Last week we spontaneously decided to go out for a cheap and cheerful meal nearby and ended up at Hercules Morse on Clarendon St. Mr L had been meaning to take me there for months as he had been before and loved the food.
We were greeted by a very friendly waiter and led to a table straight away. We were quite lucky as about 10 minutes after we arrived the place started to fill up quickly and soon the place was buzzing with all tables occupied.
The menu is designed for sharing, tapas style modern British food which all sounded delicious.
To start off we got the Bacorn, which are strips of fried sweet corn, dusted in a smoky bacon salt. Yumm! They looked very impressive and were delicious. Not as bacony as expected but definitely a good start to the night.
Next up were the "Morse Chip Butties". Mr L had been talking about these on the way to the restaurant so we definitely had to get them. Shame on me, I've never had a "Chip Butty" before but I loved them!
The Hercules Morse version are roasted duck fat potatoes in a truffle buttered roll. The chips were nice and crispy and you also got a nice truffle flavour.
The open kitchen kept dishing up little plates of these cauliflower & cheese balls with lemon-rosemary salt and a dijon dipping mayo and after we got our serve we understood why. They were amazing!
When we chatted to the owner of Hercules Morse a little later he told us that this had been the most popular menu item for the last two years running. Very crispy on the outside, deliciously cheesy on the inside and the dipping sauce just rounded the whole thing off nicely. When we faced the decision of dessert or no dessert after all our savoury food had come out we did seriously consider just getting another serve of these!
As a sort of main course we had ordered the crispy-skin snapper with prawn brandade, buttered asparagus and prawn essence.
The snapper was awesome, very crisp and cooked perfectly, the prawn brandade was a little too salty for me but Mr L loved it! As with the courses before we also polished this one off completely and loved it.
As I was saying before, we now faced the decision of dessert or no dessert (or another serve of cauliflower & cheese balls), but of course we pigged out and decided on the Deconstructed Apple Pie. Tarte tatin apples, pecan & cheddar crumble, apple-balsamic reduction and cinnamon icecream.
Pecan & cheddar crumble? In a sweet dessert? We were intrigued and when this beautiful looking dish came out and we asked the owner about the cheddar in the crumble he said: "A pie without cheese is like a hug without a squeeze". I loved that saying and it proved right; the slight saltiness from the cheddar was amazing with the apples and icecream.
Hercules Morse – Kitchen + Bar 283 Clarendon Street South Melbourne VIC 3205 03 9690 9402 www.herculesmorse.com.au Tue - Sun Lunch till Late