Located in the bustling quarters of Britomart, downtown Auckland, Mr Morris stands elegant yet unpretentious. It was opened by Michael Meredith in late 2020 – about three years after the closure of his beloved degustation diner Meredith’s – marking a welcome return to the industry for one of New Zealand’s most notable chefs.
Through the restaurant’s entrance, a nondescript glass door on the side of one of Britomart’s hulking heritage buildings, the dining room is a textural mix of pale tones. Designed by Cheshire Architects, the space’s large concrete pillars and exposed timber walls loosen any formality.
The food reflects the wealth of cultures found in Aotearoa and the Pacific. This comes through clearly in the snack menu – a must to begin any meal at Mr Morris. There’s steamed pāua with ginger and seaweed relish, and crisp chicken skin topped with velvety parfait and cherry. Cheddar pao with honey and goat’s curd is an elevated take on Brazilian cheese bread.
Larger entrees and mains are elevated yet approachable – such as masala-spiced quail with mandarin and curry leaf, finished with an apple glaze. There is an emphasis on open-fire cooking, which lends a depth of flavour to many dishes.