My Birthday Lunch at Movida

September 24, 2011

Do you remember how I said that I was going to take the entire day off on yesterday to celebrate my birthday? And that I predicted it would all be rather marvelous? Well, it was indeed a marvelous day. I couldn’t have had a more lovely time, thanks to all the wonderful people in my life. I’m feeling very spoilt, special and grateful right about now.

Although yesterday was a decidedly chilly day, the soft Spring sun decided to grace us with it’s presence. This allowed mum and I to wander the City at a leisurely pace, hopping cafes and browsing the shops. I was searching for a dress to wear for the Brunch we are hosting the morning after our Wedding. And I found it, right where I thought I just might. It really is true what they say, when you put on your Wedding dress (or other special occasion dress), you really do know it’s the one.


Just after noon, we casually walked into Movida, with hope in our eyes yet no expectation of securing a table. Rather we predicted we would be directed next door, to Movida Next Door, which works on a no reservations, first come first served policy. However on this day we were very lucky and were able to snag a table for three. When it’s right, it’s right, just like the dress, I suppose.

Mum, Ben and I had a beautiful lunch. It was my first visit to Movida, and it absolutely met my expectations for quality, gusto, confidence and honest deliciousness.

Loving the excuse for a cheeky wine at lunch. “Happy Birthday to me…”

Some beautiful bread with olive oil to start.

Two serves of the Empanada with Prawn and Chorizo Tapa (a special) – this pastry was insanely delicious, super flaky and well salted. Wow. Wow.

One serve of the Brioche with Sardines and Creme Fraiche Tapa (another special), the brioche was quite thin and melba toast-like. I found this to be lovely but not quite as ‘wow’ as the previous Tapa.

For our first Racione (main sharing plate) we ordered a special, the Barramundi with Clams, Broad Beans and Jamรณn. The fish was just spectacular, cooked perfectly, and the broth was intense, more like a slightly sweet reduction. Divine.

We also shared the Slowly Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree, which was so incredibly, utterly rich and soft, it just fell apart. Truly beautiful.

And lastly the Catalan Seafood Stew. The saffron in this dish was a little too strong for my taste, but it was an incredibly beautiful dish – in terms of the quality of the seafood, the technique, the flavours and also, the nostalgia. Eating this dish yesterday took me back to sitting at a bar at the back of the bustling Mercat de La Boqueria in Barcelona, devouring a fresh seafood platter with generously poured glasses of vino. Oh, and just look at all those juices ready to be mopped up by a second round of bread.

We declined dessert (I’m not such a huge Churros fan after all), rather choosing to eat Macarons on the street. Pimm’s and Pomegranate flavour for Ben, Salted Caramel for mum and Bastille (Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant) for me. These lovelies were from La Belle Miette on Hardware Lane, and were truly delicious.

Ben then headed back to work while mum and I delighted in more coffee and wedding chatter. It’s all about the decorating details at the moment. I’m leaning towards White Hydrangeas for our flowers. I never expected planning to be this much fun. I am so incredibly excited for February. Mum and I had such a lovely time together. We’re at a really fun stage in our relationship, in that we’re truly great friends yet she is also a mentor in many areas of my life. We talk about everything, and I love that. We don’t always agree, mind you (I can sometimes be a bit stubborn), but I so value my mum as a person and her opinions. I cherish our time together. Thanks for the beautiful day, mum.


Later on in the evening I met up with a bunch of friends for dinner at Izakaya Den. This restaurant is seriously cool. We were seated on the large table at the back and we all shared little plates. The food was absolutely delicious. Standouts were the Fried Chicken and the Sweet Corn Fritters.

Mark bought me Sake…my first try. I must say it tasted like warm, sweet vinegar to me. I can see it growing on me though. Fantastically funky bottle too.

And look at this…

Sometimes he’s just too much to handle. Ben organised a bunch of Mini Cupcakes with candles that spelt out ‘Happy Birthday’. It was far too gorgeous. Ben bought them from Little Cupcakes on Degraves Street, and we had a whole range of flavours – from Red Velvet to Passionfruit to Lamington. They all went down a treat.

Afterwards we went out for some more drinks and chatting, plus a little dancing. I feel very loved and lucky to have such beautiful people in my life. Thanks to my mum, Ben, Jackson and my friends for making my day so very very special.


Tomorrow we’re down in Red Hill for some more family birthday fun – it’s a busy time for us, with all our birthdays within 6 weeks of each other. There will be a lot more celebrating to come, folks…

Heidi xo
  • Heavenly Ingredients September 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Such a lovely day to spend with your mum, and Ben for lunch of course. Movida is right up there for me, although I don't get to Melbourne much anymore. And those macarons look like art! happy birthday heidi x

  • Michelle Chin September 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    hope you don't get bogged down by your wedding plans. ๐Ÿ™‚ take care1

  • Blithely Unaware September 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    White Hydrangeas sound PERFECT!!

