Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 32 years old, and so far I like it a lot. To celebrate, I went out for a fancy dinner! Basically, it was an excuse to finally go to MoVida, which I’ve been wanting to do for, oh, a couple of years now.
I invited The Socialist, Awesome Housemate, my ‘wife’ Kt, and her girl B. Because there were five of us, we had to have the Chef’s selection, which is 10 dishes for $65 per person (not including desert or drinks), and they’re happy to cater to dietary requirements: out of the five of us, there was one vego and one no seafood, and we were very well looked after. There was some initial confusion about the no seafood, but that was because a minor communication thing and they sorted it out straight away.
The light was too dim for my poor camera to cope with so there’s no photos, which is a shame because the presentation was beautiful, but I’ll do my best to describe the vegetarian tapas:
1. A vegetarian version of MoVida’s signature tapa (anchoa), with lettuce, palm heart, and smoked tomato sorbet. The sorbet was amazing – smokey and light and cool and savoury! Yum!
2. A savoury cheese custard (manchego? I’m not sure…), served in an eggshell, with a wafer-thin potato crisp. The crisp was delightful, with a clear flavour of olive oil and good salt. The custard was intense and completely amazing – full-bodied and creamy and dense and utterly delicious.
3. Croquettes with leek and mahon cheese. This was one of the vegetarian dishes that the whole table got to try, and they were really yummy! Salty with a hint of paprika, and a rich, gooey centre.
4. Asadillo – “marinated roast capsicum and tomato salad in Moorish spices”. This was pretty tasty but not as amazing as the other dishes. I do love roast capsicum, though.
5. Salad of palm hearts with romesco sauce. I’d never had palm hearts until last night, and they are quite delicious – a very mild flavour and a firm texture. They make me think of bland artichokes, but that’s not quite it. Anyway, this salad was lovely and light, and the romesco sauce was full of flavour.
6. Setas asado con jerez – “oven roasted portabello mushrooms finished with sherry vinegar”. These were AMAZING! A really substantial dish with loads of ‘roasted’ flavour. OM NOM NOM!
7. Roasted cauliflower with almonds. Man, roasted cauliflower is the best! Almonds are the best! This was really tasty. Although I was getting quite full by this stage, and also the saltiness of the dishes was building up in my mouth. I think this was about the time we’d finished off the wine, too, and since the cheapest bottle was $55, none of us was feeling particularly inclined to get another one.
8. Another salad with Warrigal greens, croutons and red grapes. Delicate and beautiful – the sweetness of the fruit was lovely, and nice balance to the saltiness of some of the dishes.
9. Espinacas con garbanzos – “sauteed spinach with chickpeas & spices”. This was the second vego dish that the whole table shared. It was nice, but a bit too salty for me. Not the most amazing espinacas con garbanzos I’ve ever had (in fact, I like my home made ones better), but tasty nonetheless.
10. Tortilla – “traditional tortilla with confit potato and onion”. I was so full by the time this came out, it’s good it was just a small serve. It was lovely, though – more delicate and melty than the version I make at home.
Aside from the slight over-saltiness, the food was absolutely wonderful. The omnis got mostly seafood dishes, and Awesome Housemate, who doesn’t eat seafood, got a really good range of things. Everyone really enjoyed their food, and we were all absolutely stuffed by the end – we’d been eyeing off the churros, but no one could manage another bite when the time came. I’m not thrilled that we had to have the set menu because we were a group, though I understand it from a logistics point of view. I would have liked the option of a smaller set of dishes, or one that included desert.
We were all a bit tired because I’d also had a cocktail party the night before (I love birthdays! And parties! And cocktails! And indulging with my friends!), so it was a sedate kind of affair, but it would be a fabulous place to go for a really fun night. The wait staff were great – gorgeous and fun and attentive and the service was absolutely superb. At one point The Socialist dropped his knife, and within seconds someone appeared with a fresh knife and fork saying “I heard something drop – what do you need replaced?” The space is also lovely – warm and intimate without being crowded, and that magical level of noise where there’s a great happy buzz to the place but you can still carry on a conversation without raising your voices. We got to linger for a bit over two hours, and would have gladly stayed longer if we’d had bellies big enough for desert, and, well, unlimited funds for more wine. I’ll definitely be back!
1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Ph: 9663 3038
Set menu: $65 for 10 courses
Wine: from $55/bottle or $11/glass