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Monday, October 15, 2012

MoVida, Sydney

jamon serrano at movida sydney

It's here. After years of plane hopping to Melbourne, Sydneysiders now have a MoVida to call their own. Frank Camorra's long awaited expansion to Sydney has finally hit Surry Hills, opening in the former site of Jared Ingersoll's Cotton Duck on Holt Street.

dining room decor at movida sydney
Movida bench seating

The dining room has been given a complete overhaul, a cosy arrangement of cushioned timber booths, tables and bar seating anchored by a glassed-in kitchen that gives a sneak peek of all the action. There's plenty to look at, from the chalk-scrawled blackboard that wraps its way around the bar, to the gleaming cabinet groaning with fresh seafood and a glass display of hanging smallgoods, waiting to be eaten.

barcelona moritz lager at movida sydney0
Moritz lager Barcelona $9

The one page menu is split up into five sections: embutidos or cold meats; tapas; racion or entrees; a la parilla or from the grill; and verduras or vegetables. Half a dozen specials are listed on a separate print out. The wine list arrives as a bound compendium - there's a strong emphasis on Spanish wines of course, but I'm straight into the Moritz lager from Barcelona which is clean and refreshing.

anchoa anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet at movida sydney
Anchoa $4.50 each
Artisan Cantabrian anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet

But first, let's talk about the anchovy with tomato sorbet. If there's one signature dish by Camorra, surely it would be this one. Pairing tomatoes with anchovy isn't new, but it's the refinement of each component that makes this one such a winner on my books. It's the brittle crunch of the wafer against the delicate saltiness of the hand-filled Cantabrian anchovy fillet, and then the bewilderingly cold but silky smooth quenelle of smoky and sweet tomato sorbet, accented with salty pops of caper.

Our waitress takes pains to explain that the sorbet should be spread across the entire fillet. It glides effortlessly across, and really it's just as gloriously good as I remembered, that I order another one for dessert.  Seriously.

manchego custard at movida sydney
Caldo $7
Manchego custard with burnt onion and truffle consomme

The caldo, or Manchego custard, is like a Spanish riff on Japanese chawanmushi, a gentle huddle of slippery soft egg custard tinted with the rich saltiness of Manchego cheese.

manchego custard at movida sydney
Manchego custard 

My only quibble would be that the truffle oil is a little overwhelming and unnecessary, but otherwise it's a sexy sensual dish.

oyster kilpatrick at movida sydney
Ostra al Microhondas $6 each
Oyster Kilpatrick

Camorra isn't afraid to mix things up on the menu. Lex's oyster kilpatrick is nothing like you'd expect, served out of the shell and garnished with a crisp sliver of jamon.

smoked prawn at movida sydney
Gamba ahumada $7 each
House smoked South Australian prawn with piquillo peppers and bortagga

Similarly, the house smoked prawn comes elaborately plated, propped up with salty slices of cured mullet roe. The prawn itself has an incredible smokiness although the generous dusting of paprika tends to stick to the tongue.

jamon serrano at movida sydney
Jamon serrano $16
Duroc 50gram

Suze is all about the jamon, and while we're happy about the fattiness of each paper thin slice, it seems a shame the ribbons have been cut into tiny squares while a hunk of bruschetta has to broken into more manageable pieces.

wagyu beef air baguette at movida sydney
Bocata de buey $12 each
Air baguette, roast beef wagyu, tocino de cielo, pickled and black garlic

And then there's the undeniable prettiness of the wagyu beef air baguette, draped with fatty slices of meat and decorated with a garden of edible flowers, chives and bursts of black garlic.

beef cheek at movida sydney
Carrillera $24
Beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez with cauliflower puree

We move onto more substantial fare with beef cheek, slow cooked with Pedro Ximenez sherry until soft and unctuous. The gravy is a highlight, but so too is the cauliflower puree, pale and wondrously creamy and smoother than a baby's cheek.

madrid tripe at movida sydney
Callos $18
Tripe cooked in traditional Madrid style with chickpeas, chorizo, tomato and a touch of spice

The callos, or tripe, tastes just like the kind of dish your Spanish grandma would make, a heartwarming serving of chickpeas, chorizo slices and treasures of tender tripe cooked in a rich tomato sauce.

patatas bravas at movida sydney
Patatas bravas con mojo $14 each
Smoked potato bravas with faux bacon dust served with mojo picon

