Monday, 21 May 2012

Movida with mates

Food is something I enjoy.  I love to cook, especially for other people.  Increasingly, I cook vegetarian food when I'm at home.  It's delicious, cheap and freezes well, meaning I can have a supply of nutritious food on hand for those nights when I would otherwise have toast. Or nothing. Or pizza.

I have dabbled with vegetarianism before, but struggle to keep adequate iron levels even when I'm eating steak every night.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself eating goat on Saturday night.

I had secured a table for me and two friends at Movida Aqui which took some doing.  I told the truth about my friend who was visiting from the "desert" and how every time she visits we attempt to get a table at Movida, but have never been successful.  The only condition was we had to agree to keep senior citizens' hours and dine at 6:30pm.  Luckily daylight savings is over and it's black at 6pm these days.

We met for a pre dinner cocktail at 5:30 at TheTrust, the bar in the magnificent old Port Office building.  We were the only people there at that hour, so the service was great.  I had a Negroni and my friends had a dirty gin martini and a campari and soda. We left when the hen's party arrived, looking like the cast from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". We then had to navigate our way through footpaths that have been dug up as part of the replacement of the William Street water mains.  Not great when you're in your very high, suede shoes!

The address for Movida Aqui is Level 1, 500 Bourke Street, but you need to forget about that and go around to Little Bourke Street.

The space is intriguing and there is lots to look at.  We spent some time considering the lighting - low energy fluorescent bulbs housed in milk crates along the top of the bar.

From the moment we arrived, the service was sensational.  The greeting was warm and our coats were taken as we were seated.  Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable, refilling glasses and taking away plates unobtrusively.  Perfect.

The restaurant promotes sharing plates and we were advised to order about five dishes to feel satisfied.  Each of us put in our bids.  I selected CONEJO AGRIDULCE - Andalucian Sweet and Sour Local Organic Rabbit with Pine Nuts and Dried Figs and was very pleased with that selection.  It was tender and sweet.

We also had:

SERRANO 24 month old Jamon.  I love the translucence of the paper thin slices.

BUTIFARRA - House Made Catalan Pork Pepper Sausage with Chickpeas and House Made Morcilla.  This dish was robust and tasty and a wonderful experience to eat.

ALCACHOFAS - Fried Artichokes Served with Toasted Almonds and Manchego Custard.  I liked this more than I expected to.  The Manchego custard was what made me hesitate, but this was like a delicious, runny fondue cheese sauce.

SETAS - Braised Pine Mushrooms Cooked in White Wine.  This was served last and was too delicate to appreciate after the robust flavours of the butifarra.

And we had the goat - which isn't on the menu, so must have been a daily special.  I was nervous, but it was proposed as a trade for making people eat rabbit.  I looked at the dish when it arrived and it just looked like meat.  It didn't smell particularly strong and it's texture looked like lamb.  I plunged in.  The flavour was much milder than I expected.  It was a bit dry and stringy for my liking.  I could see why it is usually done in a long cooked curry.  I spoke to a woman in the bathroom who had also had the goat and was unimpressed, agreeing that it was very dry.

We shared a bottle of Mayer "Big Betty" 2010 Shiraz based on the energetic description given by the sommelier.  He was right about it being wild and its flavour changed considerably the longer it was out of the bottle.

We finished off the meal with FLAN - Crème Caramel Served with Pestinos and washed it down with a Pedro Ximinez sweet sherry and espressos.

I enjoyed the experience.  It's loud and sensory overload, not the first choice for an intimate dinner, but great for dinner with some mates.  Take the opportunity to wander past the open kitchen to see where the food comes from.

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