If Hosier Lane could be epitomised by a bagel - it'd most likely feature poppy seeds, where each single black seed represents another photographer attempting to capture the intriguing street art from every angle. It's a very "Melbourne" place for out of towners to visit and I couldn't help but be impressed; every square inch of the place had managed to evoke my curiosity. It brought me right back to my final year of high school where my own art folio featured a lot of street art and street style influences from the likes of Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat - Hosier Lane was quite literally, right up my alley.
I made a reservation at MoVida a week before I had arrived in Melbourne, although I'm sure you might just get lucky if you slip in at unpopular hours like we did for ChinChin. The restaurant transported me back to Europe; it was both intimate and lively - a place for friends to gather, drink their fill and enjoy flavoursome bites in between rounds.
After bread was broken and liberally slicked into the accompanying pool of olive oil, our first tapa was the alluring cold smoked spanish mackerel. The iron lid was lifted from the dish ever so slowly to allow little wisps of smoke to disintegrate across the table.
The ice cold sensation from the delicately flavoured sorbet was the first component to capture my attention. It's the ultimate cold starter that was championed by the ever so delicate slither of mackerel. I highly recommend tucking the entire serving into one mouthful to experience the sensational chill and eruption of well paired flavours.
M smiled coyly at me from across the table when the Quince Paste Cigar arrived, "it's the smallest cigar I've ever seen!". If anything, this was practically like a fancy, extremely miniature Uncle Toby's Roll Up! The Goat's Milk didn't quite leave an impression against the bright collar of quince, which was delightfully chewy and sweet. This tapa made us question, "tapas, or just inflation?" - I'd definitely would have preferred to give this cigar a miss.
I'd say that the double gold coin donation would be far better spent on the Mocadillo de Anguila. As it was placed on the table, our waitperson stated that this was his favourite! It burst with all the sweet goodness that eel takes on after being smoked and sauced. It was the ultimate umami mouthful and definitely one of my favourites for the day.
At first, this does feel a little like you're seeing double. If not for the negliable slither of fat, the watermelon and tuna would have been impossible to differentiate. It was the perfect mouthful for me, particularly because the black olive didn't overwhelm the delicateness of the tuna.
Now this, was more like the cigar that I was expecting from MoVida! It is a special tapa and from my understanding, an ever changing offer. I couldn't possibly relay to you how much I enjoyed this - if Crunch is what you're after, this cigar is King, despite it being only half the size of your regular spring roll!
The little city of parfait definitely caught me my surprise; where was my sizeable slabs of brioche? Regardless, I quite enjoyed swishing each toasted tile with the boisterous parfait and topping that with the cloud like pedro ximenez foam. Aside from being one of their most popular dishes, I would say that this is also definitely a hearty win for parfait lovers.
As far as generosity goes - the slow cooked Lamb is your best bet of filling in the gaps in your appetite left by the previous procession of smaller tapas. The paprika and fino sauce is extremely bread dip worthy; the oils that had washed up on the sides of the plate thrived with a wonderfully concentrated flavour. The meat fell apart with the slightest touch and is a great example of how nose to tail cooking allows customers to really experience some of the best animal cuts possible.
Although the food didn't disappoint, the service was a real let down. I have always been cautious of photographing as conspicuously as possible, especially when I'm in such a cosy and bustling restaurant. At most, I took one or two shots per dish and had decided very early on, not to photograph staff or interiors. However, the staff weren't so happy with me photographing and I was even told to by one of the staff members to "stop taking photos and just eat the food". I am a paying customer, just like every second person in the room who was instagramming each tapa as they came and if I'm not pointing the camera at anywhere else but my own food, then I don't see the cause for utter rudeness.
We left the bar with mixed feelings; the great food may have been unfortunately dulled by the unreasonable outburst we experienced. But regardless, MoVida is still a Melbourne visitor must have and I could not fault how so many distinct and intricate flavours, had been represented so wonderfully within a variety of tongue tingling textures and temperatures.