Six years on Chapel Street is a bit like dog years, so it's no surprise that Morris Jones' owner Hayden Burbank decided his restaurant was due for a refresh. The massive ex-furniture warehouse has been reborn as a foliage-strung oasis with a light-hearted menu that gives Japanese cuisine a Californian spin then reels it back to Melbourne.
A sushi counter offers theatre plus a signpost to the food focus: blowtorched Cali rolls, soft-shell crab cones and a signature avocado and salmon belly roll with wasabi cloud all come from the raw bar.
Want it hot? Maybe you're after the scallop dumplings with oxtail sauce or the braised short-rib with kelp caramel salsa.
You need a vegan menu in Melbourne in 2018 but it won't just be meat-phobes going for the salt and vinegar saltbush chips, or the roast pumpkin curry with toasted buckwheat.
Drinks are fresh and spritzy; the Japanese vibes roll on with Kirin and Suntory beer on tap and a serious sake focus, but there's a keen interest in mezcal and tequila, too.
Designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley recently picked up a gold medal at the New York Design Awards for Sydney's Viking-themed Mjolner. This project is impressively different, with sleek black-and-bone tiles and an easy flow from indoor to outdoor.
As before, the large venue accommodates both drinkers and diners in various zones but there's a greater skew to eating now; extra seating takes diner numbers to 120.
Come 10pm, expect more of a party vibe in the bar area with the mezzanine lounge offering a swish retreat.
Open Tue-Thu 4pm-late, Fri-Sun noon-1am.
163 Chapel Street, Windsor, 03 9533 2055, morrisjones.com.au