MoVida Aqui

October 25, 2012

Level 1, 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Met up with the ever-cheerful and chatty B for lunch one day; we were feeling ridiculously bourgeois so decided to spoil ourselves and have lunch at MoVida Aqui, natch. As expected, the restaurant wasn’t very busy on a Monday lunchtime, so walking in without a booking wasn’t a problem at all. Staff were very friendly and helpful with the menu, although I think we probably ordered a tad too much food – ah well, c’est la vie!The space is very different to the small and politely cramped MoVida and MoVida Next Door; Aqui is a large and light-filled room with a long bar and an open kitchen. I especially liked the milk crates acting as a sort of crown above the bar and kitchen; very Melbourne.

Frank Camorra has spoke about how the freedom of having a larger space has afforded him some creativity in the kitchen; Aqui for example offers paella of various sizes, which can’t be accomodated in the tiny kitchens of his other restaurants. Apart from a few classic dishes that are repeated from the original MoVida, Aqui boasts a different menu, which B and I were more than happy to explore! Here’s what we devoured.

Bocadillo de calamares, a most delicious sandwich stuffed with lightly crisped and tender calamari, mayo and a couple of Basque guindillas (pickled peppers), just to dirty things up a bit. These were brilliant, could have eaten three.

The Bomba, made somewhat famous by Masterchef, a deceptively complex mouthful of chorizo and creamy potato, served with two sauces, brava and mojo picon. Eaten in one bite, the bomba is a wonderful confluence of crunchy and smooth; creamy and tangy.

Next up was a brilliant dish of Churrasco, charcoaled Berkshire pork fillet with mojo picon (Camorra’s favourite sauce, it would seem) and salsa verde, plus some more of those guilndillas. The mojo picon was an absolute winner once again, as was the smoky and soft pork.

I had this next dish some time ago at MoVida in Hosier Lane, but it’s a favourite of mine because of the depth of flavour in the beef cheek, the ribboned texture and the intense sweetness of the Pedro Ximinez sauce, coupled with that brilliant earthiness of cauliflower puree. As my friend H once said when describing this dish, you know you’re in for a treat when all they give you is a spoon!

In an effort to seem healthy, we also ordered a fantastic side of mushrooms tossed in sherry vinegar, which added an uplifting tang to the dish. Absolutely stuffed, we rolled out the door, onto a tram and back up to uni. Bourgeois lunch indeed!


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Filed under: Melbourne CBD, Spanish