Dr Morse Bar and Eatery

Restaurants Abbotsford
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The healing powers of chicken and cocktails comes to Abbotsford

Abbotsford, a suburb not well known for rollicking knees-ups, may finally have found the cure for its nightlife woes. The loveable crackpots from Moon Dog brewery have just opened a bar serving their Sexual Amalgum beers and cocktails a la RSLs (most of them blue), and just across from where the Rita’s boys are punching out pizze, Dr Morse is now dispensing remedies for whatever ails you.

For those chasing the 8.16am to Flinders Street from Victoria Park station, they’re slinging coffee served strong and thrust swiftly through a side hatch dubbed Jnr Morse. In the evening, you can roll right back down that ramp and into a punchy proposition of smoky mescal, sweetened with agave syrup and given a fresh dust-up with grapefruit bitters.

This is an all-pleasing operation in every single respect. It’s as much a liquor house as an eatery, with cocktail bars out the front and the back pouring a snappy list of local wines with the odd, grippy Cotes Du Rhone rose thrown in. It’s all backed by a little blues and funk and a menu so wildly diverse you could come back nightly. And we will when we can Game of Thrones it up with chef Josh Clarke’s plump baby chicken, all golden skinned and exploding with thyme-rich stuffing, served with roasting juices and a 10-inch blade.

But then you could also step a little more lightly into a dish of diced raw salmon, dressed in a limey, spicy coconut liquor, or crunchy little pigs ear crisps with a sting of wasabi mayo. The kitchen demonstrates serious chops across an impressive range of cuisines. A Thai-style sardine salad is a revelatory bowl of crunch. The whole silver fish protrude from a bean sprout, coriander and chilli salad bringing a kind of fish sauce funk with added bone chomping fun.

So this is a collaboration between Jon Costelloe and Anth Daniel, who also owns Richmond’s Aviary – something that becomes apparent the second you step into the sprawling, twinkling beer garden, replete with barbecue and the promise of jug-swinging good times. Inside, they’ve rendered what was once Kiss FM HQ into a golden glowing playhouse, festooned with plants and embroidered cushions.

Service is sometimes more that of a relaxed bar, which means you might get a smile when you're angling for the bill, but we’re happy to kick back by the fire and wait as long as necessary when the reward is a jar of chocolate cookies, bound by ganache and topped by a silken cloud of torched marshmallow fluff.

Good things take time. And Abbotsford knows it. It’s been a long wait, but the fun injection this suburb has been waiting for has finally arrived.

By: Gemima Cody


Venue name: Dr Morse Bar and Eatery
Address: 274 Johnston St
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3pm
Transport: Nearby stations: Victoria Park
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