Remuera’s Morell Bistro is the perfect destination for a casual drink and snack, a family birthday or a special date.
Situated on the corner of Upland and Benson Roads, the doors of Morell open wide in genuine welcome. Owner operators Daniel and Sarah Morini are all about creating fresh, delicious, high-quality food served with a generous helping of warm hospitality.
Morell Modern Bistro
Morell is a long-held dream for the couple who took over The Maple Room in 2017. Together, they bring an impressive hospitality pedigree to the much-loved local having worked with some of Australasia’s top restaurateurs including Neil Perry, Frank Chek, Mark Wallbank, Simon Gault and Chris Rupe.
The Italian-Maori Influence
The menu at Morell has an Italian influence reflective of Daniel’s Italian-Māori heritage. “My father was Italian, and a chef and my mum is Māori,” says Daniel. “Food is a big part of both cultures so it’s in my blood and my soul.”
A Love Story
Sarah began her hospitality career in Parnell and later worked in Sydney before coming home for a summer. Taking a job at SPQR she met Daniel who was head chef. “I was meant to go back to Sydney but I didn’t take the flight,” she smiles. They married in 2012 and went back to Sydney together later that year. “She dragged me over there,” laughs Daniel.
“I didn’t want to have any regrets not returning to Sydney, and Daniel got to span his wings, working at Nomad, a ‘hatted’ Mediterranean restaurant in Surrey Hills. We came back because we wanted to have a little one,” says Sarah smiling at two-year-old Mataya (pronounced Ma-tay-a).
The Opening Of Morell
When they returned from Sydney, Daniel went back to SPQR and Sarah managed Miss Moonshine’s in Ponsonby, before going on to work at Blue Breeze Inn.
“We left to start Morell, and as soon as we knew we were going to start a restaurant of our own I discovered I was pregnant,” says Sarah. “It was crazy timing!But we just made it all work. It was a blessing to have Mataya amongst the stress of it all, her laugh and smile grounds us everyday.”
Daniel took charge of the menu; Sarah set up front of house and designed the Gatsby style fit-out (including sexy peacock blue velvet banquettes).
Daniel’s mouth-watering menu includes:
Butternut tortellini, spinach, ricotta, pine nuts, burnt sage butter
“We’re a modern bistro with a European influence,” says Sarah. “We love to eat and travel and our food is a reflection of the inspiration we get when we taste something delicious.”
Daniel agrees: “We’re influenced by our lives, and our travels. My Italian-Māori heritage is the ground roots of my cooking and it’s important to us to support Aotearoa produce so the food is seasonal, fresh and local.”
Morell offers a one-course lunch with a glass of wine or beer for $25 from Thursday to Sunday, regular wine tastings and happy hour from 4-6pm Tuesday to Sunday.
“Happy hour is casual – people love to bring their dogs down and hang out. I love that people stop by for a wine and some chips in their trackies,” says Sarah. “We’re owner-operated so everything we do comes from love and we’re always inspired by famiglia – Italian for ‘family’ – and maanakitanga – the Māori tradition of hospitality.