Sunday, July 5, 2009

My MoVida Experience

My parents visited last month, and I was deciding where to bring them for dinner, and MoVida came across my mind. I've never had Spanish food before, and since I've been reading about the good reviews everywhere including The Age Good Food Guide and from my colleagues, I decided it would be a great opportunity to try it out.

I was really surprised when I called MoVida to make a booking. They had the whole automated answering machine (eg. please press 1 if you want to make a booking/2 if you want to change your booking etc.) system going on, even Flower Drum didn't have that! I called them in early May, and their weekend tables were booked out until mid August, while their weekdays table were booked out til early June. I managed to get a table for 6 in mid June, and with this big group, we were requested to choose the set menu which included chef's selection of '10 best of the best' for $60 each excluding drinks/desserts. That was fine with me since it would be my first time having Spanish food, I would not know what the best dishes are to order anyway, so it was best to leave the selections in the hands of the chef.

After 1.5 month wait, expectations built up! MoVida is tucked away in a little lane called Hosier Lane with Graffitied walls. The restaurant is dark with a buzzling atmosphere. Service was great, the waiter that served us was very polite and attentive.

Complimentary bread to get our digestive system moving while we anxiously wait for the first dish. The white bread was very ordinary, but the sour dough was great.

Hand filleted Cantabrian artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet
I enjoyed the sorbet, but the anchovy was way too salty for my liking.

A Spanish beer to complement the meals imported by our very own MoVida!

Croqueta: Fried silky croquette flavoured with leek and mahon cheese.
This may seemed like an ordinary dish, but it was done very well. The crouton is nice and crispy on the outside, and rich and creamy on the inside. The outside was not soggy, and did not leave any oily after taste.

Spiced chicken escabache tapa on crisp crouton.
This was a cold dish, creamy yet light. The crouton's crispy texture complemented it very well.

Roasted Spring Bay scallop with jamon and potato foam
This was quite nice, though I'd have preferred it more without the roe.

Tom Cooper's smoked spanish mackerel with pine nut gazpacho sorbet
This was my favorite dish of the night! Lovely texture with beautiful flavors!

Air cured wagyu beef thinly sliced with a truffle foam and poached egg
The egg was perfectly poached with runny center. The waiter demonstrated how the dish was meant to be eaten. Mixed the egg yolk, foam, and the sliced wagyu beef together. The saltiness of the air cured wagyu with the creaminess of the egg yolk turns out to be a perfect combination!

Roasted lamb cutlets
I'm not a fan of lamb, hence this dish did not appeal to me, but my family seemed to enjoy it.

Roasted Veal.
The texture of the veal was very tender

Sauteed spinach with chickpeas & spices
This dish reminds of Indian cuisine. By this dish, we were all extremely full and did not manage to finish it.

I don't remember what this dish was called but it was like fish quiche with goat's cheese on tortilla base. I found this dish to be a bit too rich for the last dish as we were all very full.

Overall, I did enjoy my experience at MoVida, and will definitely miss some of the dishes I've had, but if you ask me whether it was worth the 1.5 month wait, I might have some doubt about that. Do try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

MoVida Melbourne
Open daily, Noon to late.
1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne, 3000 (Melways: Map 1, B12)
Phone (03) 9663 3038. Office open 10am- 6pm, Mon-Fri.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dinner with Thai Food Bloggers @ D.O.C. on Lygon

I've been extremely behind in my blogging, it's time to catch up!

Beansprout's Cafe or Ja dropped by Melbourne during the Easter break, so we all thought it would be a good idea to meet up with other food bloggers as well. We decided to try out D.O.C. Even thought it was a Wednesday night, the place was still packed! Thank god Ja made a reservation, or else it would probably be quite hard to find seats for so many of us.

D.O.C specializes in pizzas so their menu offers a wide range of different types of pizzas. If you are looking forward to eat some pasta then you'd probably be disappointed as the only other things they have other than pizzas are probably cheese tasting plate and salads. We decided to pick a few pizzas with different toppings to share between us.

