Disclosure: I dined courtesy of Wine Selectors.
Movida, Movida, Movida. Last week was my first visit to the original Movida. I’d only previously had a lovely lunch at Movida Next Door but never visited the original. The reason for my visit was due to Wine Selectors – along with Haz and Thanh, we were there to try Frank Camorra’s signature wine that had been produced in association with Wine Selectors.
Wine Selectors started 35 years ago as a small retail space in the Hunter Valley and has morphed into Australia’s largest independent direct marketer of wine. Recently, they teamed up with several chefs and wine producers to create a wine collection designed to match each of the chefs’ cuisine styles.
One of those chefs was MoVida’s Frank Camorra, who created a sparkling Rose and a Margaret River Tempranillo.
We decided to try the Tempranillo, which the tasting notes said had “ripe aromas of red and black fruits, spice and subtle toasting oak”. We received a glass of wine, and spoke briefly to our waiter about dietary requirements (the usual no beef request for Hazzie) and he organised for food to be sent out.
First out was the anchoa – a hand filleted Cantabrian anchovy on a crouton. On top was smoked tomato sorbet, which we were instructed to spread along the anchovy before eating. Oh boy. This was quite salty. The anchovy was salty and the smoked tomato sorbet was salty, and I found it all quite dominating without any sweetness or acidity to break it up.
Unfortunately, saltiness was the recurring factor through almost all the dishes on the night.
Next we had the bunuelos de bacalao con pil-pil or salt cod and potato croquettes served with lemon emulsion. This was pretty good – fluffy and crunchy, a touch salty again but not too bad.
We next had the caballa ahumado aka a cold smoked mackerel with pinenut sorbet was interesting. Fish, smokey, salty… I did like the nutty sorbet.
The next dish is probably one of Movida’s most famous – the cecina: air-dried slices of waygu with a poached egg and truffle foam. It was okay but I wasn’t particularly wowed by it. I don’t know if this has changed over the years or whether it just wasn’t to my taste.
Also, Haz couldn’t eat this dish and didn’t receive any alternative, which did kind of make us wonder what the point was in asking for dietary requirements.
Fortunately, the next plate was something Haz could eat: Iberica jamon. Mhmmm salty pork godness.
I particularly loved the bread that came out at the same time – it was toasted, rubbed with garlic and topped with crushed tomato.
The next dish was snapper, mussels and calamari that had been cooked with almonds and breadcrumbs. It was an interesting dish with the sauce at the bottom of the plate having a bready nuttiness.
My favourite dish was probably the simplest. Pine mushrooms, picked from the Mornington Peninsula that morning by the sous chef, had been cooked with white wine, garlic and thyme. So, so tasty (but still, yes, a bit too salty).
Taz and I then moved on to the braised beef shin cooked in white wine, which Haz didn’t eat because she doesn’t eat beef. The meat was very tender and rich (though salty, natch). I thought it was pretty good.
And our final savoury dish was pheasant breast with Brussels sprouts and chestnuts. Sadly, none of us like Brussels sprouts, though we all did try a couple just to make sure we don’t like them. (Verdict: yep, don’t like them.) The chestnuts were a bit strange as they were really sweet but strongly vinegary and the pheasant was okay – the breast meat seemed a bit dense.
We were quite full by then, but managed to share two desserts.
First was the churros with dipping chocolate. The churros were quite thin, which meant they were quite dense and crunchy. I would have liked them to have been a bit fluffier.
The flan was nice though – very smooth and creamy. I also liked the crunchy spiced biscuits propped on the side.
So as mentioned, this was my first visit to the original Movida and I have to say – I was a bit underwhelmed. I found most dishes too salty with no balancing acidity or sweetness. I wonder if it was just that night or whether the food is generally always “well seasoned”.
As for the wine, I found it very drinkable and it seemed to suit the food well. That’s about all my palate can tell you – hah. If you’re interested in Frank Camorra’s Margaret River Tempranillo, it can only be purchased at MoVida or Wine Selectors.
Read Haz’s post on our night on The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua.
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