Monday, June 14, 2010

Melbourne Day 3: Lunch at MoVida


This is my last Melbourne post and if not my favorite part of the trip, then at least the peak of the culinary aspect. It's no coincidence that MoVida was featured on MasterChef during a celebrity chef episode. I will admit that my desire to go there initially came from the show. However, after reading everywhere that reservations were necessary, I decided I didn't want to bog myself down since Kat and I didn't have a clear idea of how our days were going to be planned out.

What tipped the scale was a recommendation by another friend who actually lives in Melbourne. I got proactive and called MoVida to make a booking but was told that all 4 restaurants were booked out. The restaurant 'system' is a bit confusing to me but I believe there are 2 locations - the 'original' location at Hosier Lane (which is what they're known for) and another that was closer to our hotel on Little Bourke St. At each of these locations, there are 2 restaurants? I'm not sure what the differences are... maybe casual vs formal or something? I'm sure someone could explain it better than me. In any case, there were no tables all weekend but the lady told me to try the bar, which is more of a 'walk in' system.

I didn't have my hopes up after our horrible experience trying to get a seat at the bar at Gingerboy but nevertheless, I wanted to check out Hosier Lane which is famous for Melbourne graffiti.

Upon stepping in, we were told that the bar was full (surprise, surprise) but we could be given a seat 45min later at 2:45pm. That wasn't actually bad for us since we were still full from breakfast (I don't remember feeling hungry the entire duration of our trip) so we headed off to Federation Square. They were playing old episodes of Seinfeld on the big screen so that kept us entertained until it was our time to go back to MoVidas.

The waiter remembered us and seated us at the bar. It was a lovely space... very warm, rustic and comfortable. Even though we haven't eaten at a table there and thus don't really have a point of comparison, I think the bar was a great way to enjoy their tapas.

Complimentary bread and olive oil

We ordered wine to start off with and watched the bar lady cut us a few slices of fresh bread with olive oil. I rarely say this but the olive oil was delicious... beautiful, intense flavor that was amazing when soaked up by the bread. We had 2 different types of bread to try too.

I had so much wine on the trip that I don't even remember what I had but Katie got a dessert wine (after asking for something sweet) and I think I chose a champagne. That plus the bread would have been enough for a great time. But, food was still to come.

I've been saying this a lot but at MoVida, I was VERY undecided about what to order. They have tapas or full mains and I couldn't pick between ordering a few tapas or one main that I KNEW was a 'must try'. Katie convinced me to go with the smaller options just so I'd have more things to write about.

Ultimately, I'm glad I went with her decision. It was so fun seeing the little individual plates being brought out one at a time. I guess it drags out the excitement? I'll run through our food picks:

Croqueta - fried silky croquette flavoured with leek and mahon cheese

Inside of croquette

Pollo escabache - spiced chicken escabache tapa on crisp crouton

Tortilla - traditional tortilla with confit potato and onion

Costilla con sobrasada - roast lamb cutlet encased in a Catalan pork & paprika pate

The lamb was my favorite out of the food items.

Bite shot of lamb cutlet

It was tender, juicy and cooked perfectly. Second favorite was the chicken on crisp crouton. The flavors were incredibly complex and I just thought it was a very special, well-thought out creation.

Helados de la casa - homemade ice-creams served with fig bread

For dessert we shared the homemade ice-creams. As expected with my poor memory, I've forgotten the flavors. One was saffron and date (my favorite of the three) and another was pineapple (Kat liked this one but I'm more into creamy flavors). We didn't hear what the 3rd was but didn't bother to find out. It was rather plain though. Each flavor of ice-cream and a smooth, creamy texture.

We had a REALLY GREAT time at MoVida. No, it's not all hype. As far as I know, we went to the actual 'original' MoVida that they're famous for (the MasterChef episode was filmed outside the front door). The environment was perfect for a chat, drink and nibbles and the service was not at all pretentious. Even though they are very busy, the restaurant didn't seem noisy or crowded. The food was, on a whole, excellent but I reserve a special place in my mind for their bread and olive oil.

MoVida Bar de Tapas on Urbanspoon


  1. Beautiful photography, Tried Movida on a trip from Perth recently and your pictures brought back all those delicious memories. Thank you Hungry Kittens. Adrian Jameson. Perth

  2. Hi Adrian...
    Thanks for your compliment! Because I only have an amateur point-and-shoot, I always think my indoor photos suffer a bit from poor lighting. I guess Melbourne is just too picturesque to do wrong. I agree it was a great experience. We should all visit again sometime. I loved the food scene in Sydney too!