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425 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Tel : +61 0405 902 896
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
Price Range: $$$
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In the heart of Sydney’s upbeat Surry Hills is Morena. Owner and chef Alejandro Saravia, who has an impressive reputation with stints at the Fat Duck, Les Ambassadeurs, Salon Blanc and Sails at Lavender Bay, will showcase a fine-dining menu that draws on a variety of flavours from Latin America and Peru. The restaurant also has a courtyard and cocktail bar, which, they say, serves the best Latin American cocktails in Sydney.

To read more about Morena go to the de Groots blog here.

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On Bourke Street, Surry Hills

My only experience with Pisco was when my Grandfather had just returned from a trip to South America, bringing back a malicious looking bottle of it. He whisked the egg whites, squeezed the lemon juice, prepped his glass and added the sugar before shaking the cocktail maker with a cheeky grin on his face. With pride, he filled my glass to the brim, complete with a dash of bitters. Eagerly, I took a gulp of my swish looking drinking. He watched as the liquid ran down my throat and my eyes widened in horror- there had to be something wrong. In shattered response, he gingerly took the glass to his lips. He burst out laughing. Instead of sugar, he had added mountains of salt to his beloved Pisco. So let me assure you, my first Pisco certainly was sour.

So it was with these memories that I sat down for an evening at Morena Restaurant – where I was not only about to re-discover Pisco but also experience my first taste of Peruvian food. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, an open kitchen and formal dining settings, the space at Morena is modern yet there are various design elements, such as the exposed wooden floorboards and disordered champagne glass display, that create a more “down to earth” vibe. A pisco cocktail arrived promptly at the table and in anxious trepidation, I took a sip. The result was glorious. Not the soap-in-the-mouth experience I was expecting. I finished mine, and my partners and then longingly looked at the waiter for more. He knew I had caught the bug. I was addicted. I had officially discovered Pisco.

Always a stickler for service, the wait staff truly were amazing. It doesn’t matter how good the food is at a restaurant, if the service is comme ci, comme ça, then it still won’t be a good night. Each staff member was equally bubbly, engaging, knowledgeable and warm. It was like they were all old friends. However the food refused to play second fiddle. Under Chef and owner Alejandro Saravia, the menu is described as Latin American, with a strong Peruvian influence. An entree of grilled Queensland king prawns arrived in all its plump and succulent glory with a roasted almond puree that tasted almost chocolatey. A small dollop of squid ink caviar created a textural shift to the dish and the almost-fruity flavour worked well with the rich puree. Two wisps of dehydrated lettuce sat on top, giving the dish height and elegance. The 48-hour braised alpaca brisket was served with a dehydrated quinoa salad which was bursting with fresh herbs however it was the tres leches dessert which won my heart. This traditional Latin American sponge cake was soaked in three kinds of milk which meant it was moist and yet still light however it was the cinnamon in the cake that reigned supreme. Served with a side of roasted pineapple ice cream and an incaberry compote, Morena, I will be back for more. More service, Pisco and cake.

Anna Lisle
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- Readers' Reviews
de Groots Best Restaurants of Australia

Morena - User Reviews


Want to go on a journey? Want to learn something? Taste something new, and fresh? Want to witness the incubation of unique ideas on a cuisine steeped in history and tradition? Well this new establishment in the center of Surry Hills' fashionable dining district dishes it up in spades. Whilst only open for a couple of months now, its potential is really beginning to shine through. The menu weaves through the best of Peruvian tastes and smells, flavours and textures, all served up by a team that is really hitting its strides now. Subtle citrus and floral themes in the starter set give way to bold, meaty courses as you work down the menu. Each dish is a well structured rendition, balanced by an equally well structured wine list. Then there are the Pisco Sours, which are something else entirely. Take a friend or five, and settle in for a masterclass in delicious food, ambience, and how to serve up the essence of Peru in a relaxed, modern, gastronomic temple called  21/11/2011

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Service excellent, food tasty but not too expensive for the size of the plate. This is Latin American food with Peruvian influence. Pisco Sour is amazing!!! I'll give 100% to this  12/11/2011

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I had a fantastic time last night at Morena, I arrived to meet my friends and I was surprised by how friendly everybody was, considering how late I got there. Everybody was having a great time, the food and the drinks were fantastic and the ambiance superb, I am definitely going back to this booming restaurant!!!!review  06/11/2011

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Beautiful, thoughtful food in a smart room, great service and interesting wine  28/10/2011

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daniella lagos:

Fantastic restaurant, incredible friendly staff. Outstanding South American flavours found in the heart of Surry Hills. I highly recommend the Alpaca dishes and the Pisco coktails! They are to-die-for!!!!review  15/10/2011

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Robert Pallister:

My wife and I ate there for their 6 course degustation menu, for Crave. The food was fantastic and the wines matched the food. We enjoyed the alpaca, one of the few places you can eat it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves good food and wants to taste the food of Peru. Let’s hope Morena will be around for a long  15/10/2011

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Great food and service, a gem in Surry  11/10/2011

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