I'd been intrigued by the patatas bravas, mostly because of the promise of faux bacon dust. The faux bacon dust is made from dehydrated soy, and it does have a salty umami flavour but I'm more obsessed with the mojo picon, a red pepper sauce that is deeply smoky and soul-satisfying.

crispy pigs ears at movida sydney
Orejas $13
Crispy pigs ears with guindillas

Crispy pigs ears are another standout dish. Where pigs ears elsewhere are so often deep-fried to a indiscernible crunch, here they're sandwiched between parmesan crisps and fried so there's still a tacky chewy resistance - in a good way. These are so moreishly good Suze orders another round for dessert.

baby squid stuffed with black rice at movida sydney
Calamares relleno $19
Local baby squid stuffed with black rice

We conclude our mains with the baby squid stuffed with black rice, so tiny they look like they've been kidnapped while still in kindergarten. The squid look more like mini rocket ships but they are enviably tender, stuffed with a fragrant squid ink black rice, interspersed with grains of puffed rice that add textural crunch.

creme caramel at movida sydney
Flan $14.50
Creme caramel served with pestinos

We finish with creme caramel, elegantly smooth and cooked to a perfect wobble. It's simple but masterfully executed, and worth fighting over the last spoonful.

There's no doubting MoVida will be a hit - it's worth arriving before 6pm if you don't have a dinner booking. Some dishes are a little on the pricey side but there's enough creativity and value to keep you fed well if you order wisely.

movida sydney

View Larger Map
MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

50 Holt Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8964 7642

Opening hours:
Monday 5pm til late
Tuesday to Friday 12 til late
Saturday 5pm til late
Sunday closed

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
MoVida Aqui, Melbourne
37 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/15/2012 12:00:00 am


  • At 10/14/2012 11:56 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    mmm them pigs ears! MORE PIGS EARS!

  • At 10/15/2012 12:15 am, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    I had lunch at Movida Aqui in Melbourne and agree with you about the anchoa - such a creative and memorable burst of flavours and textures in the mouth, I can still taste it!

  • At 10/15/2012 12:50 am, Anonymous Alex said…

    Every single dish looks absolutely delicious. It's a pity Portugal is so far away. :)

  • At 10/15/2012 2:30 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Pigs' ears and chicken wings - the two dishes I struggle to get my head around because we always fed them to my dog. ;)

    P.S. This does look fabulous, but sometimes I think I really just want to eat chiffon cake again with you. xo

  • At 10/15/2012 6:07 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Mannnn, this is food porn fest! I think I might change my melb booking now to acqui!

  • At 10/15/2012 8:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You've wet my appetite! I'm going for lunch on Friday, soo excited! My friend is mad for pigs ears so she will be pretty happy with those I think.

  • At 10/15/2012 8:10 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Great line up of food there, Helen! The other half has been hinting that we need to get to MoVida sometime. Just wait until he reads your review!

  • At 10/15/2012 8:20 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    I've heard good things about Movida! You make everything look very tasty :D

  • At 10/15/2012 9:10 am, Anonymous billy@a table for two said…

    Ahh I still remember our outing at Movida Aqui many years back and good to see the Sydney branch is just as good. my heart sings for the anchovy and tomato sorbet!

  • At 10/15/2012 9:10 am, Anonymous billy@a table for two said…

    Ahh I still remember our outing at Movida Aqui many years back and good to see the Sydney branch is just as good. my heart sings for the anchovy and tomato sorbet!

  • At 10/15/2012 9:28 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    This palce opened up while I was on vacation. Think I need to hit it up, stat! Everything looks fan-friggen-tastic. I've always wanted to go to the one in melbourne too. Stuff that, we got one in sydney now :)

  • At 10/15/2012 9:37 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    I've never been to any of the Melbourne ones (and not for lack of trying...) Very keen to see the northern outpost ;)

  • At 10/15/2012 9:38 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Can't wait to try out Movida in Sydney. I *just* visited the Melbourne Movida for the first time last month...love all the dishes!

  • At 10/15/2012 10:44 am, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    I've never been to MoVida but you pretty much have me convinced I need to go! That caldo looks epic..

  • At 10/15/2012 11:05 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    wow! im excited! no more plane hopping for this!

  • At 10/15/2012 11:05 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    wow! im excited! no more plane hopping for this!

  • At 10/15/2012 11:19 am, Anonymous OohLookBel said…

    It all looks so fab, can't wait to try it. And at least it will stop me going on and on about how fantastic Movida Melbourne is!

