Known as the godfather of contemporary Spanish cuisine in Melbourne, Frank Camorra is a legend, having worked in some of Melbourne’s best kitchens, to having his own restaurants and playing a major role in changing the dining landscape.
Having grown up in Cordoba, Andalusia, Camorra brought his knowledge of tapas culture to the laneways of Melbourne and Australia. When he opened MoVida Original in 2003, many Australians hadn’t been exposed to Spanish cuisine, and dining at the bar wasn’t even a thought. Nonetheless, Camorra persisted and is now a legend in the field, with five restaurants in Melbourne.
MoVida Original was the first restaurant to ignite Melbourne’s love of tapas. Here, Camorra focuses on Spanish food culture and flavours, using seasonal Australian produce.
Highlights of the menu include anchovy with smoked tomato sorbet on a crouton, lamb rump tartare, South Australian Avalon cooked over charcoal, and confit octopus leg with heirloom zucchini salad served with lemon and caper paste.
At Aqui, diners step away from the mania of the laneway to find calm and an open kitchen in the NAB Building, ideal for larger groups.
The menu showcases rustic paella and whole joints of meat grilled over charcoal. Highlights include wild mushroom croquettes with manchego, broccolini cooked over charcoal, octopus on the plancha with housemade sobrasada, and slow-braised beef cheek with cauliflower puree. The desserts are similar to what you would find at MoVida Original, including the churros and flan.
Unlike Original or Aqui, Next Door is the perfect spot for a quick tipple and small bites, where the seafood is the highlight. Occupying what was once a milk bar serving sandwiches, is now a bustling, and electric venue where you can pop in for a bowl of clams and chargrilled octopus, as you would if you were in a bar in Jerez.
Seafood is displayed on ice, and you can expect to see oysters shucked to order, accompanied by hot bites including patatas bravas, and roasted portobello mushrooms. The wine list is stocked with cava, white and red wines, and beers from Barcelona.
Lorne started as a pop up at the Lorne Hotel, but now it has a permanent place on the Great Ocean Road, soaking up the ocean views and sunsets. Here, you can enjoy a meal in an intimate dining room, or sip on wine and bites at the bar.
The bar focuses on local wines, gins, and whiskies. As for the food, expect to see a few smaller bites from the other restaurants, including the mushroom croquettes, anchovy tapas, and beef cheek with cauliflower puree.
Tres a Cino is the latest venture by Camorra, taking over Hosier Lane. Instead of focusing on Spanish flavours, Camorra works his magic with Mexican fare here, so expect plenty of tacos and tequila.
A few menu highlights include the chilaquiles, crab tostada, chicken skewers, and corn exquisite, which is Mexican street corn off the cob, topped with feta, lime, and chilli flakes. There are also four different tacos ranging from fish to fried cauliflower, and large dishes such as enchiladas.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.