Morris Jones Bar & Restaurant is a new addition to the ever-changing, quirky Chapel Street Windsor nightclub strip. Built in 1887, this former eponymously named furniture warehouse was in recent years, occupied by a dreary clothing factory outlet so I welcome the clever conversion that has created this hip new venue.
Morris Jones' cavernous interior with its timber floors, exposed brickwork and roof beams is divided into separate people-friendly zones for dining, drinking and private functions. A large bar dominates the space and splits it in two so that on one side patrons can mingle and drink from the French dominated wine and cocktail list, or dine on the other side at banquettes upholstered in large black and white gingham that matches the shirts of the waiting staff.
During my visit on an cool December night, the outdoor tiled courtyard with its lush, space-saving vertical garden was buzzing with office workers and bar crawlers. Overlooking the courtyard is one of two mezzanine areas where I dined with friends, that provides a good vantage point of the bar action below.
For dinner I chose the house specialty, snapper pie, cooked with leeks, mushrooms and spinach presented in a small cast iron cocotte. This dish proved a hit with a number of my dinner companions for its comforting taste and simple presentation. The grilled mushroom lasagne with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and gruyère cheese was also a popular tasty choice. The menu leans towards French inspired dishes like lamb cassoulet or twice cooked duck but classic wood- fired barbecue steaks with French fries and salad also feature. We were told by our attentive and friendly waitress that the chef grows many of the vegetables himself including the heirloom beets that were found in the spring salad.
Photos courtesy of Morris Jones Bar and Restaurant
For dessert you'll find French stalwarts like paper thin crêpes with fruit or Nutella fillings and luscious tarts. Dining with weight-conscious friends, we only tried the mandarin curd crêpe with baked meringue and crème anglaise but I expect that the chocolate and hazelnut tart or French apple would be equally delicious.
With its warm timber finishes, pendulous light fittings and extensive bar counter, Morris Jones exudes a French bistro atmosphere and was apparently designed to reflect the mood of classic French film, Breathless, starring John Paul Belmondo, after whom one of the many French house cocktails is named.
If you're looking for an intimate dining experience at Morris Jones, be warned that at night the restaurant morphs into a vibrant, busy nightspot (complete with strict crowd controllers at the door) playing eclectic though unobtrusive music so that you can still enjoy a meal without shouting above the sound. And for all those energetic revellers who kick on through the early hours of the morning or time poor office workers, Morris Jones is open for breakfast and for all day dining.