Moda Kitchen and Bar, 1/140 Victoria Street, Seddon. Phone: 9078 4310
Indian Palette closed quite a while ago – we hope Francis and Sue pop up somewhere new!
The same Victoria Street premises is now occupied by Moda Kitchen and Bar.
The contrast could hardly be greater – and a delight it is, too.
The Moda fitout is heavy on white – white walls, white tablecoths, white (real linen) napkins.
There’s a heap of space and the whole deal reeks of casual elegance.
Goat’s cheese and pistachio-stuffed piquillo peppers, romesco dip and eggplant crisps ($12).
The presence of a tapas list on the menu (see the full, regular menu at the Moda website here) might lead to expectations of pronounced Spanish flavours – and, indeed, there is also Jamon among the fare.
But Moda roams more widely than a single country, with a result that could be loosely described Euro-Mediterranean.
Team CTS missed the opening weekend three-course set-up but we’re happy to be here a little more than a week later to the tune of a table for seven.
Slow-roasted crispy skin pork belly, plum glaze, apple compote and chipotle aioli ($12).
For our mid-week visit something more than half of the tables are occupied – and so they should be, as Moda seemingly offers top-notch tucker at very affordable prices.
Only one main crosses the $30 barrier and I like the fact that there are no sides offered to bulk up the bill.
The mains come with sufficient vegetables and accompaniments to constitute a good meal though the serves aren’t ginormous or anything like that.
But OTOH, when meat mains are in the mid-$20s mark, a complete three-course meal at Moda will not cause credit card vertigo.
The specials board is joined by one offering wines and other beverages to match various food courses.
The impression is strongly given that these folks know what they’re about.
There’s some overlap in our ordering but even then I do not taste everything our group enjoys and have just a nibble of some dishes – readers will no doubt be able to ascertain which is which in this post.
From the specials list, caprese salad ($16) is a magic mix of flavours in harmony – so simple, such fine ingredients: Terrific buffalo mozzarella, basil, peeled toms and roast peppers, olive oil, seasonings.
Bennie loves his hot-seared spicy lamb shank terrine with red onion and shaved fennel salad and coriander labneh ($16).
Cool trick – it really does taste of lamb shank rather than just merely lamb.
Salt and pepper calamari with herb salad and caper aoili ($14).
How is this for a pasta dish?
It’s squid-ink gnocchi with prawns, asparagus and crayfish bisque ($28).
Thanks to the generosity of its orderer, we all get a taste of the pasta parcels – soft, delicate and tasting of the sea and fresh air.
Bennie is developing a taste for game and non-chook poultry and also is fostering a liking for the pricier items on any given menu.
So he likes, without being really impressed by, his pan-seared partridge with roasted purple congos, cider braised pork belly, roasted apple and pan jus ($32) – Moda’s most expensive dish.
The bird tastes plenty good to me.
Several of us order, from the specials board, the chargrilled veal cutlet with parsnip puree, roasted root vegetables and red wine jus.
It’s a superb chop.
I’ve had bigger – but then again, this one costs $24, making it an outright bargain.
The bits and pieces are fine, though the fact the parsnip puree is not hot, not even luke warm, but instead stone cold is, at first, a bit of a bracing shock.
We call it quits after entrees and mains.
Meaning the tempting desserts – Catalane cream with pear, crackers and berries; warm chocolate fondant, candied chilli and ice-cream; and panna cotta with pistachio – will have to wait for another day.