Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

Packed. On a Tues­day night. The Recre­ation is priced and po­si­tioned in such a way that it bears re­peated vis­its, but the rag­ing suc­cess of this bustling ‘bistro-bot­tle shop’ is really down to the ex­pe­ri­ence of its three own­ers.

Restau­rant man­ager Joe Dur­rant and som­me­lier Mark Protheroe (Grossi Florentino) are steeped in old-world hos­pi­tal­ity, while chef Steven Nel­son’s long stints at Jac­ques Rey­mond and Bistro Gi­tan earned him a rep­u­ta­tion for ro­bust, flavour­some food.

That’s what you get at The Recre­ation, too, with dishes in­clud­ing bar­be­cued free-range chicken with lemon cream, ex­pertly grilled duck breast with baby turnip, and crack­ing pig trot­ter cro­quettes. The black pud­ding and pear tarte Tatin is an un­likely combo that really rocks the sweet-savoury boat.

Protheroe knows how to match Nel­son’s fare with the per­fect drop and Dur­rant will make sure you are well served, even with a lot of wine bot­tle boxes around your feet.

Yes, it can get rowdy, but it only takes one visit to re­alise this could be ev­ery­one’s dream lo­cal.

It’s 15 years since chef Frank Camorra turned a dis­mal, graf­fiti-scrib­bled cor­ner of Hosier Lane into a pump­ing Span­ish tapas bar. And far from ly­ing on its lau­rels, Movida circa 2018 looks to be fir­ing on all cylin­ders.

Well-drilled staffers pa­trol the packed-to-the-rafters space, while the hard­work­ing kitchen punches out all the old favourites: the ar­ti­san an­chovy on a crou­ton with smoked to­mato sor­bet; the spinach and manchego cro­quettes. But new ad­di­tions to Movida’s ‘ raciones’ list up the ex­cite­ment. Pork neck with clams is a great surf ’n’ turf combo, the melt­ingly ten­der meat ben­e­fit­ting from a slow braise in white wine, fen­nel and ja­mon. Equally in­spired is Camorra’s boun­ti­ful union of roasted red em­peror fil­let and Spring Bay mus­sels.

The com­pact drinks list will have you ex­plor­ing ev­ery cor­ner of the Ibe­rian penin­sula, and if your tip­ple of choice is sherry, make sure you match that dark glass of La Goya man­zanilla with Movida’s fa­mous choco­late and chur­ros. Some things never change.

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