MoVida Bar de Tapas y VinoMoVida is by far the best Spanish tapas menu I have unashamedly devoured and enjoyed even to the last crumb on my plate.
Getting a booking in this place is a hard feat, especially leading up to Christmas; however, MoVida recently opened MoVida Next Door - the smart alternative for passers-by in the mood for low-key, casual Spanish dining.
Luckily I decided to pop my head into MoVida in the rare chance that someone cancelled their booking on a Saturday night, and of course luck was on my side. My dining partner and I sat at the bar and had one of the best views in the house.
In clear view was the open kitchen with busy chefs carefully plating delectable gourmet delights, in addition to the two barmen impressively mimicking Tom Cruise in Cocktail and they whisked up their creative concoctions. One of these barmen was our waiter - über cool in style, and presentation, and impressively an American that pronounced all dishes with a perfect Spanish accent as well as memorizing all specials with the utmost confidence.
Before delving into my favourite dishes, the atmosphere deserves a mention. Although MoVida's tables aren't clothed in starch white tablecloths not arrogant waiters that stand over your shoulder, once you dine in this stylish abode, you appreciate its five-star service without the arrogance. Instead, be constantly impressed by the knowledgeable staff who relish in the fact that they work in a renowned restaurant that is one hundred percent deserving of its Two Hats status.
So back to the decor: wooden tables fill the back half of the restaurant, and diners are privately seated behind frosted glass panels. Maximum bookings are for six people so choose your dining partners carefully. If it's just the two of you, I recommend sitting at the bar in clear view of everything.
Now to the food: Upon hearing that Sangria is served, I ordered a jug ($35) and enjoyed this fruity red wine together with the sample of two breads that were freshly sliced by our American. One was a parmesan variety and another, a classic sourdough. This is a clever addition to contain the hunger while deciding what to order.
To make a long story short, I wish my night at MoVida didn't end, simply because the food was out of this world, full of the natural flavours of a dish's main ingredient, complimented with creative additions that made every dish work 100%. Here are the dishes that I devoured with satisfaction:
Queso Manchego ($3.50) - a slice of imported aged Spanish Manchego sheep's milk cheese served with a thin layer of quince paste on top - a small wonderful starter of rich cheese that literally melts in the mouth;
Setas Asado con Jerez ($10.50) - Oven roasted Portabello mushrooms finished with sherry vinegar - a deep mushroom flavour that will be enjoyed by vegetarians and for meat lovers, a mushroom that is so intense in flavour you feel as though you're having BBQ beef;
Cecina ($17) - Air cured Wagyu beef thinly sliced with truffle foam and poached egg. This is definitely worth every dollar if not more and leaves you feeling like Sally in Harry Met Sally. Our American explained that we had to break the egg, mix it in with the foam and fold in the meat - words unfortunately don't do justice to this flavoursome dish that coats the mouth with sublime flavours and leaves the brain yearning for more;
Langostinos ($22.50) - Pan fried scampi with blue swimmer crab, leek and carrot - Although half a scampi each seems a little too small by the time you dissect the fish meat from the shell, flavours are satisfying and well complimented by the leek and carrot sauce that is sweet and piquant;
Boquerones ($17.50) - Marinated white anchovies with heirloom tomato salad - Five fresh anchovies rest on a bed of sweet red and yellow cherry tomatoes. Flavours of sweet and salty are well complimented; the only problem is fighting over the fifth anchovy;
Dessert Special ($12.50) - Trying so hard to note the name of this dessert but our American was just too quick for me and my relaxed brain. A large plump serve of dark cherries were drizzled with aniseed-flavoured icing sugar and served with a scoop of homemade ice cream. Not a lover of plain licorice, I decide to give this dessert a go after being fazed by its Spanish interpretation and the fact that I could have cherries for dessert! And if that wasn't enough, I enjoyed the melt-in-the-mouth, creamy ice cream that is a mix between gelato and ice cream but better as I watched the dessert chef make another scoop in the kitchen.
MoVida is worth every dollar spent. Great attentive waiter, out-of-this-world food that will leave a happy imprint in your brain and definitely a place I can see myself returning to forever.
Open: Daily, noon to late
Details: licensed; banquet packages available
Review By Monica
❊Venue | Location ❊
⊜ 1 Hosier Lane Melbourne | Map
✆ 03 9663 3038
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