  • At 10/15/2012 11:37 am, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    I've been dying to try Movida and unfortunately they were booked on our last visit. I cant wait to try the Sydney space :)
    Gorgeous shots!

  • At 10/15/2012 12:00 pm, Anonymous Corrie@Brisbane Devoured said…

    Still have to plane hop unfortunately being from Brisbane, but at least now I have the choice of Sydney or Melbourne! Pity about that jamon being cut up... I love folding a long piece over and over and shoving it all into my mouth.

  • At 10/15/2012 12:47 pm, Blogger Mandy said…

    mmm pig ears! great photos!

  • At 10/15/2012 1:29 pm, Blogger Jacq said…

    So exciting that we have a Movida in Sydney now! It seems like there are lots of dishes that are unique to this branch, but it's also good to see that anchoa and PX beef cheeks have made it here too!

  • At 10/15/2012 2:02 pm, Anonymous Eha said…

    Saw Comorra on TV screen within the last week: was it with Rick Stein? Tres sympatique! Good eating: on my bucket list next time in Sydney - thanks, Helen :) !

  • At 10/15/2012 3:32 pm, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I wish I ordered the Anchoa now! LOL. And I agree it sounds like a dessert also. Still, we loved our choices for dessert. :-)

  • At 10/15/2012 3:41 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    I love the anchoa!! so glad to hear they have opened in Sydney so i dont have to travel to Melb for it!

    everything looks fab!

  • At 10/15/2012 5:53 pm, Anonymous gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I'm glad all of you lucky food bloggers who have already eaten there have ordered different dishes. Now I know what to expect :)

  • At 10/15/2012 9:57 pm, Blogger onita said…

    Definitely need to visit MoVida asap after indulging in your food photographs! *

  • At 10/15/2012 11:18 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Will any of you Sydneysiders come to visit Melbourne anymore now that you have your own Movida? I hope so! Looks like the northern outpost is living up to its siblings reputation.

  • At 10/16/2012 12:01 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    I can't wait to visit to try the food. As you said long time coming, but it's here.

  • At 10/16/2012 9:59 am, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    Glad to hear Camorra has finally opened up shop! Might save me a trip to Melbourne. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • At 10/17/2012 12:11 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Hannah - Awww me too! And chicken wings are my favourite - after the thighs!

    Hi John - Can't wait until I read yours :)

    Hi Billy - An awesome night :)

    Hi Tina - It's only been open a fortnight and yes, so great it's now here in Sydney!

    Hi Tina - I hear you. Have tried several times to get into various MoVidas in Melbourne with limited success.

    Hi Nic - Thanks. Daylight saving makes dinner dining much more photo-friendly :)

    Hi Corrie - Oh yes I agree. I love savouring jamon all on its own, and tearing it by hand is half the fun.

    Hi Jacq - Yes we made a pretty good dent in the menu! lol

    Hi Joey - You will definitely have to order the anchoa next time!

    Hi Gaby - Ha yes menu previews are always handy when restaurant researching!

    Hi Cara - Don't worry, we still love Melbourne :)

  • At 10/18/2012 11:44 pm, Anonymous JasmyneTea said…

    Ooooh, now I'm imagining a school of little squid in kindergarten :(
    Lol, the food looks divine! I'll be visiting soon!

  • At 10/19/2012 2:47 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    What stunning photos. - a gorgeous place to visit.

  • At 10/19/2012 6:40 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Oh wow, that looks amazing!

    I have to ashamedly put my hand up and say: I'm a Melbournian who hasn't been to Movida yet. Eep. Will remedy that soon, hehe!

    xox Sarah

  • At 10/19/2012 10:16 pm, Anonymous Elliot @ Musings of a Young Gourmet said…

    Wonderful post Helen!I made Frank's mijon picon sauce lately and it was devine. I hope he decides to open up an eatery in Brisbane. It would be great. Beautiful photos as well! :)

  • At 10/19/2012 11:35 pm, Anonymous Adrian (Food Rehab) said…

    Creme caramel. Enough said. hihihi

    I can always count on you to braaang on the meat and dessert.

    OMG You must be super glad movida has arrived!!!

  • At 10/20/2012 6:58 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    WOW!!! That is an amazing meal!! Good on you for sampling so much of the menu :0

    So many of the dishes look temptingly good, I will have to bookmark it for my next Sydney stay.

  • At 10/21/2012 9:39 am, Anonymous Chompchomp said…

    What stunningly plated dishes. The exquisite attention to detail and quality of the ingredients. And photographed beautifully too


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