MoVida is a place I hear about quite often, but never seem to manage to check it out whenever I was in Melbourne. It was lucky for Team DET and I, then, that MoVida opened up in Sydney early October last year.
There were so many incredible things on the menu that we really found ourselves hard-pressed to make a decision on what to order.
It kind of took a while… good thing we had some bread to snack on!
Our first dish to arrive was the visually arresting zucchini filled with crab, served with pea and mint gazpacho.
I loved how fresh and light this dish was – the roe on top added wonderful salty bursts to the sweet crab meat and the zucchini made for a slightly crunchy texture.
As this post has been a long time coming, this dish isn’t on the menu any more.
Happily the selection of small goods is still on the menu (as well as the same small goods).
The selection includes Jamon Iberico, Paletilla Iberico, Jamon Serrano, Bull Negra (pork and liver sausage), and Pamplona (cured chorizo sausage). They were all so delicious that it was hard to say which we loved the most.
Although this particular air baguette dish with rost biff wagyu, tocino de Cielo, and pickled black garlic is no longer on the menu, there is a variation! It is currently a pancetta and cheese air baguette with horserdish and fresh truffle ($10.50 each).
The air baguette sounded intriguing and I wondered what it would look like. Once it came out, it was very much an “oh yeeeaah, I see it now” moment.
Combining the amazing tenderness of the rost biff wagyu with the strong tang of pickled black garlic and sweetness of the tocino de Cielo (which I’ve learnt is like a flan, only made with egg yolk, sugar, and water) was such an explosion of harmonious flavour. The crispity-crunch of the air baguette made this dish that little bit more wonderful.
This dish was one of the more interesting and flavoursome zucchini flowers I’ve tried: the braised flowers were stuffed with smoked eel Brandade, served with grape tomatoes and fresh calamari.
The saltiness of the smoked eel and calamari (and that spectacular braising sauce!) were gently tempered by the sweet bursts of juicy grape tomatoes.
It’s a big pity that this is no longer on the menu – I’d totally order this dish again.
The rich Catalana-style wet rice with tempura scampi was a special of the day. I’ve never had a caldoso before and it strongly reminded me of risotto or paella; so not surprising to find that caldoso literally translates to “brothy rice”.
I loved the caldoso’s bold and rich flavours, where a little squeeze of lemon added a lovely brightness to the dish. While the tempura scampi was a nice touch, I felt the caldoso was strong enough to stand on its own.
This dish is flat-out amazing. If there is one dish you have to get at MoVida, it has to be the air-cured Wagyu beef with truffle foam and poached egg (don’t worry, I checked and it’s still on the menu!).
D and E had this dish before and so knew what to do; T and I watched on in raptness of their folding technique.
I was dumbfounded at just how thinly sliced the wagyu were (you can see the plate design right through it!) and floored by the taste. It was a spectacular combination of salty, meaty, creamy, and egginess and had such a fantastic depth of flavour to it.
I thought the Padron peppers fried with caper salt was like a Spanish version of the Japanese’s edamame, though not as crunchy.
They are rather perfect as a my-mouth-is-bored snack or deciding-what-to-order nibble. Also, there weren’t spicy!
Carrillera is beef cheek in Pedro Ximénez (“an intensely sweet, dark, dessert sherry”, according to Wiki) with cauliflower puree.
That beef cheek was off-the-chart tender! It literally fell apart when poked and thanks to the Pedro Ximénez, had such an incredibly strong, rich, drunken-sweet flavour. The cauliflower puree was of course on point with its seasoning, had the right amount of thickness (not too thin or gloopy thick), and was beautifully buttery.
When we had the Patatas Bravas, they were smoked potatoes with faux bacon dust and served with spicy Bravas sauce (it’s now confit potatoes with the spicy Bravas sauce).
They were a bit spicy for me, but happily bearable… So I’d imagine they would be a breeze to eat for everyone else haha.
These were probably one of the better Patatas Bravas I’ve had – they were perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy and piping hot on the inside, while the faux bacon dust was a great salty and meaty touch.
The wild local king fish with house smoked prawns in Romesco was another special of the day.
We had debated whether or not to order this dish, as it felt like one too many dishes ordered. We got it anyway because we couldn’t resist how delicious it sounded!
It was pretty good and had wonderful depth of hearty flavour with well-seasoned king fish and prawns, but I felt it was rather overshadowed by so many fantastic dishes that came before it.
Despite being a little on the full side at this stage, we ordered nearly all of the desserts on the menu – no shame haha.
Tarta Santiago is an almond fondant served with fig leaf ice cream. The fondant was pretty good – wasn’t dry or overly moist – and the fig leaf flavour was quite subtle.
The Flan was a very well-made creme caramel served with crunchy Pestinos and the Helados (fig bread) was rather interesting (served with a creamy home-made chocolate ice cream), but the Churro con Chocolate – Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate – was my favourite dessert.
The chocolate was quite dark, though not too bitter, and the churros were fried to perfection.
While MoVida is on the pricier side of Spanish tapas, it most certainly is worth it – the dishes were well-balanced and just simply fantastic tasting, and the wait staff were friendly and knowledgeable of the dishes served.
If you haven’t tried MoVida yet, you should… and soon!
50 Holt St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
Ph: (02) 8964 7642