MOVIDA, 1 HOSIER LANE, MELBOURNE
MoVida is located in one of Melbourne’s most photographed laneways, made popular because of its iconic street art – Hosier Lane.
As stated on their website; “tapas had already earned a bad name after a series of poorly executed tapas bars in Melbourne during the 1990s“. Owner and executive chef Frank Camorra was even told by a top food consultant that he was mad to open a Spanish restaurant as no one likes the food – lucky for us all he didn’t listen! Camorra was born in Barcelona and spent his first five years in Córdoba before his family migrated to Australia. He went back to his homeland in 2000 to work for a few years in spanish kitchens before returning to Melbourne and opening MoVida in 2003.
The menu is broken down into “tapa” which are very small, designed to order one per person and “raciones” – larger plates for sharing. We started off with four different tapas, Oyster, Truffa and Pork Croquette, which were all specials, and Cerdo from the regular menu. It was enjoyable to hear our waiter, a fellow countryman from Oamaru, passionately describe the specials – his knowledge of the dishes, right down to where produce was sourced and how the dishes were cooked, was impeccable.
First up, a Woody Island oyster, freshly shucked, dressed with a seaweed and cucumber broth. Delicious and fresh – but quite unusually served in a little dish instead of the shell. We did laugh when looking back over the photos later on, as this photo does not look too appetising – but it did taste great!
The Pork Croquettes were made with pig trotters and served with guindilla, which is a sweet spicy pepper. Wow! moist, chunky pork – they were beautiful!
Keeping with the pork theme, we then had Cerdo – which was a crisp pig’s tail pincho served with green mojo. The crispy pork was similar to pork belly – a far cry from the picture in our head of what a pig’s tail would look like on the plate! Green mojo is a sauce, similar to salsa verde – great with the richness of the pork.
Our last tapa “Truffa” was Manchego custard, leek puree, shaved WA black truffle on a potato crisp. Big generous slices of truffle, creamy rich custard and a potato crisp for texture – so good!
Our first of the raciones was Pulpo – chargrilled octopus with radish, cucumber and ajo blanco (chilled almond soup). I didn’t use to eat octopus, I think because of the texture. But the texture of this octopus was soft and delicate, with a wonderful smoky flavour.
The Cecina was probably my favourite dish of the night. Air-dried wagyu with poached organic egg and truffle foam. When the dish arrived at the table, the slices of wagyu were flat with a whole poached egg sitting on the top. The waiter broke the egg and mixed it together with a fork, and then folded the beef slices up to contain the runny egg. I have since read that this dish was awarded “Dish of the Year” at The Age Good Food Guide awards back in 2007 and has featured on the menu ever since. The wagyu was melt in the mouth perfection, an absolutely beautiful dish.
The lamb dish was one of the specials – Flinders Island chargrilled lamb loin with Moorish spices. Another well executed dish; tender, perfectly cooked, tasty meat.
Our last dish before moving to cheese was Carrillera de Buey – slowly braised beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez on cauliflower puree. The Pedro Ximenez made this dish super rich, the beef was very tender and flavoursome.
Both of the cheeses we tried were made from sheep’s milk. A French blue – “Bleu de Pyrénées,” one of the newest styles of cheese from the Basque region which runs between the borders of France and Spain, and a Spanish white mould cheese “Petit Odre”. Both lovely cheeses, but my favourite was the Petit Odre.
Graham and Ros both ordered the creme caramel – and said it was one of the best they had both tasted. It was served with a kind of ginger biscuit, which Graham wasn’t too keen on as it was quite dry, but I did like the fact that it gave the dish a bit of texture and crunch.
The “menu envy” moment of the night was Gavin’s rice pudding with mandarin. The rice pudding was slightly warmed and the tangy mandarin with the creamy, rich rice tasted amazing!
And my unusual choice of fried custard and apple. I’m not going to lie – I wished I had ordered the rice pudding! Almost doughnut-like on the outside, with slightly firm custard in the middle.
I can understand why MoVida has been so consistently popular in Melbourne for so many years. Absolutely top class food and service.