The waitress that served us that night was very friendly and enthusiastic which adds to the nice and cozy atmosphere.

The first dish that arrived was the tasting plate of 3 different Mozzarella: Australian Fior Di Latte, Italian Buffalo Mozzarella, and Australian Scamoza (lightly smoked). I'm not a gourmet cheese fan, and hence these did not really appeal to me. They tasted slightly lighter than I'd expected.

Pizza San Daniele with Buffalo mozzarella, tomato, and San Daniele Prosciutto.
I enjoyed this as it was very refreshing and lighter than the other pizzas.

I don't recall what this pizza was anymore, so Ja, feel free to help me out :)
From memory though, it tasted a bit like Italian sausage.

Pizza Tiger Prawns C/ tomato, mozarella, endive, and fresh chilli
This is slightly on the spicy side, which added another dimension to the meal.

Pizza al Porcini C/ wild mushrooms, truffle oil, and morzarella in bianco
I think this is one of my favorite pizzas compared to the rest as I could really taste the truffle oil.

Pizza Capricciosa Nuova C/tomato, leg ham, mushroom, artichoke, and olives.

Rich Tiramusu!

Gelato, these were nice!

My favorite dessert for the night! The chocolate pizza!
I think it's a pizza dough topped with caramelized white chocolate, strawberries, and vanilla icecream drizzled with chocolate if I remembered correctly. This was simple, yet tasty. Definitely better than Max Brenner's Chocolate Pizza.

Overall, it was a great night to catch up with other fellow food bloggers, try new dishes, discuss about food, and take pictures of food as if there were no tomorrow! Their pizzas were not bad, however they did not give me the 'wow' factor. Their desserts, on the other hand, would probably be bringing me back!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dinner @ Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ

After my friend asked me if I were interested in this Korean BBQ restaurant that's supposedly the best in Melbourne, I did not hesitate to join! When I arrive there, the atmosphere just screamed 'authentic Korean food' to me, and judging by the amount of Koreans queuing up for the seats, I'm sure they would also agree.

I was quite fascinated by the whole BBQ with the top ventilator set up. I have seen them in Bangkok and Korea, but not many Korean BBQ restaurant in Melbourne offered these things (Well, at least not the ones I've been to). The waiters were quite friendly, but the service was quite slow as the whole restaurant was extremely packed. Booking is definitely a must if you want to try this place out!

Eating at Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ gave me a slightly different touch to the whole Korean food experience as this restaurant offers slightly different side dishes. I do recommend their Seafood Pancake which my friends and I demolished in 30 seconds of it landing on the table. Do not forget to dip it into the accompanying dipping sauce when eating!

They also have this button for customers to press if they need assistance from the waiters/waitresses but I did not end up trying it. If anyone has tried it, you can tell me whether it really works.

Spicy Kimchi soup with Tofu

They also offered lettuce to eat with the Bulgogi which some other Korean restaurants in Melbourne lacked of! The rice was slightly different as well as it was a mixture of unbleached /bleached rice which made me feel less guilty

one of the many interesting side dishes

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ and would definitely go back again!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My First attempt at Hot Cross Bun

It's Easter holiday here in Melbourne and I always see advertisements for hot cross buns in almost all bakeries which inspired me to try my hands on hot cross buns. I got my recipe from but modified the recipe to use chocolate chips instead of the currants to suit my friends' taste buds.

I was not that satisfied with the results of my hot cross buns as I thought it tasted a bit bland even though I've added extra spices that asked for in the original recipe. If anyone else have a really good recipe for Hot Cross Bun, please do share them with me :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A fulfilling Dinner @ Hanabishi, Melbourne

After reading a lot of good reviews from the press and ravings from friends who have been to Hanabishi, I decided to try it out with three other friends on Monday. One of them have previously been to Hanabishi and was one of the reason why I wanted to try it out, so we let him have the honor of ordering the meal .

