Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Frank Camorra's Chef Series Wines at Movida

One of the most popular restaurants in Melbourne for a number of years has definitely got to be Movida. I've loved the restaurant from my visits previously. I've cooked their Movida Steak Tartare and also held a Movida Dinner Party. I've bemoaned how hard it has been to obtain a booking at the restaurant. After many failures to get into the restaurant, I gave up trying as I was just never organised enough to book well in advance. So imagine my utter delight to receive an invitation from I-Hua to attend the restaurant, along with Agnes, to try out the new Wine Selectors Chef Series wines.

I dined courtesy of Wine Selectors.

The Wine Selectors Chef Series is a new range of wines that have been developed with 4 of Australia's most popular chefs. The wines have been designed to match with each chef's food and are exclusive to Wine Selectors or the respective restaurants. The chefs involved in this series are Frank Camorra (MoVida, Melbourne), Ian Parmenter (Winos, Perth), Ben O’Donoghue (South Bank Surf Club, Brisbane) and Alastair McLeod (Brett’s Wharf, Brisbane). Obviously, we would be trying out the two wines from Frank, a Tempranillo and a Rose.

We were seated at the corner table and asked for dietary requirements by the waiter. I-Hua was the only one with a requirement, in that she doesn't eat beef. The waiter took that down and said he will bring out a selection of food to match our wines. We decided to start with the Tempranillo. Yes, we were being wine n00bs and not starting with the lighter Rose, but I really felt like having a red first. The notes on the Tempranillo hinted at red and black fruits. After closing my eyes and swirling, sniffing and gargling forever, I couldn't grasp the fruits. Wine tasting fail. I did think the wine was nice, and after I tried it with food, I thought it was even better.

We started with a dish of Anchovy with Tomato Sorbet on a crispy bread. While the same dish I had at Movida Aqui was sensational, the dish I had that night was overpoweringly salty. I eat anchovies on everything but as anyone who eat anchovies knows, they are very strong and need to be knocked back on the salty scale with other things. The sorbet didn't reduce the saltiness of this particular anchovy at all.

Next up, the Salt Cod and Potato Croquette was nice but again really salty. This dish did match up with the wine really well though, enhancing the flavours of the wine. A Cold Smoked Mackerel also matched well with the wine but as you can guess, it was salty.

The next dish, the Cecina, was once named dish of the year by The Age a number of years ago. I fell in love with this dish the first time I had it. While it was still good, it wasn't half as good as I remember it. But you know what they say, memory is always distorted and it's always better in the past. However, in my food memory, which I think is quite reliable, the cured wagyu used to have a better flavour, the truffle foam was lighter and smoother, the egg gooier and had more flavour. It's small things but I felt it affected the overall flavour of what is essentially quite a simple dish.

We had some Iberico Jamon next, which was really nice. It was paired with a tomato toast, which I loved. The Snapper, Mussels and Calamari dish was good, with almonds and breadcrumb giving a good nutty flavour. The Pine Mushrooms from the Mornington Peninsula area was my standout dish of the night. It was so simple, but so good. Mushrooms cooked well in a white wine and garlic sauce. Note that all dishes were over salted for my liking again, but maybe it's to others taste.

A Braised Beef Shin was very tender and gelatinous. It was very nice for a cold night. The Pheasant with Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts was a bit ho hum for me. I'm not a fan of brussel sprouts and while the glazed chestnuts did give the dish a nice flavour, the pheasant itself tasted just like chicken.

For desserts, we had the Churros and Flan with the Rose. Just as on my previous visits, I still feel the churros is too heavy and not light and fluffy for my liking. Maybe that's the way it's eaten in Spain but the churros were like dry pieces of overcooked dough. The chocolate sauce was really nice though. The Flan was to my liking, creamy smooth caramel goodness. I-Hua also had to idea to try the flan with the chocolate sauce and boy, that was a good combo too. I found that the Rose didn't really go with the desserts or was to my liking by itself. I've never quite understood Rose as it's caught between the clean taste of a white and the robust strong flavours of a red.

Overall, the meal was enjoyable but on the salty side in general for me. The Tempranillo matched well with most of the food, but I didn't really like the Rose. The service at Movida was friendly and efficient and our waiter was very funny. However, I didn't understand why he asked us about dietary requirements to only promptly forget about it. Maybe he assumed I-Hua could eat the other dishes besides the beef related items. Movida was once upon a time one of my favourite places but this recent meal didn't get me too excited. There were some elements that were good but in general was a but underwhelming.

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  1. Not sure why food here is quite salty. :(

  2. Ohhh I love the cecina but I tend to agree with u abt the saltiness of Movidas dishes. But do u think Movida has gone downhill lately?

  3. Michelle, yeah I don't know why everything was too salty.

    Serena, everything was quite salty. I'm not sure if it's gone downhill or just the chef that night has a stronger tolerance to salt. I must say I wasn't super excited with the dishes even if they weren't salty.

  4. It's a shame the meal didn't live up to expectations!

    You have to get into rose - it's awesome! :) Soooo good in summer with light meals!

  5. wow the jamon looks sooooo good!

  6. You should hold another Movida party. And invite me. :p

  7. It's a shame the dishes didn't live up to expectations, they do look nice though..

  8. Sarah, it was a shame. Hmmm will need to keep drinking more Rose.

    Agnes, I shall do a Movida theme party...soon...ish.

    Jenny, it was a disappointment as I was expecting more.