    What a gorgeous birthday day you had, how awesome is Movida and, and. and Izakaya. YUM!! I can't spell and get Izakayak Den's name wrong all the time…

    Hamish and my brother always try to correct me… IZZZZIIYAKAKAAKAKAAAA


    I don't know hahaahaha


  • Hannah September 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Those cupcakes Ben organised are super cute!!! And all that food looks spectacular, I haven't had epanada's in ages, they're so yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy (belated) Birthday! x

  • The InTolerant Chef September 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    What an amazing day, it sounds like everything lined up from start to finish! Cute cupcakes too!
    Love the idea of white hydrangeas, just be aware how hot it will be that time of year when you make your choices ( we used to own a florist) and saw many sad brides when their bouquets slowly wilted at the end of a 40* day when they chose poorly ๐Ÿ™ Go for natural stems if you can, even if they are wired at the top, so they can drink and stay hydrated.

  • Heidi September 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Laura – thank you! yes definitely visit Movida next time – it was on my list for ages, so glad I got to go on my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

    Michelle – haha, no not bogged down, thanks for the concern ๐Ÿ˜‰ it's ridiculously fun!

    Blithely Unaware – haha I don't know either ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'm so excited for wedding plans, lovely lady!

    Hannah – thanks lovely!!

    InTolerant Chef – you are such a knowledgeable gem!! I will definitely email you (if that's ok!!). Thank you for the fabulous flower tips!

    Heidi xo

  • Hannah September 25, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    And such a beautiful, gorgeous, marvellous day couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. So glad your day was full of literal and metaphorical sunshine – here's to many more, birthday or not! ๐Ÿ™‚


    P.S. My mother truly is one of my dearest friends, and I treasure our relationship too. Although sometimes I have to remember that we're allowed to have differing opinions, and she may not always be the only one "right" about something ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds September 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    LOVE the idea of hydrangeas for wedding flowers – so fresh and elegant!

    Looks like you had a wonderful birthday meal – those macaroons look divine!

  • Girl on Raw September 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    What a perfect way to celebrate another milestone, I couldn't have planned a better day for myself and to top it off, you found your wedding dress! What a day you will never forget.

    And to top it off your lovely fiance planned the cupcakes. Um hello. You had me at cupcakes!

    PS I have mentioned your little bloggy in my post today. Hope you don't mind ๐Ÿ™‚

  • denitapreston September 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

    That looks like the perfect day!! All the greatest things – great company and delicious food!! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful day. You look so stunning and happy!! Lots and lots of love xxx

  • Heidi September 26, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hannah – awe thanks lovely ๐Ÿ˜€ & yes I agree, I remember the time when it clicked that mum isn't always right, when the younger version of me looking up to her as superhuman changed. usually she is right, though ๐Ÿ˜›

    Julia – they were really delicious macarons!

    Girl on Raw – oh how lovely! Going to check it out now, thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    De – thanks lovely, we missed you there!!

    Heidi xo

  • Lisa September 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    What a fantastic birthday! Mine is just two weeks away and I hope it lives up to yours.

    You might want to try a cold sake as well. They make different types, not all sake is meant to be drunk warm. My Dad prefers the cold stuff, I like the warm stuff. It really is the best with Japanese food.

    I definitely agree with the intolerant chef about thinking about the weather with your flowers. But if you decide on something that isn't in season or may wilt, consider going fake. I would never have thought of it but then a friend of mine started a business doing artificial wedding bouquets and the new latex flowers are AMAAZING. My sister wanted orchids that would only just have been in season, so she got fakes from my friend and had them wired into real leaf arrangements. It saved her about $500, no one had any idea and we could bash those bouquets around all day.

    Just something to think about – keep having fun, that is the best idea.

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) September 27, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Happy belated birthday! Looks like a really wonderful time! And so much yummy food! The rainbow macarons are just beautiful, and I'm sure I'd have loved the fish and clam dish! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heidi September 28, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Lisa – oooh happy birthday for next week! Thanks for the flower tips, I have a lot to think about! Still fun though – no stress….yet ๐Ÿ˜›

    Kath – thanks, lovely! Yes that fish & clam dish was my fav – incredible!

    Heidi xo

  • Ashley September 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Wowww, spoilt rotten! Movida, macarons and Izakaya Den! ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm all about the fried chicken and corn kariage too!

    Sake is best cold typically, as it exhibits the characteristics of the sake better. But it's hard to beat a warm sake on a cold night and as always, it comes down to personal taste, I would suggest trying it cold sometime in Summer though, would be refreshing ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am swooning over that beef cheek as well from Movida…haven't taken Brad to any of the Movida's yet…may need to move it up on the priority list. ๐Ÿ™‚