We absolutely love MoVida in Melbourne (Hosier Lane more so than MoVida Aqui), and had been planning to visit MoVida Sydney after the hype had worn out. We obviously didn't wait long enough because it was still extremely difficult to get a reservation, successful only because of a last-minute cancellation.
We took my parents here and had all our favourites - the smoked eel croquettes, the anchoa (anchovies) with the smoked tomato sorbet, the air cured wagyu with a poached egg and truffle foam, the melt-in-your-mouth beef cheek with cauliflower puree - as well as some new dishes. My parents absolutely loved it but the husband and I weren't so crazy about it.
The food was generally good. The old favourites were great, and a couple of new dishes we tried like the abalone with oyster emulsion and king oyster mushrooms and black truffle were really quite impressive, but it just lacked the laneway vibe that Hosier Lane has. The staff were nice (one of them even came around to warn us about parking inspectors doing the rounds) but they didn't have the same excitement about the food that the guys in Hosier Lane did.
One major disappointment in the food was the Patatas Bravas - such a simple dish done so well all over Spain. The fried potatoes were cold and floury (it tasted like it had been pre-cooked) and the sauce lacked depth and flavour.
I really don't want to be a hater because we did enjoy ourselves. If you haven't been to the Melbourne restaurants, you will love it. Us Sydney-siders wanted a MoVida and we got it - I'd happily come back over and over again for the beef cheek and abalone dishes.