1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne (map)
No bookings, closed Sundays and Mondays
I'll admit that it wasn't until mid December that I finally got around to checking out Movida Next Door. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Movida itself, mainly because they seem to always be conveniently booked out whenever I crave their cured wagyu beef with truffle foam and poached egg (though to be fair I do tend to leave my booking attempts to the last minute).
By contrast, MND has a no bookings policy... but of course this combined with MND's popularity means that it can be equally impossible to get a table there! The night we went, best-friend-K and I had already been to see a show at the Spiegeltent, so it was about 8:30pm and we only had to wait about 5 minutes to be seated.
I insisted that we start with a pair of the Cantabrian anchovies with fresh curd ($4.50 each), having read about them on Eating with Jack. Truth be told, Jack's description of these beauties was the catalyst that finally made me visit MND, so thank you Jack! :)
And yes, they tasted even better than they look.
We ordered b-f-K's favourite, charcoaled asparagus spears with romesco sauce ($11). They were wonderfully smoky and had just the right amount of bite to them... simple dishes like this are such a joy when done really well!
B-f-K ordered a Moorish lamb skewer (which I didn't photograph), but instead I ordered the quail breast stuffed with chicken liver pate ($7), a dish I remembered Lethlean writing about. Just as well it was so small as it was outrageously rich and delicious. We also enjoyed the patatas bravas ($9).
But the dish that really had us waxing rhapsodic was one of the specials: $20 worth of yabbies. They had been split down the middle and grilled with lashings of garlic and parsley. We grabbed them with both hands, squeezed lemon juice on them and happily tore into them, making a complete mess in the process. Most definitely NOT a "date" dish, but boy those yabbies were absolutely sensational.
Yes, worth a second photo. B-f-K and I keep talking about how good they were!
We decided to share a dessert to finish. Having loved the one at Anada, I lobbied for the Crema Catalana ($10). It was very rich and creamy (definitely a share dish, it'd be hard to finish on one's own), but had a really nice hint of cinnamon mixed in with the citrusy aftertaste.
So at the risk of sounding just like almost every other review I've read of the place, I've gotta say that I really loved Movida Next Door. Service was helpful and friendly, atmosphere less pretentious than at Movida. I know which one I prefer, even if it means forgoing truffle foam!