Friday, March 21, 2008

March 15, 2008: MoVida

To celebrate Mike's birthday, Jo-Lyn was keen to take him to MoVida. This struck me as a bit of a gamble - Mike has limited patience for 'scenes', crowds, and high-end dining. On the other hand, MoVida's meaty tapas have an excellent reputation and he does like his smallgoods. This presented some potential challenges for Michael and I, but a squiz at MoVida's online menu confirmed that we vegos wouldn't go hungry. If nothing else, I assured Jo-Lyn, we could just order four plates of the famous churros and hot chocolate!

Jo-Lyn didn't actually make a booking. Instead Mike popped in at 7:30pm and put his name down for a table near the bar and was given less than an hour to wait. We passed it pleasantly at Hell's Kitchen, then squashed into MoVida's entry for a further 15 minutes or so before our table was ready. This was plenty of time to get a feel for the space - low lights, lots of noise, and only a few staff quickly and capably tending tables. In fact, the feller receiving us at the door provided almost all of the service to our high bar table that night. Ours was a small space, with just barely enough room to fit our food, but at least it forced us to sit close and made it easier to hear each other.

I took photos, but they were my most hopeless yet! Instead of inflicting them upon you I think the menu descriptions will do - the presentation was very rustic and unpretentious and I'm sure you can imagine it well enough. It'll make the experience more authentic, given that we could barely see the food ourselves in the dim surrounds!

Croqueta ($3 each) - fried silky croquettes filled with mushrooms. These were sizable balls with a golden-fried crumb coating. Inside was like molten mushrooms! Silky indeed.

Patatas a la pobre ($9.50) - 'poor mans potatoes', slow cooked nicola potatoes with peppers in olive oil. These enormous potato chunks were tender all the way through with an incredible depth of flavour. The roasted peppers and dressing added just the right acidic contrast. The traditional name is now something of a misnomer given their richness and price.

Setas asado con jerez ($9.50) - oven roasted portabello mushrooms finished with sherry vinegar. Huge and boozy, a good complement to the potatoes and to the rich meats the other two were eating.

Expinacos con garbanzos ($9) - sauteed spinach with chickpeas and spices. Another flavoursome dish, though probably my least favourite of the night. But look at its competition!

Ensalada valenciana ($8) - Valencian salad, endive, orange, palm hearts and manzanillo olives. This added much-needed lightness and freshness. The palm hearts were a new vegetable for me and reminded me most of artichoke hearts.

The dessert menu is splashed across the wall in chalk, and it must have been looking at it over my head all night that inspired Michael to order his own dessert rather than sharing one with me. He picked the hot ganache pudding w vanilla bean ice-cream ($12.50). It was the rich molten chocolate experience you'd expect. I don't have much to say about my churros with hot chocolate ($9) either - while I enjoyed them, I wasn't exactly wowed. I think it simply means that I'm more a fan of intensely cocoa-y experiences than this milder, more carb-laden dessert. Pass me the 70% Lindt!

Movida isn't really the place for a first date or a sedate dinner with your parents - much better to crowd in with your more refined buddies and comfortably lunge across the table to help yourself to the tempting tapas just out of reach. Clearly, then, we were there for the right occasion and birthday boy Mike did enjoy the food immensely. In spite of the small number of staff on the floor we received excellent service and I didn't find the prices to be excessive. There is plenty for a vegetarian to enjoy, though the restaurant sells a lot of meat products. For this reason I wouldn't particularly recommend MoVida for a vego's own special night out, but I can happily encourage you to accept a friend's invitation as we did.

Address: 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9663 3038
Fully licensed
Price: veg tapas $3-$10, dessert $9-$13


  1. funny. When I went to Movida, I also went to Hell's Kitchen beforehand. And I also didn't think much of the churros either.

  2. OMG, I remember that incident well (ew!) but completely forgot it happened to you at MoVida.

    I just don't know about these Spanish hot chocolates - the ones at San Churro have that same cornflour-y thickness to them. I'm not a fan, but have a friend who LOVES them.

  3. I have only been to movida for the churros and I loved them - thought they were cooked to crisp perfection- although the chocolate sauce was more custard than the chocolatey one I remember so fondly from spain - but both times it was quite a wait for a few churros

  4. I'm quite surprised Movida have such great-sounding veg options. Sounds like a beautiful meal, especially the portabello mushrooms.

  5. Interesting, Johanna - I had wondered if the thick custardy version was the traditional Spanish thing but I guess not!

    I know, Lisa! At first glance the menu is really meat-oriented, but it's surprisingly easy to eat your fill of tasty vegetarian food here.

  6. mmm, love movida for a special occasion!
    my 0.02: the churros at Gill's Diner are cinnamony and chewy with generous half glass of chocolate ;)

  7. I have to say that I didn't really like the churros at Movida either. It was rather floury. The churros at Bar Lourinha are much better, but I'm not going back to that place as we both know why. Recently I tried the churros at Basque Tapas and Wine and that was ok too.

    Otherwise I love everythiing at Movida, especially the poor man's potatoes. Those are the best potatoes I've ever had.

  8. Jade, I didn't recognise the name of Gill's Diner but I can now see that I read Mutemonkey's review of it a little while ago. It's now on the wishlist - thanks. :-)

    Thanh, maybe you'll join my campaign for dirtyflamingo to share her recipe for poor man's potatoes. :-D