Hercules Morse Kitchen and Bar – Intimate, Relaxed and Great Food!

panda 4 rating

Cocktail List:
Cocktail List at Hercules Morse Kitchen and Ba      More Drinks at Hercules Morse Kitchen and Ba

It was time for another catchup with A and this time my venue selection was at Hercules Morse Kitchen & Bar which is located in South Melbourne. Hercules Morse is the fantastic new venue by Kelly and Ash Cooke, which has been renovated from an old curry serving venue into a stylish and funky one. The name comes from children’s author Lynley Dodd’s series – Hairy Maclary and is the name of an English Mastiff (dog) in the books.

The central focal point is the bar and kitchen which is colourful striped feature. Depending on what you feel like there are high tables with bar stools located at the front and through the walkway of the venue, leading through to a comfortable and cosy back room which houses lower tables and cushion seats. There is also a tree mural and a fireplace to further add warmth. The tables are wooden and the chairs are black which tied in with the black and white circled plates (which I love!). There really was a great first impression!

The menu is created by Brad Cooke (formerly of Chin Chin) and combines a variety of ingredients in a style that is not seen in many places in Melbourne and has a modern twist to the Britannia era. The menu is split into three sections – Snack, Graze and Indulge. The menu is designed to share we are told by the friendly and helpful waiter. Reading the menu you almost want to sample each and every dish. Snacks consists from House Spiced Nuts to Oysters to Fish Fingers and their famous Morse Chip Butty (more on this dish later). Graze dishes are more of your larger dishes and consist of all your main proteins – such as beef, chicken, snapper, scallops, steak tartare and a vegetartian option of warmed barley and mushroom salad – which is a risotto dish. Indulge consists of 4 different desserts – 2 of which are cheese options.

We decided to get one Snack dish and one Graze dish each and share the Warmed Barley and Mushroom Risotto with Enoki and Melted Taleggio dish. A chose the Morse Chip Butty (she loves anything roasted in duck fat – I guess most people do!) as well as the Beef Cigars. I selected the Cheese and Cauliflower Balls as well as the Crispy Skin Snapper. We were seated on bar stools on the high tables near the kitchen so could see into the kitchen as our dishes were being prepared. Our first dish was the Cauliflower and Cheese Balls with Lemon, Rosemary Salt and a Dijon Dipping Mayo. I really loved the combination of the cauliflower and cheese – and I have never seen it done before. The addition of the rosemary salt mixed with the Dijon dipping mayo complemented the dish perfectly.

There was a crisp crunchy coating on the outside with the gooey yuminess on the inside – it really was a great dish! A had the Morse Chip Butty – Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes in a Truffle Buttered Roll and she loved it! It really is a pity I couldn’t try it. It came out in the form of a mini hamburger that was really tall. The potatoes looked crispy and perfectly coloured. For anyone that loves duck fat, potatoes or mini burgers this is a dish for you!

Next up were the larger Graze dishes. The Slow Braised Beef Cheek Cigars and Salsa Verde was visually stunning and vibrant dish and had a taste to match. Once again there was the perfect crispness on the outside to compete with the richness of the beef which paired perfectly with the salsa verde. The Crispy Skin Snapper, Prawn Brandade, Buttered Asparagus and Roquette Pesto was another Graze dish. The snapper was cooked just right with the crispness of the skin added not only texture but additional flavour to the dish. The pesto and asparagus was a great addition to the dish and together every aspect of this dish worked well. I really liked how the snapper was seasoned – so much that you could eat it on its own. A winner of a dish. The last Graze dish was the Warmed Barley and Mushroom Salad with Enoki and Melted Taleggio – which to me was one of their healthier dishes thanks to the barley. Even though the menu calls it a salad it really equated to a mushroom risotto. The barley was cooked well and the Taleggio melted on top added an extra depth to the dish. Yum!

We were both pretty full by this stage but who can say no to dessert right? So we decided to share and A let me decide which dessert to pick – I picked the Deconstructed Apple Pie – Tarte Tatin Apples, Pecan and Cheddar Crumble. This dessert was interesting – as you would expect in an apple pie you have apples and the addition of the pecan was a nice extra – but what threw me was the cheddar crumble. I must admit I wasn’t a big fan of the cheddar crumble and the harshness of this didn’t quite mix so well with me. However hats off for creating a very different apple pie!

There is quite a variety in terms of drinks at Hercules Morse and there are 2 pages of cocktails available as well! They are interestingly named such as XXX Expresso which provides a caffeine hit as well as drinks like Fields of Lavender and Goodie Goodie Gum Drop. Refer to the pictures for what is in each of these drinks.

