Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Melbourne Eating: Movida Next Door

 Feel like eating some delicious tapas in a warm, convivial atmosphere?
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
MoVida Next Door on Urbanspoon

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.


  1. The restaurant looks grand! I like the food served there too.

  2. A more than three week wait?!?!? that's crazy stuff. At least you got a taste at Movida. sounds delicious!

  3. Love the use of sardine tins for the mussels, looks great. Will have to check this place out when I'm in town next

  4. Mmm looks like a great alternative to Movida, I could do with a serving of hot churros and chocolate right now! This weather is atrocious at the moment :(

  5. Haha those Balenciaga bags do look good enough to eat! I hope to go to Movida one day *sigh*

  6. wow more than 3 weeks? and hot damn the jamon and the churros look fab!

  7. Sounds like a delicious place to eat. And their presentation is lovely.

  8. Yes.. the restaurant and cafe scene in Melb is a litte ridiculous! Everyone is eating out... so hard to get a table..... Glad you enjoyed it. I have not been... can you believe it?

  9. Jealous much!! ... missed out on going to Movida last time I was in Melb!! will definately have to go.. all the dishes just look phenomenal!

  10. 3 weeks? Quay in Sydney is booked out on Saturdays until April 2011!!!

  11. I really liked Movida next door (although I have not tried the amin store) our waiter was awesomely friendly and hilarious hee hee

  12. Your comment about the dipping chocolate being easy to drink cracked me up! For I am forever spooning the last bits of melted chocolate out of little cups =p

  13. Oh dear god I must try that anchovy!!! I also love the idea of the mussels being served in the little tin. I love those tins :)