Thursday, July 13, 2006

what more could you want?

I head out for some serious tapas eating in one of those groovy Melbourne laneway bars. My shiny new camera sits in my bag, freshly loaded with a gig of memory. Despite it being a ridiculously early hour on a week night, we are informed that all the tables are booked but we are welcome to sit at the bar. That’s fine. There are only two of us, we have a lot to catch up with and the stools look comfy. What’s more, the staff behind the bar certainly qualify in the “eye candy” department.

We hungrily scan the drink and food menus. A Spanish sherry for me, an Italian beer to start with for her. The dishes on offer sound fabulous and very few mimic those at my current favourite Spanish restaurant. I get a little shiver of anticipation at trying new taste sensations.

It’s been over a month since we caught up and far too long since we’ve had a night out together, so we become more engrossed in story swapping than making decisions about food. Finally we pause long enough to negotiate shared choices from the menu, inform the cutie behind the bar as to our selection and launch back into our conversation.

The cutlery and the linen napkins are arranged before us, two types of bread sliced and placed on a dinky plate with built in well filled with fruity olive oil. We take little notice. The service is prompt and the hardware is all better than average. The water glasses that were immediately filled when we took our seats are rounded and pleasing. There has been obvious attention to detail.

I notice it, but only just.

Then mid sentence, the first plate arrives.

It is a safe bet, a tortilla de patatas. Their take on the national omelette is with very finely sliced potato and onion. We figured we needed a bit of ballast to soak up the alcohol, after all the stools are a little high and it would be rather embarrassing to end up in an inebriated state on the floor. Especially when wearing a skirt.

Next comes espinacas con garbanzoa, a bowl full of sauteed spinach with chickpeas & spices. I taste cumin. The flavours are wonderful, turning 2 rather ordinary ingredients into a stand out dish.

I can’t remember the name of dish number 3. Despite the tough competition it was my favourite. There were 2 slices of square toast, packed full on walnuts. I’d recognise that bread if I’d seen it before, I’d love to know where they sourced it. On top was a salt cod spread. A brandade, generously heaped. These were a meal in themselves.

Our final selection was marinated white anchovies. Very vinegary, They reminded me a bit of roll mops. More of an aquired taste, but still worth a try.

Our plates were empty. My camera still firmly tucked away in my bag. I just couldn’t do it – break the flow of conversation, pause long enough before devouring each plate, look like a tosser photographing food in such an uber cool bar.

So, imagine the dishes or even better, check out MoVida yourself next time you are in town.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

the second i started reading your post - tapas, cool laneway, no tables available - i knew it was movida. i had a very similar experience there, catching up with a friend who'd been overseas for 2 years. we chatted away, shared a bottle of tempranillo and flirted with those guys behind the bar. my only beef was that i'd read so much hype about the food that i was a little disappointed with the four dishes we tried. we ordered all vegetarian/seafood dishes but i've heard they do the game and meat wonderfully. i guess i'll have to come back with a carnivore next time.

10:14 am  
Blogger plum said...

Yup, I was going "Movida, Movida" too! And sometimes it's so much better to just enjoy the flow of the evening rather than meticulously photographing and recording every dish. Sounded great anyway!

8:00 pm  

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