I've been dreaming about Movida for months. So when I finally had the opportunity to jet down to Melbourne for two days, I was going to Movida - rain, hail or shine.
I was down for the Australian Open and matches till midnight made it impossible to go for dinner, so we went for lunch. Lucky we did because we soon found out that the restaurant is booked out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights for the next two months. Thank goodness for lunch.
Movida on Hosier Lane
Down we went to Hosier Lane, a gorgeously graffittied laneway, and after a 30 minute wait we were seated. I was like a kid in a candy store and tapas is my candy.
The service has been outstanding from the beginning, from taking down our names and seating us at our table. If only Movida service was everywhere. After a quick glance at the drinks menu, the waiter comes to take our order, I'm in a spanish restaurant so apart from the $78 bottle of Sangiovese there is only one option to me.
A glass or a jug?
Our Sangria Jug
As we read through the menu and listen to the specials I begin to see that this Saturday lunch is going to be a full blown tapas degustation. I can't just pick a few dishes I want them all!
Sardines and Salsa
The Sardines are a special on the day and are served warm with a pickled salsa of capsicum, tomatoes and onions since. I love anything pickled particularly with fish, so this is perfect to me especially as the sardines are warm.
Pork stuffed calamari with squid ink dressing ($7ea)
This next was one of those 'too good to refuse' sounding meals. Calamari, Tick. Stuffed with pork, Double tick. With squid ink dressing, bring that to the table now! It was definitely a highlight and the kind of dish you come to expect from Frank Camorra. The calamari was cooked perfectly and not the least bit rubbery and the squid ink wasn't overpowering.
Grilled Chicken with Pickled Garlic and Green Chillies and Croqueta ($4ea)
We've just glanced over to the couple next to us and got a glimpse of the crispy looking fried Fried silky Croquettes filled with Jamon and Egg. We don't even blink and order two almost immediately. They also bring another special we have ordered, the grilled chicken with pickled garlic and green chilli's. I wouldn't normally order a grilled chicken as far as I'm concerned I can grill boring old chicken in my sleep. But this is far from boring, the chicken is smoky and the green chillies have just enough bite.
Roast Lamb Cutlets encased in a Catalan Pork & Paprika Pate ($7.50 ea)
After the winning pork pate I ate at Porteno, I have searched for more every time I'm out. Obviously a completely different dish, we order the cutlets encased in pate, the texture is smooth and the paprika adds the spike that such a meaty tasting dish needs, the lamb is still rare in the middle and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Seared Canadian Scallops with Russian potato salad ($18.50)
Yum. I wish I had a better way to describe this but seriously, yum! I love scallops cooked well and these are, they're still moist and who doesn't love a Russian potato salad? You'd have to be crazy to pass this dish up.
Pan seared Quail breasts with red grapes and fried bread ($16.50)
I love a fruity combo and this one doesn't disappoint. The grapes taste like they've just been picked out of the Summer sun, they're warm and crunchy. I'm always a bit scared about ordering something with fried bread, it sounds simple but it can be done so badly. These like fried croutons aren't stale or oily or over crunchy - I can't fault them. Actually if you were to put them in a bag I would eat them over potato chips anyday.
Pork Belly with Beans and Fennel
Another special and sadly our last dish was the pork belly, I didn't want it to end. Another highlight to me, it's fatty and crispy and not sickeningly oily. The fennel leaves are a nice touch but I would have liked to have seen some shaved fennel pieces.
The dessert selection is small and I always rather more savoury food rather than dessert but the house made ice-cream was a perfect finisher especially on a scorching hot day.
Movida means scene, it's definitely my kinda scene. would I go back? I'm booking a flight to Melbourne as we speak.