Dinner at Morsels
My aunt brought my brother out for a belated birthday treat and was kind enough to invite Jo and I along. Morsels, a restaurant located at 35 Mayo Street, was the chosen destination. Simply put (and I’ve tried to write this sentence several times so far), the food there is FANTASTIC.
For lack of a better word, the cuisine served up can be described as fusion. “Fusion” tends to be considered a dirty word in many culinary circles and often chefs themselves often don’t want to associate their food with fusion cooking simply because it sounds flat, empty and lacking in identity. Well, I don’t know how Morsels classifies itself, but the food served is definitely an amalgamation of several cuisines, e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Italian and possibly French cooking. For lack of a better word, I think the food served can, and should, be considered fusion. That being said, it’s one thing for a chef to blur lines between cuisines and quite another to use different styles to cross-enhance flavours, add additional dimensions of taste and texture and, ultimately, come up with better food. Morsels does this perfectly.
Without further ado, here are some shots of the dishes we ordered together with a short description and my conclusions / observations.
Here are some shots of the restaurant’s frontage and interior decor. My aunt and wife really like the earthy, natural feel of the restaurant.
The unpolished walls were a talking point – It gives the restaurant a very art studio-ish feel. And perhaps that’s an insight into the mind of the chefs – perhaps they view their dishes as the canvas upon with to experiment, to test and to create art.
This is a shot of my brother holding up the menu. If you zoom in you can see the restaurant’s description of itself. It’s a small, cozy set-up and the two chef-owners, Bryan and Petrina, were extremely friendly with excellent customer service.
Chicken liver mousse friend wonton, whole grain vinaigrette – This was absolute lip-smacking. The chicken liver perfectly complimented the deep-friend wonton skin. This was a play on the regular foie gras terrine spread over crackers – and it worked a charm. The dip is also worth mentioning as it was delicate, light and enhanced the dish unlike most times when sauces serve to cover up flaws or smother taste.
Hokkaido scallop ceviche, compressed seasonal fruit, tobiko, cilantro, red onion with homemade tortilla chips. Although I’m not really a fan of scallop, and I generally do not like citrus / fruit flavours, I loved this! And the homemade tortilla chips were to die for. The chips reminded me of the deep-friend wonton skin but thicker, oilier and tastier. It was a perfect base for the fresh, clean-tasting ceviche.
Steamed clams, fig broth, homemade kim chee, picked wakame, spring onions. This was good, but I was by no means blown away. The clams were definitely fresh, but I personally felt that the fig broth didn’t really do anything for the dish. That being said, the 4 of us polished everything off. If you like clams, give it a try. Otherwise, it may be OK to give this one a miss.
Grilled house poached octopus, squid ink risotto, salted egg sauce, tobiko, wasabi sprouts. This was by far the best dish we had on the night – and that’ saying something considering the overall quality of the food. With a grilled octopus to rival Valentino’s, the surprising but beautiful marriage between squid-ink and risotto and the extra-dimensions created by the salted-egg sauce, this dish is up there with the best food I’ve ever eaten (and by some distance the best risotto I’ve had). Amazing. Die die must try!! Oh, did I mention that the flying fish roe on the top added an extra crunch that was – for lack of a better word – beautiful to behold? It’s so good I’m going to post another photo of it.
Pan-seared fish of the day, buttermilk miso broth, picked meiji mushrooms, ikura, radish sprouts. I don’t really care for fish, so a fish-dish has to be really good to get my attention. This was pretty decent but not mind-blowing. The fish was fresh, well-cooked but again suffered from the same problem as the clams in thatthe sauce didn’t really do it for me. Still, my brother really liked this so perhaps it’s just me.
Ume-sake braised short rib, okinawan sweet potato, nai bai, ume, koji wasabe. Man, this was just awesome. The short rib was so tender it could literally be pulled apart. The seasoning and balancing of the flavours was perfect, as was the interplay between the short rib and sweet potato on the palate. What really stole the show though was the koji wasabe. I don’t really know how to describe it aside from – “You really got to try this”. My only complaint? There was too little wasabi! It literally came in a tiny pinch no bigger than a chipped nail.
This was a house specialty so I don’t really have an accurate description. It was basically slices of a particular type of Japanese mushroom (the name of which now escapes me) served together with a slow-cooked egg. Another die die must try. I’m running out of adjectives here. I’ve been using “perfect” “beautiful” “amazing” ad nauseam – but I can’t help it! The food was that good.
We had the panna cotta and tiramisu for dessert. I’m not a tiramisu person and the panna cotta had a strong almond taste, which I suspect was influenced by the Chinese almond beancurd dessert. Well, I don’t like almonds either so I can’t really comment. Still, the tiramisu was good and the milo powder on top a nice touch.
On the whole, the dinner was fusion-cooking par excellence. I am definitely going back again to try the other dishes on the menu! The only word of warning I would issue is that the dishes are quite small in size – perhaps that’s why the restaurant is so appropriately named Morsels – and almost in the style of tapas. Still, that isn’t going to stop me from going back.
Here are some other shots which were taken that night.
A shot of the mosque opposite the restaurant and the restaurant’s mailbox.
My brother and I.
The entrance to one of my (now) favourite restaurants!
All images were captured with an Olympus E-M1 & Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Micro 4/3 Lens.