Good Eats

Moda @ Brisbane

When dining out you want the food to ‘WOW’ you, to take you away somewhere else, to experience a flavour explosion with every mouthful and at Moda Restaurant, this is exactly what you get.

Beloved by tapas and wine lovers since its opening in 1999, Moda Restaurant is a Spanish restaurant in Brisbane CBD led by well-known chef Javier Codina and front of house host, François Le Savéant.

Chef Javier uses his Catalan heritage and expertise to influence his food, the flavours and of course your overall dining experience. This is why he offers an extensive menu with a great range of Spanish influenced foods, in addition to the very highly recommended Javier’s Table Experience, where he would decide what you would enjoy for the evening.

Two Tapas to Share

They indicated it’s sufficient for two persons, but the amount was definitely enough for the three of us, given that we have other dishes coming.

Homemade ciabatta bread & sea salt butter

I can’t remember was it fig jam, but the hand churned butter was so good that we finished all the toasted ciabatta given. And the ciabatta was fantastic for the sauces in the tapas too.

Baby prawn ceviche, orange blossom

Baby prawn ceviche, orange blossom

These farmed prawns were not baby sized. They were succulent 25 to the pound adults that had been poached and then mixed with EVOO, lime juice and fresh oranges. Simple seasoning of salt and pepper, you let the sweet prawns and sweet oranges do their magic.

Fish fritter, mango, jalapeño relish

Fish fritter, mango, jalapeño relish

Battered fried fish without the chips served on a mango and jalapeño salsa. It is easy to forget that salsa came from Spain. Spanish salsas are course-cut chunks of fruits and vegetables mixed together with lime, cilantro and other aromatics as the recipe requires. Here they take lovely ripe “R2D2” mangoes that are locally produced and mixed it with spicy pickled jalapeño, a bit like the pickled green chilli that we used in Tzechar (Chinese quick stir fry).  Simple and nice.


The beautiful way of cooking over a charcoal grill, the amber glow of the charcoal gives out a consistent temperature to give an even cooking for whatever ingredient you throw at it. Moda uses a Mibrasa charcoal oven from Spain, which takes all the great taste and rustic techniques of traditional charcoal cooking, and transform the process into something more manageable for a commercial kitchen.

Baby squid, pork farce, lobster sauce

Baby squid, pork farce, lobster sauce

Baby squids stuffed with minced pork and cooked in a lobster sauce, to be precise, lobster shell stock. From the description, I was expecting squid cooked in lobster bisque, but this is not a French restaurant so it would be more rustic and yet no less punch.

This dish lets the squids do their own introduction. Baby squids can be a challenge to cook as many tend to overcook them. And Western cooking techniques always ask for stuffing of the squid that prolongs the cooking time. So I always order squid to see how well the kitchen handles this delicate ingredient.

They used minced pork grind, so the cooking time can be synchronised with the squid. The fats of the pork will enhance the squid’s rather bland taste. And the lobster stock round up the whole dish with that extra umami. Excellent attempt.

Hervey Bay scallops, basque style , EVOO

Hervey Bay scallops, basque style , EVOO

From time to time a box of live scallops in their shells appears at the fish markets and it is always exciting to see. Saucer scallops are from the warmer waters of Australia, such as Hervey Bay and Shark Bay. They are easy to recognise as they have a flat shell, but they do not possess the colourful roe of the Tasmanian variety.

The technique is very simple – take some chopped garlic and chopped bacon and lay them the half shell; top it with the scallops and drizzle them with plenty of good quality EVOO; grill the whole thing. Beautiful, what I always get wrong is to put the condiments on top of scallops and not the other way round.

Grilled WA scampi & heirloom tomatoes

Grilled WA scampi & heirloom tomatoes

Found in the deep, cold waters off Western Australia and New Zealand, scampi are members of the lobster family. They’re caught so far from market and from such a depth, that they’re immediately snap frozen to preserve their delicate sweetness. Here, their tastes are awoken by grilling them with EVOO and herbs, and served with heirloom tomatoes with a lemon-herb dressing.

Javier’s catalán zarzuela, QLD seafood

Javier’s catalán zarzuela, QLD seafood

Zarzuela de Mariscos is this insane, over-the-top amazing shellfish stew from the Catalan coastal region of Spain. It pushes all the right comfort and joy buttons. Zarzuela de Mariscos bears a family resemblance to French bouillabaisse but other than being a seafood stew, the similarity stops there. Long distant cousins perhaps, brothers they are not.

First, zarzuela is more rustic. It’s got ground almonds in it, which gives the broth a coarse, grainy texture. All of that almond also makes it fattier and heartier. Second, the flavors are a bit bolder. Instead of fennel and orange, you’ve got cured pork and tomatoes, and peppers.

Chef Javier’s special recipe calls for the same basic techniques from his Catalan roots. And by using the best Queensland can offer – barramundi, mussels, prawns, squid – you get a meal on its own. Didn’t even bother to plate it, he served the stew in its cooking pan because all the flavours were in that pan! Finished all the ciabatta with that stew. Three yums for that.

12 Edwards

Located at what the locals have come to know as the “Paris end” of Brisbane, Moda has a large courtyard that is perfect for al fresco dining.

Good service is crucial to a great dining experience and Moda Restaurant do not disappoint in any aspect. The staff are friendly, helpful and go above and beyond to make your dining experience at Moda Restaurant as enjoyable as possible. Seeing that we were struggling with the menu, they solved our problems by recommended what would be the best combination after we told them we loved seafood.

Moda Restaurant
12 Edward St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia
Tel : 07 3221 7655

Date Visited : Nov 2014

PS: The restaurant has moved to a new location at The Barracks, 61 Petrie Terrace Brisbane QLD 4000

The current location is now occupied by Olives & Angelo, an Italian restaurant.

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