MoVida is one of those places you’ll find on every ‘Essential Melbourne’ list. As such we went in with fairly high expectations. Unfortunately we left feeling a bit underwhelmed. We ordered the Prawns in Cider, Sucking Lamb, Beef Cheek, Wet rice with rabbit, Potato ‘Bombas’ and the ‘Calamari Sandwhiches’.
Firstly a few little things that bugged me. It took at least ten minutes from being seated to being handed menus. It felt a little long and being the hungry folk we were, it wasn’t appreciated. Likewise when we finally got around to ordering we stated that we’d start with the ‘Bombas’ (as they were the ‘lightest’ dish, perhaps a good precursor to the proteins). Unfortunately they actually brought out the lamb first. Only a small quibble, but still it bugged me.
Taste wise the standout dish of the night was the Lamb. Succulent, accompanied by a beautifully seasoned salsa. Just really nice. Unfortunately there were only four (small) pieces between the five of us ($20~) so there wasn’t more than a mouthful each.
The prawns were another twenty something dollar dish. There were three prawns which were unanimously agreed by the table to be ‘meh’. Overpriced and lacking in taste.
The beef cheek was as I remembered – lovely and tender. Unfortunately the cauliflower puree was crying out for salt. There was none on the table and it was impossible to get the staff’s attention to ask for some.
Wet rice with rabbit. This dish was another ‘meh’ moment. If I served this to my friends at a dinner party I hosted I’d be embarrassed. This was a $46 (small) dish of what really just a risotto with too much chicken stock, 1 piece of rabbit and three small portions of chicken. The only saviour to this dish was the lemon wedges that came a few minutes after the rice. The acidity cut through the saltiness. But overall we were left hungry and unimpressed.
I actually enjoyed the Bombas. The accompanying sauce was lovely and smokey and the Bombas were nice and light. The Calamari sandwiches though frustrated me. $6.50 for a couple of strips of calamari with mayo & a bit of chilli in a dry tiny roll. Everyone seems to love these but I don’t get the hype. I’d probably enjoy it more at a bar with a beer, but definitely wouldn’t be paying more than $5 for it.
Overall the night had two bright points, the smooth sangria, and the lamb. Everything else just left us feeling pretty eh. In the end the tourists who go there to experience ‘melbourne’ will probably enjoy it. “Oh, a hatted restaurants with milk crates!”. But for the local foodie, there are so many better, cheaper options out there. Why would you bother.
12/20. 60%. Missed the mark most of the time. Service was pretty average.