500 Bourke St Level 1
03 9663 3038
Until a couple of weeks ago, I am embarrassed to say I had not been to any of the Movidas. Given the notorious 3 month waiting list at Hosier lane, plus my uncompromising impatience, I opted to book a table at Movida Aqui on Bourke for a small get together.
Unlike the original shoe-box-of-a-Spanish-tapas-eatery, the young offshoot, Movida Aqui’s dining area is spaciously wrapped around a peninsular of a bar and huge racks of wine. Overhanging light bulbs peeking through overturned milk cartons give the room a nice soft moodiness. Though some signature items are mirrored here, the menu is far more dominated by larger share plates of raciones and paella owing to the much larger working kitchen.
Just as we were ushered to the bar, before our tables were ready, I bumped into Thanh. What an auspicious sign I say!
Breads & olive oil.
Escanciador – a mildly acidic apple cidar, refreshing.
** Para Empezar ** (to start)
Jamones – These almost see-through ribbons of 24 month aged Serrano ‘Montesano’ artisan mountain ham have a mild smoky flavour and a nice tingle of saltiness that just melts away on the palate. The perfect adjunct to a refreshing cidar / beer. The accompanying tomato-relish-on-toast however was nothing special.
** Tapa Clasicas ** (tapa classics)
Anchoa – is one of the signature tapas adopted from the original Movida. The contrasts offered by the robust tastes of the hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan anchovy, to the chilled sweet-acidity of the smoked tomato sorbet, set against the warm crunchiness of the crouton sitting underneath – brings a marvellous explosion of flavours, textures and temperatures.
Bomba – a golden crumbed croquette filled with a velvety-buttery potato mash, piping hot and lick-a-licious with a light sprinkle of sea salt. Too bad the advertised ‘chorizo’ content is rather lacking.
Sardina – was a beautiful rainbow of diced red tomato, greens, square of yellow toast and not to mention the silver imported Spanish artisan sardine. A delightful mouthful.
Bocadillo de calamares – Believe me, these sandwiches are a devil’s addiction! This is a deceptively unremarkable white roll, packed full of fresh calamari crunch, mayonnaise creaminess, white airy fluffiness with a small kick of citrus and heat. Please open a store next to my house, so I can pop by everyday!
** Verduras ** (Vegetables)
Asadillo – a chilled dish of roasted capsicum & tomato salad drizzled with an Andulacian mix of sherry vinegar, cumin and olive oil. Wholly appetising!
** A la Plancha ** (Grilled)
Codorniz con Kikos $21.50 – lightly grilled quail filled with a rich duck liver parfait, served on a scrumptious bed of creamed leeks and semolina. I simply could not have enough of that velvety smooth, slightly buttery yellow-mash – it was absolutely gorgeous. Toasted corn kernels give a kick of crunch and sweet-saltiness.
** Arrozes ** (Rice)
Paella del Marisco – The paella takes 15min+ and should therefore be ordered early. It comes in 2 sizes: Grande $56 for 2-4 people & Muy Grande $95 for 4-6 people. We ordered the former between 4 people, but it should really be ordered for 5+ to share if you want to try other items on the menu – it is HUGE!
The wafts of aroma from the saffron-stained-rice is incredibly mouth-watering, despite all of us being on the verge of fullness. Floral notes, wedges of sweet fish and fresh shellfish, and a citrusy acidity would have been a perfect marriage with the rice. But to be honest, this paella failed to impress me as much as Michelle when she went – the rice on the base was burnt to a tar-black, giving the rice an overpoweringly bitter-burnt taste to almost every bite. It is meant to be crusted, NOT black! Well at least that’s what my impression and palate logic leads me to conclude.
** Postre ** (Dessert)
Left: Churros con Chocolate – Crispy Spanish doughnuts dusted with sugar and dipped in a rich chocolate sauce hinted with nutmeg (I think it was nutmeg).
Right: A peach concoction, with a strangely sweet-syrupy taste and texture, that reminded me of Chinese herbal cough syrup. Though I must say it wasn’t unpalatable, but I wasn’t completely convinced that this was a good dessert. I was retrospectively even more disappointed when I realised almost everything else that was on the dessert menu has had decent reviews – what a bad choice ey? P.S. sorry can’t remember the ‘official’ name of this new dessert.
Rating: Yummy+1. Small tapa and medium-size share items were incredibly outstanding with the much raved about anchoa and calamari sandwiches easily living up to their reputation. The paella however was a scorched disappointment. Food arrived with fairly good timing, but service was at times a little aloof, and sometimes a little slow. Overall, quite value for money, with all 4 of us in food-coma-heaven at $210.