Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Movida Bar de Tapas

Movida Bar de Tapas
1 Hosier Lane
Melbourne 3000

The original of Frank Camorra's Movida restaurants, Movida Bar de Tapas is down the cobblestone, graffiti covered, Hosier lane, accessed from Flinders Street.  Dining here has been on my 'list' for quite awhile and I was not disappointed.  It definitely lives up to the hype.

We didn't have a booking on this busy Saturday afternoon but were lucky enough to grab some seats at the bar, which really is a great way to experience this restaurant.  We ordered a lovely Tempranillo and nibbled on the complimentary bread and olive oil whilst we perused the menu.

The menu is made up of Tapas, (single serve),  Raciones, (for two) and Postres, (dessert).  We shared a few tapas, one racione and one postre.

Salt Cod and Potato Fritter

The Salt cod and potato fritter was gorgeous.  Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Very moreish.  We ordered 2 serves of the fritters so we had one each.

Pollo Escabache Al Miguel - Spiced Chicken Escabache Tapa on Crisp Crouton
The spiced chicken on a crisp crouton was delicious.  A nice contrast between the soft creamy chicken mixture and the crispy croutons.  Again we ordered 2 serves.

Alcachofa - Roast Jerusalem Artichoke with Crisp Onion

The roast Jerusalem artichoke was our favourite tapa.  I've always been a little fascinated by this vegetable because Jerusalem artichokes are not from Jerusalem, and they’re not even part of the artichoke family! They’re actually related to the sunflower.

Though not the most attractive dish it was sublime.  We only ordered one of these - big mistake!

Braised Snapper and Cuttlefish with Mussels, Chorizo and Tomato

For our larger dish we had a daily special - braised snapper with mussels.  This was a lovely dish.  The fish was very succulent, the tomato and chorizo delicious.

Santiago -  St James Tart with an Almond Milk Sorbet

We finished with the St James Tart.  This is a traditional almond cake so named to honour Santiago (St. James), the patron saint of Spain.

It was delicious, moist and gooey.   The almond milk sorbet was a refreshing accompaniment.

As I mentioned Movida definitely lived up to its hype.  The service was exceptional.  Casual yet professional and attentive. I can't wait to return to try more of the menu.  And hopefully some more of the
Jerusalem artichoke!!

 MoVida Bar de Tapas on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Taste of Melbourne 2012

Taste of Melbourne is an annual festival showcasing dishes from Melbourne's best restaurants.  This year's festival, (15-18 November), is being held at Albert Park for the first time and my sister and I went along to the Friday night session.  Many thanks to The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua for our tickets :)

The currency for Taste is Crowns.  

Each crown equals $1 and you can buy books of 10, 30 or 50 crowns.  Dishes are tapas sized and vary in price with most between 6 and 12 crowns. 

There are plenty of outlets offering wine tastings or you could buy a glass.  My glass of Laurent - Perrier champagne at 14 crowns was the most expensive purchase of the night. But so worth it.

We shared a number of different dishes. Our choices were sometimes dictated by the long queues for some restaurants.  If we couldn't see where the queue ended we moved on!

The Lamb burger with truffled mayonnaise from The Botanical (10 crowns).  This was very nice. We particularly liked the mayonnaise.  The bun could have been softer but overall a good start.

The crumbed pressed confit pork medallions with apple and fennel coleslaw also from The Botanical (8 crowns).  Delicious!  Succulent crumbed pork and crisp coleslaw.  Possibly our favourite of the night.

We caught part of a cooking demonstration by Philippa Sibley (Albert St Food & Wine), hosted by Chris Badenoch (Josie Bones).

A number of chefs are demonstrating over the weekend.

Next we had the Tempura king prawns with smoked chilli mayonnaise from Taxi Dining (10 crowns).  Yum.  The prawns were delicious, the tempura crunchy and the chilli mayonnaise was quite spicy.

Chilli trio dumplings (duck, pork and chicken) from Mahjong (8 crowns).  I love dumplings and these were delicious, however we couldn't really tell which was which!  The fillings all had a sameness about them.  But they were still lovely, fresh and spicy.

Christmas cake pops from Burch & Purchese.  So cute and tempting but we resisted!

Prawn Burger with Crustacean Aioli from The Aylesbury (10 crowns).  This was really tasty but a bit hard to eat. Again I would have liked a softer bun but that's just a personal preference.

