Before my trip to Melbourne, I made sure to plan my meals to make the most of my time there. One of the restaurants on my hit list was Movida, and while the majority of my friends went to watch the musical Hairspray, I met up with Phuoc who also happened to be in Melbourne at the time to pig out at Movida Aqui.
We book a few weeks in advance to make sure we don’t miss out. We’re led inside the restaurant which is warm with wooden tables and chairs, and given a modern funky feel with milk crates overhanging the bar area that have light bulbs trapped inside.
It’s a warm day so for drinks we get a jug of white sangria to share. The sangria has some lovely citrus flavours and definitely serves as a fantastic refresher before we start on the food.
The menu is broken up into small plates, grilled items and rice dishes which includes paella. Phuoc is keen to get the paella so we order a few small dishes keeping in mind that we have a big bowl of rice and seafood coming our way. After we place our order, the waitress goes over to a table and cuts up some slices of bread for us. It’s served with a dish of olive oil and is wonderfully soft in the centre. In hindsight, I should have saved some for sauce-dipping later but it is too good to resist and I polish off my share in no time.
After seeing them featured on Masterchef Season 2, I had my sights set on tasting the bomba, a Catalan potato bomb filled with chorizo – even the description sounds exciting! Ok, so it doesn’t quite explode but these deep fried balls of potato are crisp on the outside and filled with a mixture of mashed potato and nubbins of chorizo on the inside. Deeeelicious.
When we saw giant prawns on the menu we didn’t quite expect them to be quite as giant as what appeared on our table. Two giant prawns cooked over charcoal have a lovely burnt outside but are moist and smoky tasting on the inside. The pea gazpacho that is underneath the prawns is amazing and there is no shame when we try to scrape as much of it off the plate as possible. No wastage!
The grilled quail is a striking dish with a splodge of bright yellow sweet corn puree with two pieces of deboned quail. We delight in finding that the quail has been stuffed with duck liver parfait which gives it a creamy texture on the inside. The corn puree is completely addictive and we end up trying to scrape as much of this off the black tile as well. The toasted corn gives a crispy, crunchy texture to the dish.
And to round off the savoury dishes, the paella. This arrives in a massive dish which contains a brilliantly coloured orange saffron rice and is scattered with seafood including mussels, fish and prawns. A quick squeeze of lemon for some acidity and we dig into the paella. The rice is cooked perfectly and isn’t soft or gluggy, but is bursting with tomato and saffron flavours. The seafood is plain but when eaten with the rice it lets the flavours of the rice shine through with a hint of the briny flavours of the sea. It’s a serving for 2-4 people but even with four of us on the table we struggle to finish it all.
There’s always room for some dessert though and we agree to get two desserts to share between us. The flan is essentially a creme caramel and is super wobbly. I’m amazed at its ability to stay standing after we start digging in, yet the texture of the flan is incredibly soft. On the surface of the flan is a golden layer of caramel and speckles of vanilla. It’s served with pestinos which are a biscuit that contains fennel seeds and is coated with sugar crystals on the outside
And we end on the perfect sweet note with the churros which are seriously the best churros I’ve ever tasted. The churros themselves are light and not greasy at all. The chocolate is the perfect bittersweet counterpart to the sweet sugary churros and I love that after eating them, none of us feel heavy or stodgy.
The food was absolutely amazing at MoVida and I’m waiting for a chance to go back and cover even more of their menu And even though my friends came back raving about how good Hairspray was, my belly and I were completely satisfied and happy with choosing to go to MoVida instead!
Level 1, 500 Bourke St (Access via Lt Bourke St)
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9663 3038
Open from Monday to Friday, 12 noon until late; Saturday, 6pm until late.