The River Moruya

Jackie McMillan
29th Dec 2023

The menu at , Moryua didn’t seem to have changed much in the two years since my last visit. “There’d be a riot,” our waitress said upon enquiry, going on to explain that the chef tried to take the pork belly off the menu earlier in the year, “but they didn’t like it.” So the crab beignets that formerly came with the scallops this time accompanied three slices of cured yellowfin tuna on a yellow-tinged fennel escabeche ($26) that reminded me of an achar I’d eaten earlier in the week. It went well with a racy 2023 Onanon Chardonnay ($75) that had just enough butter richness and restrained oak to balance its acidity.  

The crab-filled zucchini flower that formerly adorned the swordfish on my last visit had been moved to the scallops ($26) with the crustacean switched out for smoked trout. The lightly cooked roe-off trio of bivalves sat on vividly green pee purée and parsley oil. This time the thin slab of grilled swordfish ($49) sat on crushed potatoes with more saffron fennel (this time kept whole rather than chopped) and a murky, muted bouillabaisse. With all the colours of Xmas, the duck breast ($51) was the best thing I ate, but you certainly paid dearly for it. The festive plating included grilled nectarines, beetroot puree, hazelnuts, red cabbage, and golden fondant potatoes with confit duck meat scattered between them. This short and over-priced menu feels like the natural response of a creative chef to being hamstrung by an audience who just want to eat the same thing.