Feel like eating some delicious tapas in a warm, convivial atmosphere?
Then Movida Next Door is for you.
Then Movida Next Door is for you.
Weeks prior to our Melbourne trip, I was my usual prepared self and had booked
i) cheap flights,
ii) decent accommodation in the city centre, and
iii) tables at the city's most popular restaurants.
Well, two out of three ain't bad.
Some restaurants are popular for a reason, and I found that booking 3 weeks in advance (for a weeknight) was not enough - for example, Press Club and Movida were both fully booked (GFC? What GFC?). Fortunately both these restaurants have casual offshoots nearby, so my plan B was to visit Movida's little sister, Movida Next Door. Yes, it's cleverly(?) named because it's next door to the original Movida in Hosier Lane, opposite Federation Square.
Because of our late lunch at HuTong, we were happy to dine a bit later, so we landed on Movida Next Door's doorstep a little after 8pm. There were 2 seats available at the bar, and this set the scene for most of our meals on this Melbourne trip - sit at the bar/counter and share dishes.
Movida Next Door is popular with the after-work office crowd, and also single diners, because the dishes are small (serves one). There's a quite extensive menu, with imported beers and wine a feature. We had an Alhambra and a Moritz ($9 each).
Sitting at the bar gave us the opportunity to covertly observe the other diners, and everyone looked like they were having a fun old time. The fantastic food may have had something to do with it. This is what we had:
(from top to bottom, left to right): Escabache Mussels (mussels in vinegar) ($16) served in a sardine can with toasted bread; special of Scallops in shell ( $5 each); Anchoa con Mato (Cantabrian anchovy with fresh curd) ($4.50); Bomba (chorizo-filled Catalan potato bomb with spicy sauce) ($4.50 each).
My favourite of these was the anchovy, as the fresh curd was cold and refreshing against the salty fish. But really, the other dishes were all really good, also.
We also had Gamba a la plancha con refrito (flat-grilled prawn with garlic and chilli) ($3), and the Jamon Iberico Paletilla ($25). Can I just say that the jamon was INCREDIBLE - melt-in-the-mouth front-leg ham that had been aged for 24 months. It was served with pan Catalan, which is bread topped with tomato, like bruschetta. There is another Spanish ham available, Jamon Serrano ($14), but my decision to go with the pricier option certainly paid off.
To finish, I had Churros con Chocolate (Spanish doughnuts with rich drinking chocolate) ($10). The churros were not too oily, and hot. The chocolate wasn't too rich and easy to drink, after dunking the churros.
The staff at Movida Next Door are great, friendly and efficient, getting the job done in a room that is quite small with not much room to move. The kitchen is also tiny, and it churns out the wonderful food at a snapping pace. In the end, I was glad that we missed out on Movida proper, as this dining experience more than made up for it.
The Vibe: Unpretentious, friendly place for a bite after work. Fantastic food and service. I wish I could eat here every night (or every second night).
Movida Next Door is on the corner of Flinders Street and Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Vic.
No bookings. Closed Sunday and Monday. http://movida.com.au/next_door.html
Hosier Lane, where Movida is situated, is one of the more famous laneways for street art in Melbourne. I was disappointed to see that the works by French graffitti artist fafi that I loved a few years ago have been painted over, with the new art not quite up to its standard.
A stroll down to the Chanel and Miss Louise boutiques in Collins Street later gave the opportunity to view art of a different type. Check out the adorable Chanel 'take away' bag. And the Balenciaga motorcycle bags in sorbet colours are good enough to eat.
Do our meals on Day 2 measure up to our first day? Cumulus Inc and Coda both have stellar reputations, so stay tuned to find out.