5.341 Cecina

-Cycle 5, Item 341-
12 (Fri) December 2014



at MoVida

-Central Business District, Melbourne-


Mission to Australia, Day 7 (see previously 5.340 Fried Cauliflower, Chilli, Coriander).

In Melbourne on duty travel.  Participating in a "Training of Trainers" workshop to develop capacity-building programs for government officials towards strengthening their national laws on promoting healthy environments--e.g., tobacco control.  While the workshop wrapped today, I'll be here until Sunday.

MoVida is a Spanish restaurant.  Flagship location of a growing family that currently includes 5 eateries, 4 in Melbourne, 1 in Sydney.  Ostensibly a tapas bar, with dishes bearing simple/traditional names, though the techniques are much more modern, bordering on the lines of molecular gastronomy.

Anchoa (4.0)--according to the menu, "hand-filleted Cantabarian artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet;" exquisitely contrasting textures: crispy crouton vs pasty anchovy vs slushy sorbet; for the first time ever, I also experienced the wonder of contrasting temperatures: warm vs cold, both in a single bite; harmony of flavors: savory + briny + sweet + tangy.

The ambiance was casual sophistication--my kind of place.

Mejillones al Gazpachuelo (3.5)--"pickled spring bay mussels in an almond and mayonnaise sauce;" mussels themselves were just okay, but the delectable creamy vs sour sauce demanded several pieces of bread, which I'd previously declined on the grounds of "wouldn't want to fill up on bread."

And yes, of course, the bread--baked on the premises--was excellent: rich and rustic; I use that same bread knife.

Cecina* is a Spanish method of curing meat.  Typically consists of beef or horse--Carmen informs me that it's horse by default in Madrid--which is salted and air-dried or smoked.  Essentially the same thing as jamon

Cecina (4.0)--"air-dried wagyu with poached organic egg and truffle foam."

The West Winds Gin--locally produced.

Calamares (3.0)--daily special, not on the menu; baby squid, stuffed with tuna pate, served in squid ink sauce. 

Pipirrana con Verduras (3.0)--"lightly braised baby vegetables in an Andalusian gazpacho stock"

The highlight was the cecina.  All about texture.  The meat itself had a silky quality similar to that of jamon, but much more moist and delicate, being beef, not stringy, as pork can be.  The foam consisted of whipped potatoes, impossibly velvety and fluffy.  And the egg, poached to squishy and gooey perfection.  Like sleeping on a water bed with goose down pillows and silk sheets, obscenely luxurious, each element remaining distinct, yet synergizing to the point of dizziness.  The most amazing mouthfeel that I've ever experienced.  In terms of taste, the natural flavors of the components were left to speak for themselves, enhanced by occasional bursts of stinky/woodsy from the black truffle flecks.  A-W-E-S-O-M-E, literally.

What a treat to try one of my favorites cuisines in what has very quickly established itself as one of my favorite food cities.

*I had no idea that certain consonants in Spanish, when combined with certain vowels, produce the voiceless dental fricative (i.e., the "th" sound in "thing").  Including "ce" and "ci," which means that "cecina" = "theh-thee-nah," not "seh-see-na," and "Barcelona" = "bar-theh-loh-nah."  Same with "za," which means that "Zara" = "thah-rah."

Earlier in the day, the hosts of the workshop ordered pizza for lunch to celebrate the final day.  They'd fed and taken care of us beyond expectation throughout the week--thank you for that!--so the hospitality per se wasn't that surprising, but we were all stunned by the variety.  The spread was a testament both to the centre's graciousness and the city's love of food.

The centre's collection of cigarette packs in plain packaging--what every country should aspire to, just before banning tobacco outright.


  1. Although this is a food blog, I felt the need to comment on the last thing you wrote in the post;

    "... cigarette packs in plain packaging--what every country should aspire to, just before banning tobacco outright."

    Are you supportive of totally banning tobacco? I am not a smoker, and I am all for high taxes on tobacco (and on alcohol), both to discourage people to buy the crap and to finance the costs that they bring on society. But BANNING it? Putting such a lucrative business into the hands of criminals? Banning stuff doesn't stop people from using it, just look at the war on drugs in the US...

  2. yeah, well, i'm not saying that banning will ever happen, at least not globally, certainly not in our lifetimes, although it could be banned in smaller countries (e.g., bhutan) to a certain extent. but note that strict enforcement of drug laws in countries (e.g. Korea even) does largely eliminate use, even while small amounts trickle in illegally.

    hypothetically, if the cigarette were developed today as a new product, it wouldn't even pass the first stage of testing for approval.

  3. Not sure that it is the strict enforcement of drugs laws, rather than the extreme cultural disapproval of using drugs (or being "deviant" in any form whatsover, see attitudes against e.g. homosexuality) in Korea. I mean, the US leads the world in putting people in prison, half of those are there for drugs-related crimes.. still the drug syndicates are making billions...

    And about the last thing you wrote, I totally agree. Same would apply for alcohol though.