We stumbled upon Morpha Cafe after a visit to Queen Victoria Market. There are a number of eateries tucked away in the ground floor of Fulton Lane, which is an apartment complex rather than an actual street. It seemed quite a popular area in general, with buzzing business at most of the places.
Morpha was similarly popular on a weekend morning, with patrons filling the indoor tables. We indicated to staff that we didn’t mind sitting outside, and were shown to an available table. It was quite a windy area, due to the tunnel effect from surrounding high rise buildings. There was dappled shade from trees in the garden area and tower blocks, at least until the sun moved.
Glasses, water, cutlery, and a couple of serviettes were brought out to the table. We noticed a lip print on the supposedly as yet unused glass though. And the table had remnants of leftover food on it – what looked like furikake and sauce smear.
To attempt to keep it COVID safe though, there was a stand with a QR code that patrons were meant to scan to access the menu and order online. The menu was relatively easy to scroll through, but then wanted your details to place the order, which we don’t like – who wants to give out their personal and credit card details to all and sundry? We went to the counter to find out if we could place the order in person instead, and were told that we could, so we did.
The menu consists of fusion dishes, with asian flavour twists on more typically western brunch dishes. For instance, their Avocado toast offering includes edamame hummus and furikake. They also had Croissant and scrambled egg with char siu and char siu mayo. We settled on other options though.
We then waited a long time. After almost an hour passed, and we saw other tables that had arrived after us receiving their food, we went back to check. We were told that the order was there, but hadn’t been made yet, which seemed odd. Staff subsequently came back and told us that the order hadn’t been put through after all. They were at least good enough to get the kitchen to expedite making our food and drinks, after the significant delay.
The flat white had good flavour, and was smooth. It could have been hotter though.
The matcha, though quite green, had only a mild flavour. It was also warmish rather than hot. It wasn’t bitter though.
The Korean hot chicken sandwich was listed as having crispy fried chicken, yangyeom sauce, spicy mayo, lettuce, coriander, quick pickles, brioche, and fries. The burger was quite a compact, neat stack, with a sheen on the top of the brioche bun, and the green lettuce protruding out the sides like a flared skirt. The shoestring fries were served separately in a small bowl. The brioche buns were soft and fluffy. The chicken had a crunchy coating, and was juicy on the inside. The sauce was quite lightly flavoured, rather than the spectral flavour punch yangnyeom sauce usually carries (although perhaps it’s not the same, as they spell it “yangyeom”..).
The Okonomiyaki benedict was listed as crispy white cabbage and corn pancakes, poached eggs, dashi hollandaise, tonkatsu sauce, bonito, and tobiko. We also took up the option of adding teriyaki yellowfin tuna for $5. When brought to the table, the dish wasn’t what we expected. Instead of flat pancakes, as okonomiyaki typically is, they were in fritter form, crunchy on the outside, and with shredded cabbage inside, so definitely a rendition of okonomiyaki. The tonkatsu sauce added distinct sweet and sour notes. There was a hint of heat from the furikake. The poached eggs had runny yolks, and melded with the hollandaise. Instead of a slab of tuna, there were chunks of the fish beneath the poached eggs. This was definitely the more flavourful and texturally interesting dish of the two.
Overall, the food at Morpha had potential, but there were too many disappointing points for us to be rushing back any time soon.
Price point: The dishes we had: $24 for the chicken burger, $25 for the okonomiyaki benedict with tuna.
Value: Not good. Expensive for what we had.
Address: Fulton Lane, Shop 4/155 Franklin Street, Melbourne CBD
Phone: 03 9326 3551
Website: Morpha Cafe