The modern Spanish establishment, which ignited the Basque tapas scene across the Tasman, is setting up shop in the Seafarers Building. Speaking on the advent of the opening, MoVida executive chef and co-founder Frank Camorra said he couldn’t wait to start developing the menu in Auckland. “We know many New Zealanders have been coming to Melbourne and enjoying our signature dishes for many years.”

Number one fan is Lucien Law, founder and CEO of Savor Group, which is at the helm of the Auckland operation. Lucien is thrilled that he no longer has to leave home to bask in the Basque delights of a long-time fave. “I still remember going to MoVida long before I met Frank, and the third dish I tried was the cecina – air-dried wagyu beef with potato foam and a poached egg,” he says. It was this dish that motivated him to get MoVida to make the move to these shores. “And, yes, you will be able to get the cecina in Auckland.”

Barcelona-born Frank set up the original MoVida in 2003. He’s giving Auckland the best of what he knows and does so well, with its own particular local touch. “We’ll have a large wood-fired section that includes two adjustable Basque-style grills and a charcoal oven. This will allow us to cook whole fish and paellas over [a] wood fire – something we have never been able to do before.”

Of the permanent residency at Seafarers, he adds: “Finally, we are here and taking our cue from what’s happening in Melbourne. After two years of restrictions, people have come out wanting to enjoy life in all its forms. We hope we can help bring some joy.”

MoVida Auckland will add to Savor’s impressive established restaurant repertoire, which includes Amano, Azabu, Ebisu and Ortolana. Says Lucien: “I believe now more than ever we need to revitalise the CBD. We need to offer things that you can’t get on your doorstep, and nothing can replace the buzz of a city when it’s at its best.” GERALDINE JOHNS