Melbourne’s a fascinating place. It’s full of arts and culture around every corner. Melbourne’s graffiti filled lane ways is world renowned and one of the most celebrated of them all is Hosier Lane in the CBD. It houses some of the most colourful and well executed urban art you will find around and is also where Movida calls home.
Movida is a name that most foodies would know. Including the original Movida, there’s also Movida Next Door and Movida Bar de Tapas. Yuye and I caught up with 2 good friends over dinner at the original Movida one night and enjoyed their Spanish tapas style dishes.
The night was still young but Movida was already almost full. I love that kind of atmosphere as the chattering and dim lights give me a sense of excitement. There were eager diners seated at the tables as well as white collars enjoying a drink at the bar after work.
As there were 4 of us, we decided to try a bit of almost everything on the entree section to share between us.
The first dish that made it to the table was the hand filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet ($4.50). It had a perfect harmony of citrus, saltiness and textures. I’m not used to eating savoury ice creams so it was a little strange at the start but it grew on me. It was though a little too small to share 3 pieces between 4 people.
The second dish was the Spiced Chicken Escabache Tapa on Crisp Crouton ($4.50) which was creamy in the middle and brought out by the crunchy baguette. I did find it wasn’t the most spectacular or memorable dish compared to the others though.
Next up was the Air-dried Tuna Loin with Air Baguette and Radish ($4.00) which was refreshing and had nice textural elements but I didn’t find it all that spectacular.
At this moment I had to pick up a phone call so by the time I came in, the Gaspacho Sorbet in the House Cold Smoked Spanish Mackerel with Pine Nut Gazpacho Sorbet $5.50) had melted. It didn’t help that I had to take photos as well. As a result I didn’t get as much enjoyment out of this dish as I should have. Still, it was a nice nutty flavour that was mellowed out by the sorbet, although I did find it a little salty.
What came next was the squid ink croquette with Cuttlefish ($4.00). I had high hopes for this dish but it didn’t wow me as much as I hoped. The squid ink wasn’t all that flavourful, although the cuttlefish was cooked perfectly.
The next dish was the Deep Fried Salt Cod and Potato Fritta with Pil Pil ($4.00). When we ordered the dish, we had no idea what pil pil was. It turns out to be a sauce made from oil that the fish was cooked in and contains garlic and hot peppers. We didn’t get all that much pil pil to be honest which may have affected the overall saltiness and taste of this dish. I’ve seen photos of this dish ordered by other people and they had a lot more sauce than we did.
Next up was the baby sardine with lemon crumb and sweet and sour pickle ($4). Although small, it was refreshing (a little bit salty) but still enjoyable. The sour pickles cut through the saltiness of the sardines while giving it more flavour.
Anna wanted to order one of the specials on offer which had baby octopus and potato. We were expecting an actual baby octopus like the ones you often find in Korean dishes, but it turned out to be a limb of a much larger one. Still, it was tender, juicy and full of flavour. The potato was soft and well cooked as well.
Probably my favourite dish of the night was the Duck Liver Parfait with Pedro Ximenez Foam and Toasted Brioche ($15). Who can blame me right, because anything foie gras like I love. I felt like there wasn’t enough brioche to go around though as we were all fighting for that little bit of liver parfait. It was perfectly salty and beautifully smooth which went surprising very well with the sweet foam. Pedro Ximenez for those of you who don’t know is a type of white grape primarily grown in Spain. This gave the foam that sweet taste. In saying it’s a foam, I’d rather call it more like marshmallow texture as it held together rather well.
I don’t think I could have survived the night without some sort of proper meat dish so for our last savoury dish, we ordered the Slow Cooked Flinders Island Lamb Neck in a Paprika and Fino (Spanish sherry) Sauce ($18.50). The meat was melt in your mouth and fall off the bone with a tiny touch sort of tender. There was a right amount of sauce which was good and the slightly sweet but not overpowering flavours was in good harmony with the tender meat. It was an enjoyable but slightly small dish.
The first dessert dish we ordered was the Flan – creme caramel with pestinos ($12). The flan was smooth but a little more eggy than we’re used to although still very delicious and rich. It seemed a little hard to finish with just one person.
What I was looking forward to was the churros – Spanish doughnuts with a rich drinking chocolate ($11). Most of the churros I’ve had elsewhere served them with a rich melted pot of chocolate to dip in, but Movida served theirs literally with a drinking type chocolate that’s although rich, is not overall sweet so you can drink it afterwards. If you’ve had Spanish hot chocolates before you’ll know what I mean by rich and thick. I liked this dish so was happy to be given the task of polishing it off.
I ended the night with a latte which was just average but then Movida isn’t know for their coffees.
I thought Movida’s dishes were reasonably priced although some serves were quite small. I can understand how some people think the dishes are a tad on the salty side but most dishes had a good combination of traditional and modern Spanish flavours that’s texturally entertaining as well. I was expecting a little more wow factor though considering it’s one of the most raved about restaurants in Melbourne so in that sense I was a little disappointed. If you haven’t been, definitely do give it a go for the whole dining experience. You’ll love the graffiti laneway it’s set in as well I’m sure.
Movida Bar de Tapas
Phone: (03) 9663 3038
1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne