morena | restaurant review

The ninth Dinner Club of the year with the Jacksons took us to try the latest Sydney foodie obsession – Latin American cuisine at Morena in Surry Hills.

Having read a review by Good Living in the SMH which gave it 13/20, I admit I was dubious with Ian’s choice. But I needn’t be. It was wonderful!

unusual Bourke St entrance
interior dining room (pic from Morena website)

Ian has a method to picking his restaurant for Dinner Club; he googles things like “rad restaurant + Sydney” and “awesome seafood + Sydney”. Sometimes it works (Ocean’s Eleven in January this year), sometimes it doesn’t (Zaffran Indian last year) but it’s definitely entertaining! For this pick, he googled “atmosphere + Sydney restaurant” and Morena popped up.

It is a lovely space. Slightly unusual with the hanging globes filled with plants, but it has a nice warmth that generally doesn’t accompany modern decor. Our waitress is Argentinean and she’s attentive and friendly and helpful.

Para Comenzar – entree size

CAUSAS 3

For his starter, Jay orders the Causas 3 which is traditional dish from the coast of Perú, based on potato mash & served w/ a selection of toppings. He had no idea what it was but decided to take a stab and try something different! He loved the small bites of salmon, spinach gnocchi and sweet potato.

The Special: SCALLOPS

Janine orders The Special of Scallops, which we’re told, is going to be included on the menu as of next month. They are pan-friend sea scallops topped with a chimichurri-type salsa and shaved slivers of some type of semi-cured fish.

CARAMELISED CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY

Ian orders the Caramelised Crispy Skin Port Belly which is a dish served with cumin & lentil crisps served w/ incaberry sauce. He loves it and devours it within moments!

PERUVIAN CEVICHE W/ PINK SNAPPER

The review I read said this dish is amazing. It’s the Peruvian Ceviche with Pink Snapper cancha & caramelised sweet potato. The snapper is marinated in lime juice to break down the fibers, but it’s not cooked over heat. I have never tasted sweet potato like that before – the little balls of kumera are sweet and have a texture similar to rockmelon. My only negative comment is that the dish could have done without the rock-hard corn kernels. The difference in texture just doesn’t mesh well with the soft fish and sweet potato so it’s a rude shock to crunch these rock hard kernels. But overall it’s fresh and light and delicious.

Platos Principales – main course

SECO DE ALPACA

Jay orders Seco De Alpaca which is a dish of seared alpaca backstrap w/traditional coriander & beer sauce, celeriac purée & Peruvian style carapulcra. We all have a taste of the unusual meat and it’s nothing like any other meat; it’s dense and game-y but the taste is so mild. The celeriac puree is rich and creamy. It’s definitely a different dish and it’s nice to try something different!

BARRAMUNDI

Neen has the Barramundi pachamanca style served w/ roasted Andean corn, bean sprouts, white asparagus, baby spinach & roasted almond purée. It’s fresh and light and the Andean corn is unique – like a giant corn kernel but with the taste and flavour of a white bean.

ASADO CON CHIMICHURRI

Ian and I order the Asado Con Chimichurri which is charcoal Argentinian style beef short ribs, smoked salt flakes w/ beats salad & chimichurri salsa. It’s melt-in-your-mouth beef with no bone. Just like a giant, tender strip. The chimichurri is delicious; grassy and garlicy and a really nice accompaniment to the meat. The beetroot smear and yellow pickled beetroots are a little random and don’t really go with the overall flavour of the dish, but they add colour and decoration to the plate. There is so much meat that I give half to Jay to finish. But it is delicious!

Dulces – desserts

The dessert menu isn’t really speaking to us but we all want something sweet, so we order anyway…

CLASICO DE ARROZ CON LECHE Y MAÍZ MORADO

Jay has the Clasico de Arros Con Lechey Maiz Morado which is caramelised Limeño style rice pudding, purple corn jelly & semidried berries. He looks at it warily when it arrives in front of him, but one spoonful and he’s in heaven. Luckily for him, he gives me a taste and it’s yum! (It reminds me of a Bill Granger recipe I make each year on Valentines Day for Jay!) The only thing about the dish Jay doesn’t like is the purple jelly cubes which are coated with a sour sugar.

TRES LECHES

Ian orders the Tres Leches which is a traditional Latin American sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk, served w/ roasted pineapple ice cream. It is amazing. A dense but somehow fluffy sponge cake which is caramelised on the outside. It is divine. I have ordering envy.

Housemade Pineapple Icecream

Janine & I ask the waitress if we can just have the Pineapple Ice Cream that comes on the dish Ian ordered. It is made onsite with caramelised pineapple chunks and it’s just a nice end to the meal.

Morena
15/425 Bourke St | Surry Hills NSW 2010
ph: 0405 902896 | email: bookings@morena.com.au

Food: 3.5 / 5
Atmosphere: 3.5 / 5
Value: 3.5 / 5
Service: 4/5

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “morena | restaurant review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s