I’ve been dying to try Movida, supposedly Melbourne’s best Spanish restaurant, for quite a while now. It wins 10 billion awards, people rave on about it and there is always a queue outside the door during the busy lunch/dinner periods. We had to wait an entire month for a free table on a Saturday night so when the time came for us to try some yummy tapas (yesterday evening), Adam and I were excited.
Movida is located in an alley between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane. There is a cobblestone path right along the alleyway so be careful if you are wearing $1,500 Manolos or you will risk getting your heels stuck!
Oh by the way, the photo is meant to look like that. I was “experimenting” with Photoshop.
Normally I hate graffiti but Hosier Lane is home to some pretty impressive graffiti art. There was a really cool one of a biker chick but unfortunately it didn’t turn out good on camera.
Okay, onwards to the Movida experience!
(PS: I apologise in advance for the shoddy photo qualities. Due to the dim lighting, I was unable to take good photos. And my camera doesn’t have manual settings so I couldn’t fiddle around with shutter speeds/aperture or any of the photography mumbo-jumbo thingys).
Okay, so we didn’t order this but they served us complimentary bread like most good restaurants SHOULD. It was a really nice ciabatta-like bread with speckles of sea salt and cheese on the crusts. Olive oil was provided in a little well and was infused with tomatoes. Yum!
Let’s start with the tapas: Much to my disappointment, the kitchen had run out of scallops so they weren’t able to enlighten me with their vieira, jamon y espuma (half-shell scallop oven-baked with jamon and potato foam). I had heard good things about this dish and being an avid seafood fan, I was keen to try it. Damn damn damn.
I substituted my scallop for a freshly shucked oyster that was accompanied with jamon vinaigrette . The aioli was very nice and went well with the oyster.
Croqueta (fried silky croquette flavoured with mushrooms). I love mushrooms so this little bugger worked a treat for me. Very creamy and tasty.
Costilla con sobrasada (roasted lamb cutlet encased in a Catalan pork and paprika pate). I reckon this was one of the nicest lamb cutlets I’ve ever had. The lamb was moist and juicy, and the pate had some mint undertones in it which complemented with the cutlet’s peri-peri-like marinate.
Pimiento de piquillo (Piquillo pepper filled with crab and potato). Adam was keen to try this one but I told him that many people found this item to taste odd. Nevertheless, we ordered it and we were both pleasantly surprised. Very very nice, especially when dipped in the potato cream. Mmmm!
Pollo escabache al Miguel (Spiced chicken escabache tapa on crisp crouton). This was okay, nothing too spectacular. If anything, a bit too spicy for me though.Now for the racion:I thought about ordering the abugo jamon but at $20 for 20 grams, I decided against it. I could get the same jamon at Casa Iberica (Spanish food store on Johnston Street) for half the price!
Chocos con garbanzons (Pan-seared marinated cuttlefish with chickpeas, mint and tomato salad). This was an alright dish. Nothing to harp on about.
Conejo (confit farmed rabbit twice cooked with piquillo peppers). It was the first time I’ve actually tasted rabbit and surprise surprise, it tasted just like chicken. Derrrrr . But anyway, this dish was yum – I hope that rabbit served at other restaurants taste as nice as this!
Cecina (Air-cured thinly sliced wagyu beef, topped with truffle foam and a poached egg). Okay, here is where I will begin my rant. From this point onwards, it will be bitchbitchbitch from my mouth. Now, there was nothing wrong with the dish. It was yummy, even though it may have been very very salty. But it was not OMGOMGWOW! Now that would have been fine if not for the fact that this dish won the “BEST DISH OF THE YEAR AWARD” in last year’s Age Good Food Guide. That I was not too pleased about.
Again, Mr Camorra tried to channel Robin Wickens but I think that he got it right this time. The weird combinations of salty anchovy successfully married with the sweet and slightly tangy salsa. I don’t think Adam liked this dish though because he was expecting it to be hot but got a nasty surprise when he took a bite and the coldness made his teeth go numb. Heh.
We were waiting quite a while for Adam’s San Jacobo de Cordonice (Hunter Valley quail, boned and filled with mahon cheese and crumbed). I don’t know how long we waited but given that our other dishes arrived pretty quickly, the wait for the quail seemed to last forever in comparison even if it may have only been about 10 minutes. The table next to us consisted of a trendy young couple who seemed to be on a blind date or something. Anyway, I noticed that the waiter had given them a plate with a quail on it right after I got my anchovy crouton. What was extraordinary was that the couple had already ordered a couple of quails earlier on so it did seem kind of weird for their quails not to have come at once.I had a sneaking suspicion that the quail that was delivered to their table was ours but I didn’t want to accuse anyone just in case it HAD been theirs so I didn’t say anything. And besides, the waiter kept telling us that our quail was coming. FINALLY, it had arrived. It was yummy but at this point, I had gotten a bit cranky about that a measly quail that I didn’t take a photo and wanted to get out of there post haste. For those who are crying and wanting to know what the quail looked like, just scroll back up to the photo of the mushroom croquette and visually enlarge it by 40% and you will have it.
The bill came to just under $100 which was rather reasonable given that we were pretty satisfied (no running to Maccas!) and that this was a hatted restaurant. It probably would’ve been more expensive for other people because of the wines but because me and Adam aren’t big drinkers, we didn’t have a panic attack when we saw the bill. Verdict: The meal was a bit of a hit and miss. There were some dishes that were done really well, some of them which were just blehhh. Granted, none of them were horrible … but I don’t know, I guess I expected more because of all the hype. I think that Movida is a good place for a date (from overhearing the blind-date-couple’s conversation, it seemed like they really hitted off – they barely touched their food!) or simply for having a few drinks (and tapas to go with the drinks too). It would also be a good place for a birthday but if you’re Ms Popular and happen to have 10 billion friends, don’t go to Movida because they only accept bookings of maximum 8 people (or was it 6?). The food was innovative, yes, and in some cases it worked in Movida’s favour but when it came to the taste-test, I think that it falls short on some occasions. Heck, even the no-name tapas bars that line Johnston Street serve better and cheaper food! In short, good but perhaps a tad overrated.