Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MoVida, Sydney

Another weekend in Sydney for uni could only mean one thing... another round of eating!

Friday night saw me heading to MoVida in Surry Hills with my little possy of usual suspects. I have to say my expectations were very high and I was beyond excited to be finally dining at MoVida after many failed attempts at scoring a booking at one of the Movida Melbourne restaurants in the past. Luckily, you can book at Movida Sydney. Having said that, they do leave a good portion of the restaurants for walk-ins but if you are going to try your luck you would want to get there at a very un-Spanishly early dining time as the restaurant was at full capacity by 6pm. 

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What better locale than Surry Hills for MoVida to call it's Sydney home?! Sure, it's no Hosier Lane Melbourne and there aren't any smelly rubbish bins lining an alley way with amazing graffiti but Surry Hills definitely suits the MoVida vibe.

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The restaurant is very unassuming from the street front and inside it's high ceilings, exposed brick walls, colourful artwork and an interesting mix of pendant lamps. Seating options range from comfortable private booths to perching yourself along the bar for a different perspective. 

The menu is of course all about sharing but it can be a little confusing as it is divided into sections for "embutidos" (charcuterie), "tapas", "racions" (larger dishes) and "a la parilla" (roasted meats). I knew what I wanted to order two weeks before I got there so my hot tip is to do your homework! 

The service at MoVida had a distinctive Melbourne nature to it; less attitude and more actual service, with a smile; a thing that can be hard to come by in Sydney!

My first tapas dish of the evening was an artisan Cantabrian anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet ($4.80 each). Talk about a a flavour explosion! The crispy wafer with the plump and salty anchovy and that dollop of tangy tomato sorbet was an absolute treat of sweet and salty which set the bar very high for the evening.

After much umming and ahhing I decided to try what's been much blogged about as a "must try" dish at MoVida; panceta and cheese air baguette with horseradish and fresh truffle ($10.50 each). And I immediately regretted the decision. First of all it's ridiculously priced when you actually consider what you get. The "baguette" is no baguette. It's about 10 cm long and 2 cm wide; a baguette it is not! But they did get the "air" part right. This is essentially a tiny serving of crusty hollow bread wrapped up in pancetta and Manchego cheese with a drizzle of fresh truffle. Hardly inspiring. Hardly worth talking about. Next.

This next dish on the other hand, I could write a book about; half quail filled with chicken liver pate, served with a wild mushroom sauce ($12.50 each). The quail was juicy and succulent whilst the chicken liver pate was incredibly creamy and satisfying. The mushroom sauce also complimented all the flavours beautifully. This would have to be one of the best quail dishes I've had in my life! 

Next up we had one of the specials of the day, house cured king salmon with Catalan spinach, pinenuts and raisins ($18.50). The salmon was beautiful in its freshness and the curing was just right. The garlicy spinach with the added crunch of the pinenuts and the sweetness of the raisins made this a delicately balanced dish of flavours.

Last but certainly not least was Movida's signature dish of air cured Wagyu beef with truffle foam and poached egg ($24.50). We were told to fold the slices of beef over the egg and the foam and then mess it up. Ok so this was amazing! The air cured wagyu beef slices were so thin and literally melted in your mouth. The poached egg and the truffle foam were sinfully creamy, rich and smooth. Each mouthful was better than the last. Heaven on a plate!

What's a Spanish meal without a Spanish dessert, right? I couldn't look pass the Churros with rich drinking chocolate ($14.50) and I'm glad I didn't! These are the best churros I've had outside of Spain! The doughnut was pillowy soft and light. The pot of chocolate had a distinct quality dark chocolate taste to it and the serving size was more than generous... for drinking.

So the verdict: Movida hasn't put a foot wrong in it's expansion to Sydney and the quality of dishes was incredible. Sure, it's on the pricy side but I certainly don't mind paying these prices when you get more than bang for your buck. The dishes are original, creative and full of little surprises. The vibe and the service was also just right. This could very well become the best Spanish restaurant in Sydney in no time and give Bodega, my other top pick, a serious run for it's money!

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon


  1. Reading this post certainly makes me want to go and explore Surry Hills and its surrounding suburbs.

    I must be the only human that hates Churros. Not to my liking at all

    xo Stephanie

  2. Some great shots! I went when it first opened and really enjoyed it, though didn't get any shots as it was so dark inside (could only just read the menu haha)