Sydney’s hottest restaurant is an import from - gasp - Melbourne

Mm hm. It’s true. Movida, set up on the old Cotton Duck site just down from Izakaya Fujiyama, is the off-shoot of a four-part restaurant leviathan in Melbourne. There’s Movida, Movida Next Door, Movida Aqui, Movida at the airport and then all the other stuff: the bakery, the books and the food store. And now chef Frank Camorra and Andy McMahon’s successful brand of Spanishosity has found its way to Sydney. It’s good, too.  

You’ll be waiting a while for a table, and ringing up for a booking seems more difficult than just turning up (the message on Movida's machine when Time Out rang for a Friday booking said the office was closed, and to just turn up at the restaurant). That said, you wouldn’t want to roll up any later than six or any earlier than nine with a group any larger than four. Even then, chances are you’ll be queuing. Yes, they really are that busy. And yes, it really is worth it.  
 
Nab a seat at the bar if possible, for maximum fun and credit card carnage. Brent Rolton (ex-Longrain in Melbourne), for instance, pretty much manages to amp up the fun in the room by at least 20 per cent just by standing there. But they’re all incredibly adept at making you want a top up that glass of Equipo Navazos sherry or order that extra Moritz beer. 

The food is perfectly suited to grazing, picking and chatting. Deliver a two-part monologue while gesturing with a creamy, crunchy salt cod croquette. Tell someone off armed with a slice of grilled bread rubbed with tomato and a few rounds of thin, rich, fall-apart pork sausage – or just hunker down with a little roll, built carefully with a single slice of chorizo, a slick of aioli and a fried pepper.
 
The ‘air baguette’ is pretty much the torpedo-shaped shell of a crunchy bread roll, minus the soft interior. Here, it’s swaddled in slices of air-dried beef like a little sandwich baby and decorated with slices of pickled black garlic and garlic flowers. It’s fussier than the rest of the fairly rustic gear we’ve ordered, but also a lot prettier.
 
For us, patatas bravas are pretty forgettable at the best of times, but they’re definitely worth an order if you can’t live without fried potatoes at dinner. We’d rather a side of the plump, meaty pork ribs, or the gigantic grilled asparagus covered in a dollop of thick romesco sauce.
 
We’re kicking ourselves for not ordering the churros with hot chocolate (seriously, what’s wrong with us?), but a molten almond fondant that splits and gives the suggestion of a spoon tip eases the pain. Especially with a scoop of light, perfumed bay leaf ice cream.  
 
Diner, hear this: those little plates add up – especially if you’re matching them drink for drink. Whatever state you leave your wallet in, you’ll also have had a great time. That warm, good-vibes room is pretty much made for waving a glass in and service, as we mentioned, is excellent. Go early, stay long.

Sign up to our monthly food & drink newsletter

First published on . Updated on .

By Myffy Rigby   |  

MoVida details

Address
50 Holt St

Surry Hills 2010

Telephone 02 8964 7642

Open Tue-Fri noon-late; Lunch Sat 12pm-3pm, Dinner Mon & Sat 5pm-late

MoVida website

Surry Hills area guide

Restaurants near MoVida

Muum Maam

0m - This little pocket of Surry Hills has gone from rag-trade dive to mini...

Sample Coffee

69m - Like the mystical wardrobe to Narnia, Sample Coffee is a cupboard-sized...

Jazushi

112m - Some places mix Japanese with French. Other places mix it with Italian. This...

Bars & pubs near MoVida

121 BC

0m - You've been to Vini . You've been to Berta . And now, here's 121 BC. A...

Vini

69m - No matter how many winning new enoteche chef-owner Andrew Cibej opens (see...

The Dove and Olive

148m - We'll admit it's taken us a while to warm to this pub, which seemed to take...

Other venues near MoVida

Snog the Frog

76m - A stone's throw from Central Station, Snog the Frog is delightfully kitsch...

William Angliss Institute

129m - The William Angliss Institute is a specialist centre in Sydney providing...

Gold's Gym

147m - Dating back to the very first Gold's Gym on muscle-totin' Venice Beach,...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus
 


© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.