Whatever you think of him, you owe Henry Ford some gratitude. After all, he was the one that introduced the concept of a two-day weekend into modern working society, back when it was only one. The things you learn when reading a food blog, right?
Why is this relevant? Two days = at least two chances for cafe hopping. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a proper round of cafe breakfasts/brunches, but I’m glad that when I found the time to get back into it, I found quality in almost no time at all. Thanks for that, Cafe Morso!
Date Last Visited: 2/5/15
Address: 26-32 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, Sydney, NSW
Recommended Dish(es): any risotto on the menu, wild mushrooms & scrambled eggs, kransky dog
But Cafe Morso? That’s the icing. Onto the good stuff.
I would describe the cuisine as European/Australian with a particular Italian bent. Think pastas & hearty risottos. They also do mean coffees, but on multiple visits I have noticed some variation in consistency. Is it a safe order? For anyone but a coffee snob – certainly so.
Possibly my favourite dish right now, the smoked pork & gruyere risotto is smack bang everything I like about Italian-esque food. Soft, creamy rice that isn’t mushy, delicious chunks of well-seasoned pork, cheese, and in a French twist – hollandaise on top. The Aussie twist? A poached egg on top!
The key element is undoubtedly the rice. It’s just short of al dente, while the rest of the dish isn’t as ‘soupy’ as some other risottos. I don’t know about you, but while I like my noodles hard, I actually like my rice a bit on the softer side. Morso knows and caters to my needs 🙂
I rarely eat risotto because of health reasons, so when I do, I make sure it’s a damn good risotto.
Morso’s risotto is damn good risotto. A must-try for any first-time visitor.
The thinnest type of pasta, angel hair (aka Capellini) goes particularly well with light condiments and is usually served with a seafood bent. This is exactly what Morso has done with their rendition – pairing it with crab, squid & tomatoes. As with most of Morso’s dishes, this one’s quite the looker.
In terms of flavour, I was expecting a flare of it, but what I got was surprisingly bland. The pasta isn’t flavourless, it just didn’t approach anywhere near the flavour profile I was expecting.
That aside, the pasta itself is quite well-cooked, with a definitive al dente touch, while the seafood was sweet and tender. Chilli? Garlic? Those were flavour notes I was missing, which were sorely needed.
I usually don’t get a case of food FOMO, as I typically end up ordering dishes that work best for me. That went out the window with the Morso hot dog a friend ordered.
Dayum, this is one heck of a sausage. This lords over all other sausages – and they acknowledge it. This dish instilled a ridiculous case of food FOMO, the likes of which I’ve never felt before. I can’t wait to try it for myself. I know I shouldn’t judge on looks alone, but I would be most surprised if it didn’t taste at least half-decent. I did manage to have some of the double cooked chips – real crunchy exterior, while keeping the innards soft, fluffy & hot. Good enough to order as a side on its own.
I’m going to put this on the recommended eat list, despite not having it – because I’m recommending it to myself the next time I visit. Consider it a personal note.
The lamb ragu w/trofie pasta & grana padano was my personal order on this particular visit. It was marked as a special on Morso’s blackboard, so don’t always expect to see it available.
For me, the curiosity was the trofie pasta. I’ve never had, or heard of this type of pasta before. It is made by rolling dough to form a short, round shape with tapered ends, then twisting it. In terms of texture, it’s not very different to most pasta, and is more for visual interest than anything. It’s slightly reminiscent of a Shaanxi dish called ma shi zi or Shaanxi Pasta.
As for taste, Morso’s is decent but not exceptional. It’s all in the lamb ragu, really. It’s still not as flavoursome as I would have liked, but well ahead of the relatively blandish angel hair pasta. The trofie pasta itself was slippery and chewy, though I wasn’t sure if it paired well with the ragu, as it didn’t seem to actually absorb the sauce.
The star of the show is the lamb – tender, flavoursome meat I couldn’t get enough of. Ah, there needed to be more of this, for sure.
The Lady’s order, the wholefoods salad is one of those examples that do a stellar job of dispelling the stigma of drabness that salads are so commonly associated with. The key is to introduce a plethora of interesting textures whilst not letting the flavour lag. Textures are everywhere – in the softness of pumpkin, the crunch of kale & cucumber, and the crumbliness of grains, seeds & legumes. Flavour is brought about by tahini, with a spicy kick given from the kimchi present in the dish.
I like it as much as my lamb ragu, which says a lot about what should not even be a competition between salad and pasta. The salad holds its own!
Another friend’s order was the beetroot cured salmon w/poached egg. This is a fairly new dish at Morso, and one that I think deserves its place on the menu on permanent terms. The best part is definitely the beetroot salmon. It’s a brilliant shade of red, hugely adding to its visual appeal. I was definitely able to taste the infusion of beetroot in the salmon, but it doesn’t overtake the umami of the fish itself.
On the negative side, it is quite salty, but eating this properly – with a bit of avocado and poached egg on a bit of the bread is the right way to go in balancing the sodium levels.
I’ve actually been saving Morso’s signature dish until last. Does it come as a big surprise that it’s just a serve of scrambled eggs? Oh, but I’m using the word ‘just’, very unjustly. Morso’s scrambled eggs are something else, entirely.
For one, they’re truffled scrambled eggs. For the truffle lovers, there could not be a bigger deal than this. Shaved truffle and eggs is one of the great Western breakfast pleasures, and Morso has nailed this to a tee. The essence of truffle is powerfully strong, and make no mistake – all your friends will be able to smell it in glorious envy, watching you wolf this down and not sharing even the smallest of bites.
Of course, that’s only part of what makes these eggs so lip-smackingly delicious. The most important element – texture – is addressed in a way that almost no cafe in Sydney has matched. Morso’s eggs are cooked such that they’re left creamy and tender, never overdone – that would be an omelette, not scrambled eggs. It’s surprising how few cafes in Sydney get this right, which is why I almost never order scrambled eggs.
Not a truffle lover? I’m sorry dude, I’m so, so sorry. I don’t think there’s a non-truffled version for you.
This dish is not perfect – I still feel that they require flavour aside from just truffle (think salt & pepper), and the eggs lack a certain umami kick that would have complemented nicely. As such, while these are exceptional eggs, they’re not the best I’ve had. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not to give these a try though.
Morso does so much right, it was bound to make a few mistakes. But make no mistake – it’s a favourite!
This post is based on two independently paid-for visits to Cafe Morso
What did you think of Cafe Morso? Let me know in the comments below!
- Seriously good food to be had here depending on the dish
- The waterfront view & idyllic peace of mind when eating here
- Pasta dishes a weak point in Morso’s lineup
- So many specials you can’t order if you don’t come on the right day…
- Seasoning seems to be a common theme across most of Morso’s dishes – sometimes only in a minor fashion, other times a major issue
I have a new scoring system! Read all about it here.
Most important takeaway – three separate scores for food, service and ambiance to give the final score. The new system is not compatible with any score given prior to 11/11/2014.
F7 | S4 | A3