Ritsy and I went to dinner at MoVida Aqui last month. It was the first time we had been there since the great launch event for MoVida Rustica that Richard Cornish and Frank Camorra ran last year.
The room was packed for a rainy wintry Wednesday night, and the few brave walk-ins were being turned away. This is testament to the MoVida empire.
For the past 3 years it’s been notoriously difficult to secure a reservation at MoVida (the original). Even with MoVida Next Door and MoVida Aqui opening, it hasn’t really changed. Friday or Saturday nights are booked out around 2 months in advance – we were lucky enough to be going on a Wednesday night and they just managed to squeeze the three of us in.
So why is it so popular? It’s really no surprise – the food is thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully varied, and well executed. It’s also actually pretty reasonably priced, too.
MoVida Aqui is much the same as the original restaurant, except it’s quite a lot bigger, and therefore a lot less squashy. They share a fair bit of the menu, so it doesn’t really matter which one you go to – my advice is to go to whichever restaurant can fit you in!
We started our meal with the Bomba – “Catalan Potato bomb filled with chorizo”. Filled with fluffy mashed potato and chunks of chorizo, they are an absolute must-have item.
Following the Bomba’s was a meltingly tender “Confit Pork Belly with Quince and Preserved Peppers”. Upon ordering this dish, the waiter mentioned that there is usually only two pieces per serve, and that he could arrange another piece to be plated if we desired (there were three of us dining together that night). It’s this sort of thoughtfulness you can expect from the well drilled staff at any MoVida.
We opted for the extra piece, and I was very happy that we did – it had wonderfully thin crispy crackling on top and the pureed quince worked really well with it.
Our side dishes arrived next – “Crispy fried potatoes with spicy brava sauce” and “Endive, fennel and artisan tuna salad” – the bravas were perhaps not as crisp as I would have liked, but the flavour was good – it had a nice hit of smoked paprika. The salad was nice and refreshing, although it would have been nice if the portion was a bit more generous. Lettuce isn’t exactly expensive, after all.
Next up was some Pesce from the daily specials list. We had the Wild Barramundi with Tasmanian Surf Clams, which was cooked to perfection, the clams free of grit and quite large.
Our final savoury course was the “Duck Liver with Pedro Ximenez Foam and toasted Brioche” – the rich duck livers literally melted in your mouth in an almost pate-like consistency. Yum!
Desserts were pretty good too. I had the Churros (the dipping chocolate is quite milky here – I prefer it to be closer to melted chocolate), and Ritsy had the “Poached Pear with Carajillo ice-cream and Almond Praline”. Both were probably unnecessary as we felt sick from having so much food afterwards!
All in all it was another great meal at MoVida Aqui. At just under $200 for 3 people, including 3 Sangria’s and two Alhambra beer’s, it’s pretty reasonable too.