Welcome to Melbourne Foodie. The blogspace of a young foodie with a passion for cooking, fine dining and quality food and produce.
Melbourne Foodie, along with the other sources I write for is my way of casually expressing and recording some of the experiences I have had for others to enjoy. I always welcome any feedback,
comments or restaurant suggestions you may have and would love to hear from you soon.
MUST VISIT SOON: Livingroom, Hare & Grace
MOST RECENT FEASTINGS: Pei Modern, Sarti, PM24, Vue de Monde
BLOG OF THE MOMENT: I Eat Therefore I Am
After initially making plans on having dinner at nearby Ezard, I received a phone call from MoVida in the afternoon offering me a reserved table in their bar area. This was an offer to good to refuse and I immediately said yes, excited to finally be eating here. Upon arrival you notice that MoVida is divided into two halves: a more formal restaurant area; and a casual bar area, with seating around the main bar station as well as tall, narrow tables behind this area, which do not look overly comfortable. I am seated at the bar and consequently have a comfortable seat with a good view to the kitchen and bar. This seems to be a great spot to eat and everything feels very right, and comfortable here, which is not always the case in such establishments. A very good start.
After briefly pondering the menu, which is divided into two parts: tapa (small dishes) and racion (larger dishes – equivalent to a generous entrée size) I decide that I will leave it to my waiter to order for me. As I am fairly hungry he suggests two tapa and two racion, which along with dessert make for a fairly substantial, great value dinner. The menu is quite diverse and has a plethora of dishes to suit everyone’s taste and budget. Better still it is much more affordable than many high-class restaurants and it is possible to eat an excellent quality, fulfilling meal for about $40-$60 per person (not inclusive of drinks), even less for those who are not big eaters.
Here is a summary of all of the excellent courses I enjoyed on the night:
“Ortiz” $4.50 – A Cantabrian artisan anchovy sitting atop a crunchy sour dough crouton finished with a refreshing quenelle of smoked tomato sorbet, green capers and a light drizzle of olive oil. This was an amazing way to start and the combination of ingredients worked together so well. The crunchiness of the crouton along with the saltiness of the anchovy and the sweetness and earthiness of the sorbet. It all just came together perfectly and worked well in getting the palette ready for the nights’ offerings.
“Caballa Ahumado” $18 – The dish of the night and one of the best things I have eaten this year. What you receive is a generous plate of thinly sliced, smoked mackerel (carpaccio style). This is topped with pine nuts and micro herbs and is finished with a creamy dressing and a quenelle of gazpacho sorbet. The fish is so soft and has a wonderful smoky flavour. The dressing is sweet and creamy and the sorbet just adds a whole other element to the dish, as do the herbs and pine nuts. This really is an amazing dish and I highly recommend everyone trying it.
“Costilla” $5.80 – An excellent lamb cutlet, slow cooked and finished in a sweet paprika crusting. This is cooked through, a little more than my usual liking, but is so tender that it almost falls off the bone and tastes amazing. The cutlet is served with a nob of green coloured paste, which adds an extra dimension of colour and flavour to the dish.
“Carillera de buey” $16 - Another exceptional, rich and generous dish. What you get is a wonderful piece of beef cheek, slow braised in a pedro ximenez sherry reduction and served on a celeriac mache with the intense sherry jus. This was so good. The meat was unbelievably tender and gelatinous, the jus sweet and sticky and the mache was a perfect accompaniment to the dish. Another “WOW” dish and great value. The waiter certainly did an excellent job ordering for me.
Dessert – “Ganache caliente con turron” $12.50 – An excellent way to finish the evening. What you get here is a nice sized rich, hot, chocolate pudding filled with a chocolate ganache centre finished with a drizzling of custard anglaise, sliced nougat pieces and a spoonful of house made vanilla bean ice-cream. An excellent dessert, and a great, richer way to end the meal. Many lighter dessert options are also available for those who are inclined that way.
To drink: Marquez Tempranillo ($16/ glass) – A lovely medium bodied Spanish red that goes well with the food and is easy to drink.
With dessert: Piedra Luenga ‘Organic’ Pedro Ximenez ($9/ glass) – An organic sherry that is not your typical style. Very sweet, light and mallow – goes well with the rich chocolate dessert.
Overall the dishes which I received were all of an exceptionally good standard, the ambience of the restaurant was nice, though perhaps a little fast paced and service was friendly and efficient, albeit unusual, being served by waiters directly from the bar. The value was also excellent: all up my meal was under $100 + a generous tip ($41 of this being for liquor).
To the young lady and gentleman sitting next to me at the bar, if you are reading this please feel free to post your comments on MoVida and let my readers and I know of your favourite dishes.
MoVida was awarded One Chefs Hat and received a score of 15.5 out of 20 in the 2008 Age Good Food Guide. If they continue to raise the bar and keep up the excellent standards I am confident that a second hat is not too far away.
My rating for MoVida is: 16.5/20
Excellent Food (8.5/10), Good atmosphere, informal comfortable feel (4/5), Very Good Service (4/5) – The waitstaff deserve bonus points for doing such a great job in choosing such a perfect and diverse spread of dishes for me. Excellent restaurant – Very highly recommended!