Movida Sydney – Tapa Elite

By this point in time, pretty much any foodie would have been made aware of Movida, if not having gone there already. Frank Camorra’s modern and refreshingly classy spin on tapas took Melbourne by storm, so it was no wonder that Sydney was going to get a taste of it as well.

I haven’t been to the Melbourne restaurants, so I can’t do direct comparisons, but it does mean I will be going on with very few expectations – I only expect it to be GOOD. Let’s see how Movida Sydney fares with respect to this simple metric.

Date Last Visited: 29/6/13
Address: 50 Holt St Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Recommended Dish(es): Cecina – air cured wagyu beef w/truffle foam & poached egg

But of course, it was going to be located in Surry Hills. Sydney doesn’t have Melbourne’s alleyway culture, but we do have Surry Hills to make up for it. As a result, it’s relatively easy to get to – a 15min walk from Central station ought to do it.

Movida Sydney

Partitioned seating – a nice touch. A big fan of this kind of seating. It’s not everywhere in the restaurant though.

The restaurant isn’t very assuming from the outside. Apart from a red sign with Movida’s namesake on it, there’s not much that screams “very famous and/or possibly over-hyped restaurant”. That’s good – the inside matters more.

I’m glad there’s booth seating. The level of privacy and comfort it offers is unmatched. For those who’re more keen on a group experience – that is also available. Heck, there’s the bar too, if you’re up for it.

Movida Sydney Interior

I haven’t been to Spain; is this authentic? More importantly – does it matter?

Somehow, I’m not surprised that the restaurant was going to prominently feature brick. It’s a cool enough facade, and utterly appropriate considering its locale and cuisine.

Movida Sydney bread

Why hay there, bread

Bread arrives as something to get you started. I was curious about the rather greenish tinge of the olive oil. Turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about – it had a rather woody sub-taste to it which seems to go well with the bread. Necessary, as the bread itself was extremely tough at the crust. If you’ve got weak teeth, you may want to skip the crust.

Bocata de panceta y queso - pancetta & cheese air baguette w/horseradish & fresh truffle movida sydney

Bocata de panceta y queso – pancetta & cheese air baguette w/horseradish & fresh truffle: $10.5 ea

I’m not going to beat around the bush – Movida is expensive. EACH of those air baguettes is $10.5 for what is essentially mostly air in terms of volume. Air baguette indeed.

Despite that, it tastes amazing – the pancetta is thinly sliced and salted superbly, the cheese not overwhelming but providing enough zing and adhesiveness to bring all the elements of the dish together.

The baguette itself was very much like crispbread – crunchy and fun to eat. The truffles are the icing on the proverbial cake – strong, making a bold statement.

A must order.

Movida sydney air baguette

Truly very airy

Codorniz rellenos - half quail filled w/chicken liver pate, served w/confit portobello mushrooms movida sydney

Codorniz rellenos – half quail filled w/chicken liver pate, served w/confit portobello mushrooms: $12.5 ea

A very pretty dish, and perhaps one of the few times that I’ve actually enjoyed quail. Almost every other quail dish I’ve had have usually suffered from dryness issues. Dryness issues aside (and non-existent), it was a very tasty dish, thanks to the liver pate (the secret ingredient that makes Vietnamese pork rolls/banh mi so good).

I wasn’t as much a fan of the mushrooms, but that’s my own bias speaking out against it – I could eat them though since they were thinly sliced. Phew!

Chilindron - pyrenees style slow cooked milk fed lamb in fino & paprika movida sydney

Chilindron – pyrenees style slow cooked milk fed lamb in fino & paprika: $34.5

Out of all the dishes I’ve had in this dinner, the lamb was (by quite a wide margin) the most disappointing. Slow-cooked instantly brings three things to my mind
-falls off the bone with minimal effort
-super tender meat
-a deeply rich flavour, as if the lamb soaked up all the flavours and seasoning used in its making.

Unfortunately, this lamb dish didn’t do any of these things for me. Having now tasted incredible lamb of the likes such as 4Fourteen/Four In Hand, Ume & Sokyo, Movida gave a rather jarring letdown.

Movida sydney slow cooked lamb

Off the bone? Off the bone

Signature dish - Cecina - air cured wagyu beef w/truffle foam & poached egg movida sydney

Signature dish – Cecina – air cured wagyu beef w/truffle foam & poached egg: $24.5

Well then, what better way to make up for the previous dish with the one that Movida themselves call their signature? This truffled wagyu won dish of the year in Melbourne not too long ago, so it’s got to be good right?

The answer to that is a resounding yes. This dish is amazing and blew my socks off. Texturally, it’s all soft this, soft that. The beef is super soft and tender, the poached egg even more so. The foam just makes the whole dish even softer. Though overall soft, there are varying levels of firmness with each of the dish’s elements. It comes together quite well.

As for taste, it’s awesome – the beef provides the bulk of the flavour, cured and smoked to wonderful effect. The eggs make sure the beef never gets too strong, while the foam…I’m not quite sure what it does to be honest.

A great dish.

Movida sydney air cured wagyu beef w/truffle foam & poached egg

Mushy goodness

Bocadillo de helado - dulce leche ice cream w/mantecados & banana in butterscotch movida sydney

Bocadillo de helado – dulce leche ice cream w/mantecados & banana in butterscotch: $17.5

Time for desserts!

Ah, they almost always look good, this one is no exception. The ice cream is the highlight – it actually tastes very akin to a salted caramel ice cream, but with a much lighter sweet footprint than the gelato from say, Messina. This is a good move, as the butterscotch amply makes up for it.

A very satisfying dish, especially with the Spanish crumble (montecados). I always love some crunch in my sweets.

Flan - créme caramel served w/pestinos movida sydney

Flan – créme caramel served w/pestinos: $14.5

Creme caramel flan movida sydney

Pana cotta outside, pana cotta inside

This dessert is very much like a panna cotta in texture as well as flavour. That’s the best and easiest way to describe it. If you don’t like panna cotta then you won’t like this, it’s that simple. The included pestinos differentiate it, and allows for some texture other than just jelly. It’s a good move.

I liked the first dessert better though – can’t pull me away from crunchy ice cream!

I had half expected Movida to be different from other tapas places and I was definitely not wrong. What I didn’t realise was just how different it would be – the answer is a LOT. It’s almost like fine dining, except you choose your own degustation. Think about it – order maybe 5 tapas between 4 people – you’ll have one thing from each tapas dish, and you’ve just had a 5-course deg!

A very modern take on tapas that is not for everyone, while others shall be pleased to no end. That’s Movida for you. As for the value proposition – that’s for me to give the facts, and for you to pass your own judgement.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Movida – not your usual Spanish.

Movida Sydney

I’ll see you again soon (Y)

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀

Awesome: some seriously impressive dishes, great service

Not so Awesome: one sore thumb of lamb that stuck above, insane pricing

7.5/10 Caesars

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

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