At last...exams, endless assignments and uni on the whole for 2013 has ended for me and I will not be trekking it all the way to UNSW for at least another 4 months. Also at last...I have finally tried MoVida! This restaurant has been receiving rave reviews since its opening and was also awarded two chef hats in the SMH Good Food Guide Awards 2014. So it was about time for me to see what the fuss was all about...
Tucked away in a cosy corner in Surry Hills, MoVida has a casual but modern interior space whereby staff are friendly and service is impeccable.
There's a range of entrees and mains to select from the menu but we don't spend too long deciding because as always, we have done our research prior to entering said restaurant. In fact it's become a sort of ritual for me - before I go to dine somewhere, I read as many reviews as I can about the place and mentally remember all the signature and "must-order" dishes. Also, everything here at MoVida is designed to share - note that some entrees come as 2 pieces but most come as 1, so it does add up on the bill!
Bread to start off the evening - be proud that I rejected the second offering by the kind staff. That was a difficult decision for me. After all, who can resist sourdough?
I absolutely LOVED the Iberico Jamon Croquetas ($8.50 for 2 pieces) - perfectly fried and served nice and hot. I would describe the taste as macaroni and cheese encased in a super crunchy batter. The croqueta filling gave bursts of creamy and tasty flavour, creating the perfect morsel of fried goodness.
Just looking at the innards oozing out is enough to make you salivate!
Next up was the Grilled Chorizo & Padron Sandwich ($7.50 each). Whilst prices may seem exxy I can tell you these are worth every dollar. They may not look like much but it was surprisingly substantial when you ate it all. The chorizo was juicy and tender and had a nice kick of spiciness from the padron to boost the flavours. This was nicely balanced with the fluffy and soft buns.
Be warned though, they may look mini in size but it can still turn out to be a messy eating affair. Keep napkins close by!
The next dish was very unique and M considered it to be a highlight of the night. The Quail with Morcilla in House Made Puff Pastry with an Agridulce Sauce ($12.50 each) was very juicy and succulent, and texturally interesting. The soft quail meat meshed along with the crisp puff pastry produced incredibly creamy and tasty flavours. I recommend dipping the quail into the agridulce sauce so that you'd get that added scent of sweetness to each bite.
Almost every food blog I had read prior to entering MoVida had praised their signature main - the Air Cured Wagyu Beef With Truffle Form & Poached Egg ($24.50). We were told to make a mess of the dish so that all the elements would be nicely mixed and blended with each other. The beef slices were thin and similar to prosciutto in its flavoursome taste and this combined nicely with the egg and truffle foam. However I must say both M and I thought the dish was a bit overrated - not as good as we had hoped. Maybe we were just too hyped before coming here?
Don't fret about making it "unpretty" - you're supposed to do this so that you can taste everything together :P
Our second main was also apparently MoVida's signature dish - Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez with Cauliflower Puree ($29.50). The beef cheek was kind of like a brisket as it was very tender and thus fell apart quite easily. The cauliflower puree was also very similar to mashed potatoes (enough to fool M means it's quite good considering he hates cauliflower!). However I wasn't a fan of the Pedro Ximenez sauce and felt that it was richly overpowering on the whole...so unfortunately this dish was a bit of a miss for me.
You can't go to a Spanish restaurant and not order Churros! Otherwise known as Spanish Doughnuts ($14.50), the one here at MoVida is the best we've ever had. Accompanied by a Rich Drinking Chocolate sauce, the churros were pillowy soft and broke easily before melting in your mouth. It was simply divine! However I would have preferred milk chocolate over dark as the sauce was a tad too bitter for my liking. Nevertheless the churros itself were so good I was happy to demolish it without dipping it into any sauce for that matter.
Overall my feelings towards MoVida is slightly mixed. I loved the tapas entrees and the churros but both the signature mains didn't tickle my fancy. However I am aware that I am part of a minority as most reviews I've read had praised these dishes, so it could just be a matter of personal preference. I am quite a picky eater after all. Atmosphere is nice and casual, making it the perfect place for fun gatherings where you can share food with friends and have a drink. Though do note that serving sizes are petite and prices are quite high. So maybe for a special occasion...e.g. finishing off exams :)
Also make sure you make reservations via phone and remember they are not open on Sundays!
50 Holt Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
02 8964 7642