Spanish-Model Restaurant Overlooks Auckland Harbor

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Columbia Hillen

Ever had a magician for dinner?

I don’t imply grilled and sprinkled with spices. I imply as a visitor.

Let me inform you, it’s an otherworldly expertise.

My pleasure was having Tara Okan, illusionist extraordinaire, carry out table-side at MoVida restaurant in Auckland and never solely mesmerise me together with his excellent abilities but additionally numerous members of workers who gathered round our desk.

Tara the Magician (l) and Sean Hillen (r). Photograph by Columbia Hillen

I’d met Tara just a few weeks earlier via David Rees who kindly launched himself on the road as I explored the North Island metropolis. Such was the quick bond, we ended up on a sundown picnic journey collectively to a secluded seashore.

Tara’s modern ‘results’ as they’re known as in magic literature offered the cream on the cake to an satisfying night at this fine-dining restaurant providing what it describes as ‘Spanish delicacies via a New Zealand lens.’

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Opened in August 2022 and with a 150-person capability, MoVida is situated two flooring up within the modernist Seafarers Constructing on Tyler Road within the coronary heart of the elegant, heritage Britomart district. The constructing’s entrance door stands reverse a spacious open sq. the place a well-liked Saturday market takes place whereas its eating room overlooks Waitemata Harbour.

Previously occupied by one other restaurant known as Ostro, its unique house owners, the Savor Group partnered with Movida’s house owners, together with head chef and founder, Frank Camorra for the opening.

Michael Nesti, Restaurant Supervisor. Photograph by Columbia Hillen

Designed by Paul Izzard of Auckland-based agency Izzard Design, it’s finest described as ‘tapas bar meets eating room,’ snug with out being overly fussy. A lot of the seating is rounded booth-style however my companion and I have been lucky to be allotted one of many stand-alone tables beside floor-to-ceiling folding glass doorways which stretch the size of the restaurant and past which is a slender balcony after which a transparent view of sailboats gliding gracefully alongside the Pacific Ocean.

First, the workers, younger, pleasant, environment friendly and multi-national, from international locations akin to Colombia, Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and the US, all led by dynamic common supervisor, Michael Nesti, a local of Tuscany.

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Kicking off with cocktails, we selected vermouth and we have been delighted with the varied supply, a collection of six together with a darkish, tangy model from Tarragona.

MoVida’s menu, divided into 4 classes, aperitivos, tapas, raciones – barely bigger sharing plates – and parillas – grilled dishes – matches menus at its profitable father or mother operation in Melbourne. We opened with a well-liked Kiwi seafood delicacy, green-lipped mussels, famend for his or her anti-inflammatory properties thus extraordinarily helpful for arthritis victims. These little dainties, recent as if simply plucked from the ocean, have been served chilly with a inexperienced gazpacho-like sauce comprising cilantro, garlic, chili, lemon and olive brine. Subsequent up was burrata, plump in the midst of a colourful ratatouille-like bowl of roasted onion, peppers, tomatoes and recent basil.

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Preferring seafood, I opted for marinated octopus as my subsequent course, caught close to Kaikoura, a coastal city in South Island. To my thoughts, this denizen of the deep is scrumptious bare, nevertheless it was even tastier cooked because it was on a skewer over coals with fino, dry white sherry and paprika, accompanied by potatoes and aioli.

My companion went with a beef dish, razor-thin slices of air-dried wagyu with truffled potato foam, pickled kohlrabi and horseradish cream, with flakes of poached egg on high and a platter of almond and horseradish crackers on the facet.

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Delighted with the standard of the seafood, my finale was gambas ahumadas, house-smoked prawns, Otago clams with butter beans whereas my companion opted for the carrilera de buey, gentle beef cheek braised in spiced crimson wine and candy Pedro Ximenez sherry, served with cauliflower puree. I’m unsure which one among us was happier.

An enormous thanks to our waitresses, Medelin Watape and Erika Martinez, who served us all through the night with honest zest and, in fact, to Tara, New Zealand’s reply to David Copperfield.

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