and Lamb Ragu with Paccheri pasta for her main dish (Pacherri pasta is a large, hollow type of short pasta similar to a rigatoni). The ragu was rich and meaty with a slight hint of (parmesan?) cheese as you taste and smell it. The beef and lamb were tender which is a huge plus for this dish. My friend seemed to enjoy it but we were getting full from the other dishes.

Beef and Lamb Ragu with Paccheri pasta ($26.00) 

In terms of customer service, while the staff were friendly they do not refill your water unless you ask them. We went on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was very busy and packed with a buzzing crowd who were mostly office people having dinner with friends or colleagues. There were some decent food like the oysters and the Chicken Lollipops and there were those that ended up being somewhat average. In terms of pricing, it's leaning towards the expensive side and the servings of some dishes like the crab and lettuce tacos were too small to justify the value. While The Morrison has a great restaurant concept with an oyster bar, spacious venue, vibrant atmosphere, New York-style Brasserie charm and a celebrity chef; overall the food seemed to be a hit and miss for us and it will break your budget depending on what you order. Having said that, I still enjoyed the oysters and I'm keen to try their Split Scampi Sashimi ($30.00) or the Split Garlic N Pernod Prawns ($26.00) as I've heard that they are amazing.

The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room
225 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9247 6744
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room on Urbanspoon


  1. Pity about the pasta and chips but those chicken lollipops look awesome! Or maybe I'm just one for novelty hehe.

  2. i'm craving those Crab and Lettuce Tacos again :-)

  3. I enjoyed my visit here, though shame that some of the dishes weren't as good!