I'm not the kind of girl who only gets excited about fine dining. Most of my recent dinners with Marc have been spent at trendier, casual spots and during the day, I tend to bounce between cafes. Every now and again though, I do get in the mood for a proper sit down meal with several courses and a bottle of red. We scheduled such a dinner aside last weekend and I selected Moda out of my list of contenders.
A Spanish red, recommended by our waiter
I only knew of Moda by reputation, and the fact that it's located where Gianni's used to be. It's a smallish restaurant with a predominantly outdoor dining space that succeeds in achieving a contemporary garden party atmosphere in the middle of the city. Not bad. Marc commented that he liked the style of furniture, minus the chandeliers. I liked the chandeliers.
The menu is modern Australian with Spanish influences and not too long winded. I had studied it online previously and had a good idea of what I wanted.
Share plate for 2 - with chicken croquettes, prawn pintxo and manolete chorizo sausage
For starters, we chose a share plate of 3 tappas. They arrived together on a large slab. The chicken croquettes were my main pick. They were light and crunchy on the outside with a creamy filling. I wasn't blown away by the flavor though. It was good but nothing special. The prawn and watermelon was something that intrigued us when we read it on the menu. We couldn't see how watermelon would work in a savory dish. Upon trying the combination, we decided that it didn't really. The prawn was OK but the watermelon pieces were warm and rubbery.
Bite shot of chicken croquette
The chorizo was our waiter's recommendation. I was hesitant about ordering chorizo because in my mind, it's all the same and the taste is down to the produce rather than the restaurant. This chorizo was claimed to be authentic and I did think it was much nicer than most others I've tried. What really impressed me was the large peppers. They weren't spicy at all but rather, tasted like capsicum and worked really well eaten with the chorizo. Marc exclaimed with joy that it tasted "like a really awesome pizza". Ah, boys.
Suckling pig - with goats cheese gnocchi and mango
For our mains, I went with the suckling pig. It was perfectly cooked and not the least bit dry. I loved that the crackling had a glass-like finish and it didn't comit any crackle sins like being too salty or chewy. Unlike the prawn and watermelon combination, I thought the pork went really with the fresh mango pieces. Another item that initially attracted me to the dish was the goats cheese. They were served as little fried batons. It was a mild goats cheese but very delicious.
Wagyu beef tenderloin - with kipfler potatoes and amorosso tomato
Marc went with the steak for his main. Again, it was cooked really well, respecting the quality cut of meat. We liked the little potato salad on the side. I noted that it contained olives, which Marc normally hates, but he didn't mind them here. Considering just how much he hates olives, that's no small feat.
Homemade churros - with chocolate sauce and milk jam ice-cream
We weren't planning on getting dessert but we were impressed enough by the mains to take the plunge. I love churros so once I spotted that on the menu, I didn't even look at the other options. Churros it was. They were freshly deep fried and piping hot when they got to our table. The churros themselves were crunchy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside, with a mild cinnamon spice. The chocolate dipping sauce was great but what we really loved was the milk jam ice-cream. It tasted of condensed milk to me, and I can eat that stuff by the can-full.
I enjoyed our dinner at Moda immensely. It's a nice, classic fine dining restaurant that doesn't try anything too pretentious but delivers tasty food done well. Our waiter was very friendly and knowledgeable and even though the weather wasn't perfect that night, we enjoyed the refined outdoor atmosphere.