It’s no small task to be a hot breakfast spot, one of Melbourne’s best beer gardens, a lovely dinner date place, and a party venue all in one. Somehow Jon Costelloe, Anth Daniel and Pete Walsh have managed to achieve this and more since opening up Dr Morse Bar & Eatery in Abbotsford. There’s no doubt about it – Dr Morse is quite the all rounder, doing a bang up job of catering to a diverse demographic and their dietary (and drinking) needs.
The interior of Dr Morse is spacious yet inviting, with exposed brick walls and big, beautiful front windows to let in plenty of light (and people watch the fine folk of Abbotsford). Even when at its busiest, Dr Morse does not feel stressful, and the staff are friendly and keep the mood light. The crowd is a cheerful mixed bag and, while the venue certainly appeals to those looking for Melbourne’s next best thing, there is no pretension or air of exclusivity, making this Abbotsford bar and restaurant a welcoming place for all.
Step into Dr Morse on the weekend, for a brekkie that will put you back to good health, despite your antics from the night before. Their Bloody Marys are to die for – fresh, icy cold tomato juice in a tall glass with garnishes of crisp celery, tomato, pickled onion and a fried gherkin or jalapeno, depending on how spicy you like it. If you’re looking for a quick fix, Dr Morse’s jaffles are the go (the bacon, bean and cheddar jaffle is a simple winner for a sensitive stomach). For something a little more adventurous, give the house-smoked ocean trout with herb scrambled eggs on rye a try. We can’t go past noshing in the sunny beer garden, but for those en route, make Jnr Morse your go-to for a takeaway caffeine hit.
Lunch at Dr Morse is split into sandwiches, salads and larger meals, which means there’s something to suit every taste and budget. The Southern fried chicken sandwich with pickle slaw and hot sauce aioli is comfort food at its best – a delicious albeit messy affair. For something a little lighter, try the toasted buckwheat salad with fresh and pickled veggies, spiced nuts, seeds and fresh ricotta.
For the finest foodie offerings, come around sun down for the dinner menu at Dr Morse. Our summery meal of choice would be the pan-fried scallops with bacon jam, ajo blanco, almonds and apple fennel slaw. Or, for something a little heartier, go the Wagyu rump cap with smoked marrow, roasted beetroot, watercress and horseradish crème fraiche. The Dr Morse dessert menu is nothing to sneeze at either; if you’re feeling decadent try the chocolate and caramelised banana tart with peanut brittle and sheep milk yoghurt sorbet.
Melbourne summers are made to be spent in Dr Morse’s epic beer garden, out back. There are plenty of tables and benches to rest your beverage while you catch up with friends without the place feeling too overcrowded. Strings of soft lights illuminate the night once the sun goes down, making this an excellent choice for either afternoon drinks or a late night tipple. Street artist Ears is responsible for the intriguing mural on the back left wall.
But what about those tipples? Well there’s a great range of craft beers on tap and quirky bottled beers for starters, which never goes astray. Rotating weekly, the taps feature local experimental brews such as Moondog, along with creations from interstate breweries. Their Blue Elephant Cider is one of the tastiest ciders we’ve had in a while – made with Pink Lady Apples, it’s both sweet and crisp at the same time. For something a little more fancy, work your way through some of Melbourne’s best cocktails – we love the Barber of Seville, filled with your favourite aperitif friends Aperol and Campari, as well as maraschino cherry, and fresh pressed pink grapefruit. The cocktail is shaken and fine strained, served in a tall glass over ice and topped up with soda. So-damn good.
On top of great food and drinks all day long, Dr Morse also knows how to throw a killer Sunday session. Sunday afternoons in summer are dedicated to Daydreams, a free event kicking off from 4pm onwards featuring Melbourne’s best party starters such as Misty Nights, Andee Frost, and Noise In My Head.
When a venue does so much, so well, it’s hard to fault. Welcome to Abbotsford, Dr Morse.
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Image Credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List