A Winter Food Weekend in Melbourne - Part One

The latter element was inexplicably delicious with a strong hit of tomato sweetness upfront that subdued the palate with the icy texture.

There’s something quintessentially Melbourne about rugging up in layers, braving the bracing air, and walking the city’s streets in search of a winter food adventure. 

With so much to see, do, discover and taste it’s guaranteed you won’t stay cold for long.  

Friday Night | A Spanish Inquisition 

We landed early on Friday evening and made our way immediately to our accommodation, the conveniently located Adina Apartments on Queen Street. First on our agenda… Dinner!  

I was desperate to try MoVida on Hoiser Lane. Making a conscious effort to call three weeks in advance I was told that there was no space. Disappointment was an understatement. However the booking agent informed me that there was still availability at MoVida Aqui (pictured) on Bourke Street. I locked it in immediately. 

Unsure as to the restaurant’s exact location, a distinctive giant bright red light box, (hello Melbourne street art influence!) inscribed with “MoVida” vertically in white, directed us to a scene of gas-fire heaters, greenery and the rumblings of a Friday night just getting underway. 

Inside the air was warm and rich with the smell of fresh citrus and wine (sangria) and platters of jamon Serrano and tapas. Hipsters sipping house specialty cocktails, Spanish wines and Moritz Lager flanked the restaurant’s large communal bar. We joined them and ordered two Pisco Sours  a dangerously easy-to-drink, tangy and sweet combination of Pisco, citrus and bitters, topped with a frothy egg white... the perfect aperitif to begin our journey into the realms of Spanish cuisine.  

We were seated at our table, and left to navigate the complex page of mostly Spanish and indulge in crunchy sourdough and fresh pressed olive oil with salt flakes. We took our waiter’s recommendation of ordering tapas and some larger raciones (share plates). 

We began with the Anchoa  Cantabrian anchovy served with smoked tomato sorbet. The latter element was inexplicably delicious with a strong hit of tomato sweetness upfront that subdued the palate with the icy texture.  Next came the Gambas Alcachofas  a plate of king prawns with semolina fried artichoke, apple and pil pil sauce. Then the Alboronia  Andalucian spiced pumpkin, eggplant and quince. Lastly the Butifarra, the hands-down winner in our books  a dish of house-made Catalonian pork and pepper sausage with chickpeas and morcilla (black pudding). 

After the savoury raciones plates we cast our eyes over the postre (dessert) menu. The traditional Churros con Chocolate was there, however we opted for the Pan con Chocolate and the Helados  salted chocolate and pistachio cigar with olive oil mousse, and a selection of homemade ice-creams (honey and saffron, boysenberry and goat’s cheese and verbena sorbet) respectively. 

They came out swiftly and were presented to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. Sadly the chocolate and pistachios overpowered the mild olive oil mousse in the Pan con Chocolate and I ended up sucking the mousse out of the cigar to savour on its own. The Helados however, proved to be a hit. The goat’s cheese and verbena sorbet was zingy, lemony, salty and slightly creamy, and best described as pure bliss. 

Check back next week to read part two of Mimi’s food adventure, which explores early-morning, eco-friendly and European-influenced Melbourne. 

Read more musing by Mimi Hyll online at Mimi Must Try.   

Words by Mimi Hyll - Published 22 July 2013
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 3.73 million
Area 2,254 km2
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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