Phone charger? Check!
Friend who you’ve conned into dropping you off at the airport? Check!
Phone? Oh God where’s my phone?! That’s right…in my pocket (duh)
Are you like me when you travel? Even though I’ve flown countless times I always run through my mental check list every single time without fail before I walk out the door. So after checking in, dumping my bags and going down the escalator I always end up standing at the same spot at the end of the foot court sussing out something to eat (because who the hell wants to pay $50 for a pre packed sandwich on a plane? Ok slight exaggeration but you get me.) Well thankfully the newest food addition to Sydney Airport is a pretty good one.
That’s right – after creating his empire in laneways of Melbourne and planting a stake in the heart of one of Sydney’s popular dining districts, Frank Camorra (Executive chef & owner of the revered MoVida group) has teamed up with airport F&B operators ARE and opened up another MoVida in Sydney Domestic Airport T2, aptly named MoVida @ the Airport. Frank’s a really nice guy btw – he’s happy to chat about food or whatever and gives off a nice vibe so don’t be scared to say hi.
Let’s get the obligatory comparisons between the MoVida in Surry Hills and the one at the airport out of the way. The ambiance just isn’t the same, mainly for a couple of reasons. First is because you don’t get the luxuriously high ceilings of Surry Hills and you really feel it when you sit in there. They’ve done their best and turned the lights down and painted the ceiling black, since you can’t physically go any higher in their location. Second is because you don’t get the nice private booths like in Surry Hills. I found it kind of tight in there considering people are dragging bags around but I think they’ve gone for max capacity over comfort, though don’t get me wrong it’s much nicer to park your butt there than in the chaos that they call a food court. Let’s move onto the food shall we?
First thing you will note is that it is quite a brief menu compared to all the other MoVidas but not to worry! After speaking to Frank he mentioned that he will definitely be growing the menu once the place settles in and all the systems are up and running properly – A good excuse as any to come back again right?
So we order a bunch of stuff and start off with a glass of Paco & Lola Albarino ($13.50) while we wait for the dishes to arrive.
The MoVida signature Anchoa ($4.90ea) is brought out first. A hand filleted anchovy on crouton with a smoked tomato sorbet and I can see why people called this a game changer. It hits all the right notes in your mouth. You get the saltiness, the sweet, the slight smoke with just the right amount of tartness then you have to deal with the crisp crouton which is offset texturally with the cool sorbet. Now that’s a lot going on in one bite but I’d order another one next time without even looking at the menu – dish of the day.
Next comes the Bomba ($4.80ea) which is a Potato “bomb” filled with chorizo. It’s tasty but I’ve got to say kind of small in terms of “bite for buck” value, but when I’m eating on company money it’s not a big deal. The outside is nice and crisp, then you get into the fluffy potato which is broken up by the chorizo. If the chorizo were chunkier and you got a textural change it would have been even better for me.
The Paletilla Iberica ($29.50) comes out next on a board and people around us are getting food envy by now. At $29.50 for a 50gram serve it’s the most expensive item on the menu but remember this is Guijuelo Iberico ham which has been cured/aged for 24 months from an Iberian black pig which has to be certified as a “pure breed” Iberian Pig to qualify! The way that pork melted in my mouth, I have to say it’s something you need to try sometime in your life.
The Bocadillo de chorizo ($8.50ea) arrives soon after. The star of this dish for me is the Spanish Piparra peppers as they cut through the richness of the mammoth sized chorizo with a sweet undertone. Make sure you order one each; you won’t want to share after your first bight!
Only in recent years have I really come to love a good cheese so I had to get the Manchego Cheese with cider apple ($5). What is Manchego cheese you ask? It’s essentially a sheep milk cheese that is made in the La Mancha region of Spain from a sheep of Spanish descent! – see the theme going on here? I love how Frank has linked everything back to this home land. The cheese was nice, it had a smooth nutty flavour and the apple poached in cider was truly refreshing. The two paired perfectly.
Having never ordered escabache at a restaurant before – it really was one of those “errr…what is that?” moments when the waitress brought out our Pollo en escabache a la Miguel ($4.50ea) aka Spiced chicken escabache tapa on crisp crouton. Escabache is quite a common dish in Spain where they poach chicken in a vinegar broth, shred it and then put it back in the vinegar broth to chill overnight and let the flavours develop. You don’t expect much from looking at it but the flavours are certainly there and the play between the chilled chicken and crisp crouton is enjoyable.
During a rare lull between orders I quickly grab a word with Frank who told me he’s usually in Sydney at least once a week so don’t be surprised if you see the big man himself in the kitchen from time to time. So as I drink many more wines I sit back into my chair and can’t help but ponder as a Sydney-sider; have we well and truly caught up to Melbourne’s food culture? I’m not 100% sure yet but hell…we have 2 MoVida’s so we must be doing something right.
MoVida @ The Airport, Sydney
Domestic Terminal 2, Sir Kingsford Smith Airport, NSW