Tapas in Spain
are not just one thing
Frank Camorra at MoVida, Hosier Lane Frank Camorra at MoVida, Hosier Lane Sara Bosch

Different locations

MoVida (The Original)*
Hosier Lane
Melbourne 3000

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am - 8:30pm
Sun: 11am - 4pm

03 9663 3038

*Bookings essentials

The Age Good Food Guide 2012 has awarded MoVida with TWO HATS, and MoVida Aqui & Terraza with ONE HAT

MoVida's popular chef, Frank Camorra, has recently published 'Movida's Guide To Barcelona' and 'Movida Cocina'. Writer? Chef? TV Star? All that and more: Frank talks with Spanish Australia Magazine about food, life and stereotypes.

In your latest book 'Movida's Guide To Barcelona' you say "it frustrates me when people come back from Spain saying they didn't enjoy the food". Do you try to change their mind when visiting your restaurants?

I guess so. The problem is that people sometimes confuse the food that they have in obvious tourist areas, such as Las Ramblas in Barcelona, with authentic Spanish food. Especially in Spain, more than in other European countries, you have to know where to go. So Australians end up eating where there was a "paella board" at the front of a bar on the main street, rather than looking for the hidden places. That's why at Movida we try to offer not only notorious Spanish 'tapas' and 'raciones' but also unconventional dishes.

Is this partly why you regularly guide trips to Spain? 

Yes, as we choose the ingredients, we cook them, we visit wineries and reunite with chefs I met while writing the latest book.

I get the impression that you are not a novice in undertaking these kinds of trips.

In previous years we visited other genuine regions of Spain such as Salamanca, Extremadura and Andalucia, after I published the book 'Movida Rustica'. Food in Spain is incredibly regional, so with these trips we are able to showcase the particular cuisine in these places that might otherwise remain unknown.

In 2000, you returned to Spain to work as a chef there for a couple of years. How did you find it?

I got to work in different regions and restaurants all over Spain; and eat and investigate as much as I could! I came back to Melbourne with over 50 Spanish cook books. I then opended Movida with my business partner, so it was great!

What's different from other restaurants of its type?

At this stage, we understand Spanish food so we reproduce and interpret the diverse regional dishes as best we can with the ingredients we have here. On the top of it, we serve food in what we understand as the natural way of eating: socialising and having fun.

In Australia, there is definitely a quality bunch of new restaurants serving Spanish food spreading from its beginnings in Johnston St to the outer suburbs. This creates an awareness of Spanish food, which is good for what we do. People see this as another WAY of going out for dinner, and hopefully as a fun way to eat as well.

The article 'The great Australian tapas interpretation' published in The Age provoked over 150 comments, some of them pointing out that tapas are not reproduced correctly in Australia. What is your opinion?

For starters, tapas in Spain are not just one thing. Are tapas what Ferran Adrià serves in his exclusive restaurant El Bulli? Or are they old sardines served on top of dry slices of bread? Between one thing and the other, is where tapas wide range 'unfold', so tapas is a complex concept. To say there was one type of tapas in Spain would be like saying that there's just one type of pub in Australia.

Do you apply your Degree in Architecture to your job as a chef?

Certainly. I think architecture teaches you to be creative and practical at the same time, and that works with food in a way. It also trains you to be a good client! So if you are employing an architect, let them do their job rather than dictating it to them.

You have four different venues in Melbourne, three books published, have guided people throughout Spain... When do you have time to cook?

(Laughs) I'm really lucky because my chefs James, David and Jimmy have been working with me for over seven years, so we've done all the apprenticeship together. We have a weekly chef's meeting in which we talk about the food that is on at the moment, specials and new seasons. And then I work one night in each place, so I do get my hands dirty.

What's your favourite saying in Spanish?

'Un día es un día!'. In my profession, when you are going out to try so much food and drinks, you have to justify it in your own head: You only live once!


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