Dorper Lamb ribs with pea and mint also from The Aylesbury (6 crowns).  These were really good.  The meat melted off the ribs.

And to finish, something sweet.  Warm chocolate mousse, toasted marshmallow and caramel popcorn from Livingroom (8 crowns).  This was very rich but surprisingly light.  I would have liked more of the caramel popcorn and the gooey marshmallow at the bottom of the cup was a nice surprise.  


We also tried the Summer berry Eton mess from Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar (6 crowns).  This was an interesting interpretation of this classic.  A strawberry mousse with beautiful fresh berries and crunchy meringue pieces.

Leaving with our freebies.. The Lilydale bag is actually a picnic blanket!  So cute.

The festival continues on Saturday and Sunday.  It can be an expensive event.  If you are not lucky enough to secure a free entry ticket the fee is $30 at the door or $25 if you purchase in advance and then you have to purchase your crowns. But it is a lot of fun and it is a great opportunity to try different restaurants.  I'll be back next year!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Red Ball 2012

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Red Ball - the annual fundraising ball for the Fight Cancer Foundation, (formerly the Bone Marrow Donor Institute)FCF originally founded with the aim of establishing an Australian bone marrow donor registry but after successfully achieving this some years ago it has broadened its scope to include other programs which support patients with leukaemia and other forms of cancer.

On a recent Saturday night approximately 1400 guests celebrated this milestone at the Crown Palladium ballroom.  In attendance were FCF patrons - Deborra-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman!  Hugh and an 18 piece orchestra performed numbers from his 'Back on Broadway" New York show.  It was a great night and Hugh was definitely the highlight!

The room looked stunning.  Each table had a gorgeous red centrepiece - all variations of the same theme and all donated by a generous South Yarra florist.  Our table was beautiful red gerberas.  One table had a gorgeous ball of red capsicums!

The drinks were flowing - wine, beer, champagne or strawberry daiquiris and the meal was beautiful. The wine, donated by Prancing Horse Estate, was superb.

Tandoori roasted chicken thigh and king prawn with vegetable and pineapple achar, mint chutney and yoghurt raita

The tandoori chicken entree was a delicious start with just the right amount of heatThe spicy prawn was a nice touch.

Lamb duo: grilled double cutlet and braised lamb shoulder with coconut sweet potato mash, buttered sugar snaps, port wine jus

Main course alternated between lamb and fish.

Hiramasa king fish on Parisian potato puree with grilled king prawn, tomato, artichoke and olive salsa, lemon beurre blanc

I had the fish and it was divine.  Sweet fish, creamy puree, a salsa with just the right amount of contrasting bite.  Those that had the lamb were equally impressed.  The lamb was perfectly cooked and was meltingly tender. No mean feat with such a large function.  A fresh salad accompanied the main courses.

Mesclun salad with shaved vegetables, tomato confit, fresh herbs and walnut dressing

 Dessert was a Custom Dessert platter.  Delicious little bites.

Sour cream chocolate cake, Lemon meringue tartlets, Raspberry curd tartlets, Fruit tartlets, Hazelnut chocolate mousse in chocolate cup
 And to finish - beautiful chocolates to enjoy with coffee.

But, by far the highlight of the night was the entertainment.  Hugh Jackman specifically! 
Hugh performed for about an hour and was warm, witty and engaging.

At one stage he was joined by his long time friend, Matt Hetherington, for a duet.  Matt, who was a contestant on 'The Voice' this year, also provided the entertainment at the end of the night in the adjoining River Room.

A number of celebrities were in attendance on the night.  House Husbands stars Firass Dirani and Leah de Niese, actress Kerry Armstrong and actress/singer Alyce Platt just to name a few.  All were very charming and happy to pose for photos.   

Firass Dirani

Leah de Niese

Hugh wowing the crowd!

Karl Stefanovic was MC for the event and did a great job.  As well as a silent auction which was held in the foyer, there was also a live auction conducted with items including a year of Donna Aston Personal Training and an Angus Breeding Bull!  

At the end of the live auction, music guru Molly Meldrum announced he would auction his hat, signed by himself, Elton John and Katy Perry. Molly added that the winner of the hat would have to come to his house to collect the prize and put up some Christmas decorations whilst they were there! Great to see Molly joking about his near fatal fall less than a year on!

Molly Meldrum and MC Karl Stefanovic
As mentioned earlier, the evening concluded with dancing in the River Room.  It was a wonderful night and I am already looking forward to next year!