Over the last couple of days, I have come to realise that there are a number of food posts that I have wanted to write but never got around to. I am determined over the next two weeks I will be writing these up because I have genuinely enjoyed all these restaurants. So the first cab off the rank is Movida Aqui.
My future sister in law decided to organise a catch-up prior to Christmas with the cousins, so that is how a group of 8 very hungry people ended up at Movida Aqui on a busy Saturday night. We had been advised we would have to be out by 8.30 (we had a 6.30 reservation) but it didn't really bother us.
Most of us in the group were not 100% sure with what they wanted and since it was Christmas we decided to splurge and get the Chef's Set Menu @ $75 per head. It was to be a seven course feast and honestly it made it a lot easier to order as everyone has such different tastes. Sadly, my sister in law requested no shellfish, so no chance of paella that night. *Insert sad face here*
In the past I have been disappointed with some set menus because we have ended up with a couple of dodgy dishes. However, although there were one or two dishes in this set menu that were slightly average, the dishes that were amazing, were so amazing that it compensated for the couple of more average dishes.
Anchoa - Hand Filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet - $4.50 per piece
When this was the first dish brought out, I do admit I was slightly disappointed as I had been hoping for the Bomba. I am not a huge anchovy fan but I smeared the tomato sorbet and took a bite. The anchovy didn't bother me, it was the tomato sorbet. I only eat tomato when it is cooked, but what actually bothered me was the fact I was eating a cold tomato sorbet on this anchovy & crouton. It felt like the sorbet was added to this dish only for the sake of doing something pretentious such as a 'tomato sorbet.' Honestly, even though I am no fan of fresh chopped tomatoes, this dish would have been so much better with fresh tomatoes. However, all the dishes from here on in were much better!
Serrano - 'Montesano' Artisan Mountain Ham 24 Months - $15 per 50g
The Maltese in me loves my gourmet meats such as prosciutto, so seeing this as the second dish to come out was fantastic. For me the key with cut meats it that they need to be salty but not overpowering. A fine balance, indeed. What I loved about this Jamon is that it was salty but it was just perfect. The crusty bread with fresh (yay! not sorbet) tomato was a perfect match for the jamon but honestly, I could have been in heaven just eating this on its own. A lovely cut of meat which I would order again at Movida Aqui and possibly keep the whole dish to myself!
Bocadillo De Calamares - Calamari Sandwich with Basque guindilla and mayonnaise - $7 each
The table next to us ordered this and I had major food envy. Such a cute little roll stuffed with calamari. I was absolutely delighted when these arrived on the table. The Calamari was soft, it melted in your mouth. Some of the best calamari I have had - ever. The mayo had the perfect tang to it and complemented the calamari. And it was all wrapped up in this little roll. Perfect! Like the previous dish of Jamon, I could have easily ate a number of these. If anything a little extra bit of mayo would have made it perfect!
Grilled Jumbo Quail with Promgranates, Corn & Sweet Corn Puree - $21.50 (approx)
It appears that since I have dined at Movida, the quail has slightly changed as it now contain duck liver parfait. I am a huge fan of quail (it was like most of this menu had been designed for me!) and this quail proved to be no exception. Ir was perfectly cooked and easy to get the meat off the bone. The pomegranate seeds 'popped' in your mouth and was a great match for the quail, something that I had not previously considered. The corn puree was so smooth and I found I was continuing to have a but of it even after my quail was finished. Another stand out dish.
Salad of Red Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Feta & Figs (Price unknown as no longer on the menu)
The fact I am not able to find this item on the menu confirms that Movida make their salads on a seasonal basis. I found this dish to be quite refreshing given that couple of more meat heavy dishes that we had previously. All the components of the salad seemed to go well together however I didn't feel the need to go back for seconds with this one. It was nice without being anything amazing.
Grilled Lamb with Pesto (Price Unknown as no longer on the menu)
Another item which I am not able to find on the menu. I usually love lamb but for me this dish was slightly undercooked. I do think that it was because I had a bigger piece so if they were cooked at the same time it might have resulted in it being undercooked. I noticed this because there was a slight amount of blood close the the meat near the bone. I did enquire with the waiter about this and was told this is how it is served. Whilst it was not dangerously undercooked, seeing the bit of blood on lamb, did put me off this dish a little bit. Had I have had a smaller piece, I most likely would have loved this dish, but for me it was just ok as I wasn't happy with the level of cooking of the lamb. Most people as the table did love it though so I would give it a second chance.
Carrillera De Buey - Slowly Briased Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree - $22.50
This is one of the signature dishes of Movida and I can see why. I have been keen to cook with beef cheeks myself after reading a number of recipes online. This dish has inspired me to try this at home sooner rather than later! This beef cheek tasted like it had been cooked for a number of hours because as soon as the fork touched the beef, it would fall apart. This was truly a melt in you mouth dish. The cauliflower puree, was silky smooth and with the gravy type sauce (Pedro Ximenez?) mixed through it, tasted delightful. Both puree's from tonight dishes have made me want to try to perfect a silky vegetable puree, although I know a lot of butter or cream would have helped to achieve this.
Arroz Negro - Bomba Rice Cooked with Cuttlefish and Squid Ink Served with Aioli - $63 per serve
After we finish the beef cheek, the group was certain that the meal was over. We had counted seven courses and we all felt almost full. Then the waitress brought out two huge dishes on this. At first we thought it might be for another table but no, it was all for us.
Now, I know this does not look very appetising in the photo, but it was delicious. The key is to squeeze lots of lemon on you serve and put a big dollop of aioli in the dish and stir it up. I find it difficult to describe the taste of this dish but I was excited to be able to be trying something with squid ink for the first time. It was fun to be scrapping the rice from this big dish and most of us continued to pick at it for the following half hour.
Beans cooked with Romesco (Price Unknown)
The squid ink rice was served with these beans and whilst I did sample them, I was much more interested in the rice and decided to save what little room I had left for that. The beans were cooked well and the cheese was nice with it but nothing too amazing, a nice side for the rice!
After this massive meal, I was sadly too full for dessert, which is a shame as I had my eye on the caramel flan. I had washed this meal down with about three glasses on Sangria. Although we had been previously told that we would need to leave by 8.30, the waitress advised us halfway through the meal that there was no restriction on the time. Given that two people shared a expensive bottle of wine between them, amongst other things, I think they knew they could make their money from us.
We ended up chatting until about 10.30 and it was a great atmosphere to catch up with my family in. I am keen to return to Movida Aqui but I think I would like to try some of the other Movida's first. However, I do plan to be back sooner rather than later. I think the $75 per head for a large number of dishes is very reasonable considering the quality of food. Looking back I paid slightly more for much less food at Flower Drum and didn't really leave satisfied. This experience was much different. I think, because of the sharing style of the plates, a group of 4 minimum would be best so you can try a number of things. However, I do think I will be dragging The Boy here sooner or later.
500 Bourke Street,