Hercules Morse is relaxed and intimate restaurant/bar that is great for many occasions – from date night to a casual catch-up with friends. The wait staff are friendly and very helpful in assisting you in dishes and are really knowledgeable about each dish on the menu. It has a great menu which covers a variety of dishes and a fantastic drink menu to match – all in the funky suburb of South Melbourne.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to http://www.herculesmorse.com.au/files/HM_MENU_2012.pdf for Food Menu. Refer to picture above for Cocktail List.
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Intimate, Cosy and Welcoming. Great for all occasions – from date night to a catch-up with friends or even a celebration!
Standout Dish: Crispy Skin Snapper, Prawn Brandade, Buttered Asparagus and Roquette Pesto AND Morse Chip Butty – Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes in a Truffle Buttered Roll
Service: Friendly, Knowledgeable and Helpful
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.herculesmorse.com.au/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.herculesmorse.com.au/
282 Clarendon St, South Melbourne
Tel No: 9690 9402

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm

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Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar – A Fantastic Experience!

Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar is located where the old Gordon Ramsay MAZE was – inside the Crown Entertainment Complex, in the new Crown Metropol section. As you walk in the interior is quite a feast for the eyes – there are high ceilings, with wooden light fittings that resemble bird cages, as well as modern wall art which consists of birds and branches, keeping with the similar theme. The tables are dark, wooden and sturdy and are fitted with comfortable and elegant chairs. There are also communal tables and a lively bar area which serves world class cocktails (and mocktails). The restaurant’s executive chef is John Lawson, and with his experience and expertise has created a menu that is formal yet homely, and brings together fresh and innovative dishes, some from the British background that Lawson shares.

From the moment we entered to the moment we left, the staff were friendly and attentive. We were shown to our table and given our menus. We were told that when it came around to Dessert time that we could go over to the Dessert bar area and watch as the chefs create our dishes in front of us. For entree I had Roasted Scallops with Wild Rice and Spice with Cauliflower Puree and Caramelised Kelp. The Scallops were perfectly roasted and together with the element of the toasted rice it gave an added crunch. The Caramelised Kelp was an additional nice touch. When we ordered our mains, our waiter suggested that we try out beetroot that were cooked in a casing of salted dough (it was a special side for the night). You can have a look at the photo above. When it came out it was just a rough shell of dough, and this was how it was cooked in an oven. Once it is cut open you can see the vibrant colours of the beetroot, and it had been cooked perfectly. The Beetroot were not too soft and not too hard, although as salt needed to be added to the dough to aid in the cooking, the beetroot was a bit on the salty side, but hand-able. It was great to this way of cooking as it was something different and something that I had never seen before.

For my main I ordered Marlborough King Salmon served with Crab and Sweet Corn and my friend ordered the Gippsland Duck Breast, Sweet Corn, Cherries and Foie Gras. The Salmon was the perfect shade of pink and moist, the added crab and sweet corn was creamy and meshed well with the salmon. Both the dishes were well presented, and the colours and tones of the dishes, matched that of the elements of the dish. The Duck Breast came with Cherries which I thought was an interesting addition.

Next we were taken to Mrs Hives Dessert Bar which is styled like an old school lolly store with different shaped bottles and lollies and candies filling them. Here you can see sou chefs make up the dessert in front of you. You can see them placing each element on the plate to create a wonderfully elegant dessert. It was a tough decision picking which dessert we wanted but I settled on the White Chocolate with Mango, Basil and Coconut and my friend had the Summer Berry Eton Mess. The White Chocolate dessert was superb – the Coconut mousse at the base of the dish was light and fluffy and the Basil Sorbet added a refreshing element and together with the Mango really tied the dish together.  The white chocolate underneath the Coconut Mousse was an additional surprise  It was a fresh, yet not too sweet dessert.  The Summer Berry Eton Mess was also fantastic. The berries were fresh and the meringue had the right amount of crunch and softness. To end the dessert extravaganza, we were given complimentary Chocolate Milkshakes in cute little milk bottles (together with a stripey red and white straw) with Salted Caramel Truffles. We were told that we had to eat the Truffle in one go and then follow it up with the deliciously smooth milkshake. The combination was awesome!

The experience that you receive at Mr Hive is fantastic and highly recommended, right from the waiter suggesting the sides that would match your main dishes to Mrs Hives Dessert Bar. The ambience is warm and inviting and John Lawson has created a menu filled with mouth watering dishes.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Roasted Scallops with Wild Rice and Spice with Cauliflower Puree and Caremlised Kelp and White Chocolate with Mango, Basil and Coconut
Lunch: A la Carte Menu – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Lunch%20Menu%202012.pdf  OR 2 course meal for $45 OR a 3 course meal for $55
Dinner: A la Carte Menu – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Dinner%20Menu%202012.pdf OR 3 course meal for $70 ORa 4 course meal for $90
Signature Menu : http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Signature%20Menu.pdf
Bar Menu (Available from 6pm – 11pm)http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Evening%20Bar%20Menu%202012.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Stylish yet homely, comfortable and warm. Great for a special occasion for groups or even a date night.
Standout Dish:
Service: Fantastic, Attentive and Accomodating. Also as they were recently opened, they kept asking us what we would change in the dish if there needed any and were very open to ideas. Friendly and Vibrant as well.
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/mr-hive-kitchen-and-bar
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/mr-hive-kitchen-and-bar
Crown Entertainment Complex
Level 1 Crown Metropol
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Tel No: 9292 8300

Opening Hours:
Breakfast: 6:30am – 10:30am
All Day Dining: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm – 10:30pm

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