We made a reservation and arrived around 6:30pm at the restaurant where we were the first customer. The decoration of the restaurant was very simple, but I guess its main focus is on its food, not the atmosphere. Though I've heard quite a bit of complaints about their service being slow, I was quite happy with the level of service I've received as the waitress was friendly and attentive. This may be due to the fact that it was a Monday night and the restaurant was not that busy, but I would certainly hope to see more waitresses if the restaurant gets more crowded.

The first dish that arrived was a complimentary appetizer, which was a mini meatball soaked in slightly sweet soy based sauce. The meatball was a mixture of beef and pork, it was flavorful and moist.

Mini Appetizer, Meat ball, Japanese style.

Our next dish was Scampi Sashimi with Yuzu Sauce. This was probably the first time I've had raw scampi as I'm not a big fan of raw food, but since we were at a restaurant so famous for its raw fish, I decided to give it a go. It was very refreshing indeed! Almost as good as the Scallop Sashimi I had at Gunther's in Singapore.

Scampi Sashimi with Yuzu Sauce (Japanese citrus) topped with Japanese herbs.
The freshness of the scampi was outstanding, the Yuzu sauce also gave an interesting flavor to it.

Quick Seared Tuna With Onion Sauce
This arrived right after the Scampi Sashimi and at the same time as the Scampi Mino Age, so I decided to leave it until the end and go for the hot Scampi Mino Age before it turns soggy. I think I left it too long that the seared part of it became a bit dry. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually preferred the fresh one!

Scampi Mino Age
This dish was scampi wrapped in shredded potato and deep fried until crisp, it was very light and crispy.

The next dish was a small size of Chef's choice assorted Sashimi which was served on bamboo boats over ice dish. The presentation was beautiful, but the portion was quite small so we ordered a Moriawase to satisfy our cravings.

The Sashimi consisted of Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna and was amazingly fresh. I'm not normally a fan of raw fish either but the quality of the fish here was so outstanding that I actually enjoyed eating it!

Next up was the deep-fried soft shell crab which I was not as good as I'd expected. I'm quite particular about my soft shell crab and the best one I've had so far was in Singapore. I did not like the taste of the internal cavity of the soft shell crab here but my friends loved it.

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

This dish consisted of assorted sashimi, nigiri and sushi rolls. The sushi rolls were spicy tuna maki and spanner crab maki. Despite the amazingly fresh fish slices, I was slightly disappointed with the makis. The rice was too mushy was for my liking and did not hold together as well. I wasn't sure if this was on purpose.

Black cod is probably one my favorite fish ever and one restaurant that cooks it very well is Shin Taro in Bangkok. The Black cod with Miso sauce here was decent, it was not as good as I'd hope as the miso sauce gave the fish a slightly fishy after taste.

Black Cod with Miso

Gyu Sashimi or Beef Sashimi
I did not find this dish particularly special, especially after being spoiled by the Kobe Sashimi in Japan.

Awabi Croquette (Abalone croquette)

We underestimated the size of this dish and ordered four portions! We were shocked when the waitress delivered it to our table and I had trouble finishing it as it was so rich. The abalone croquette was served with Tonkatsu sauce to help tone down the richneess of the croquette. The presentation was beautiful but I would've preferred it if it were served in smaller portion so that there is a higher crispy crust vs rich filling ratio.

After the heavy meal, we decided to try out the Hanabishi signature assorted desserts.

Hanabishi Deluxe
9 assorted desserts served on top of a beautiful serving plate filled with ice.

The deluxe plate consisted of Creme Brulee, Mango Pudding, Almond Jelly, Chocolate Cake, fruit salad, kiwi jelly, vanilla custard, and assorted ice cream and sorbet. The desserts were refreshing, but wasn't mind blowing for me. The chocolate cake was very normal for me.

Green Tea Ice cream, Coconut Sorbet and Calpis Sorbet.

Green Tea Ice cream with Red bean and jelly in sweet syrup

My friends still had more room for more desserts and since we did not enjoy all the desserts, we decided to order the green tea ice cream with red bean and jelly in sweet syrup which was a good pick.

Overall it was a beautiful dinner, though the price is definitely on the high side. Do try out Hanabishi for a special occasion or when you are craving quality, authentic Japanese food!