IN BRIEF

This is a dining experience no serious gourmand should miss. Mr Morris more than meets expectations: it reinvents them.

WHY CHOOSE THIS RESTAURANT?

It’s Michael Meredith’s newest venture and this menu is the epitome of Kiwi-born fusion food. A nod to Pasifika, more than a modicum of Mexico, hints of Italian and classic French as well as a touch of Asian. And it’s all excellent.

ABOUT THE FOOD

In the three or so years between the closing of Merediths and the opening of Mr Morris, Michael Meredith has travelled, watched and developed an easier, more approachable style. His food is still pretty, still complex but it’s more eatable, less technique-driven. And, dare we say it, more playful. The snacks of crispy chicken skin and parfait and the quirky use of black pudding à la pain au pastry, were a great way to begin. The entrées we shared were a highlight. The delicate and stylish crayfish with brussels sprouts julienned to within a millimetre of their lives partnered with Béarnaise and sauerkraut melted in the mouth, while the sausage-shaped octopus with chipotle and pickled carrot was rendered even more sublime by a perfectly executed sauce mole. The combination of shiitake and oyster mushrooms draped over fish worked well as did the free-range chicken, mirin, enoki and corn, although the success of the rice gnocchi was a topic of debate.

Dessert options, as with the other dishes, have deceptively simple menu descriptions. Given Meredith’s Samoan heritage we were sure his take on the classic pani popo would impress: it did. It was airily doughy, sweet and satisfying with powerfully coconut flavours, maybe a step too filling after so much good food, but delicious nonetheless.

ABOUT THE CHEF

What Michael Meredith is delivering at Mr Morris is his best work. Gone are the always beautiful but often cerebrally challenging dishes in the extended degustation menus of Merediths. Still evident, though, is Meredith’s artist’s eye: still in place is his superb craftsmanship, the use of multiple techniques on a single plate and his consummate ability to combine disparate flavours.

ABOUT THE TEAM

Alongside Michael Meredith works head chef Fabio Bernardini formerly of Merediths. Together, Bernardini, Meredith and their brigade, make up one of Auckland’s finest kitchen cohorts. The service, too, is knowledgeable, polished and completely in sync with the kitchen.

OF NOTE

The food, the food and did we mention the food? There is also the extensive wine list most notable for its great selection of wine by the glass.