By Karishma Saurabh Kalita
New Delhi: What is the one thing that comes to mind when you think of Hauz Khas Village? Food and the lake. But the overwhelming number of eateries can be a tad annoying when it comes to choosing one and you usually end up at your regular joints.
Here’s a whiff of fresh air. Mia Bella, located at the end of the road, has undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking views of the lake. The interiors are done using just three colours – blue, orange and white – which instantly gives you the feel of sitting in a beachside cafe. Very tropical, bright and welcoming!
Sprawled across two floors, it is managed by Corporate Chef Piyush Jain and Executive Chef Kumar Gaurav Mishra.
Asked why people would opt for Mia Bella over so many choices the Hauz Khas Village has to offer, Chef Mishra told IANS: “In the end, all that matters is the taste and we strive to be the best.”
He believed it was not just the food but the view also plays a very important part.
“The Village is famous for the lake and we offer one of the best views of the entire green area,” Mishra noted.
Mia Bella specialises in fusion food and according to Chef Mishra, the menu is not very extended as it “leaves enough room to bring out the best of what we have to offer”.
We began our journey with two in-house cocktails. The first was shaahi doodh ki rani, a Sambuca-liqueur based drink mixed with yoghurt, black salt, pepper and basil leaves. This drink definitely needs an acquired taste and is not meant for everyone, but is very unique. The second was Blue Hawaiian, a Curacao-liqueur based drink. It had coconut cream and with a hint of pineapple essence – very tropical and refreshing.
The next item was the velvety chicken soup which is a speciality of Mia Bella due to the addition of chunks of tandoori chicken. The taste was very good and balanced, the flavours of tandoori chicken was not overpowering. A cuppa of this on a cold winter day overlooking the misty lake would be perfect.
The menu has three types of salads – Caesar, Fijian mix-lettuce and Walnut, and deconstructed Hawaiian pizza – and we were given portions of all three. We opted for soy-marinated prawns in the Caesar. They were cooked well, but did not really accompany the salad very well. The second salad was quite refreshing. The roast peppers gave it a very smoky flavour, while pieces of fresh mango, the walnuts and the mango-vinegar dressing gave it the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. The concept of the third salad was very confusing: it tasted bland and there were no flavours of a pizza.
For starters we were served potato and apricot croquettes, veg cigar rolls and chicken satay. The croquettes were absolutely out of this world. The sweet and very subtle tartness or the apricot fused with the potato, coated with ‘sabudana’ and fried to perfection was something I never tasted before. This is definitely a ‘must try’ dish in Mia Bella. The rolls were crispy. The accompanying sauces – sweet chilli, tomato fondue and garlic aioli – took the taste of the rolls to another level. However, the satay was a tad disappointing. The chicken was overcooked and dry, not seasoned well. The tasty peanut sauce could not elevate the taste either.
Another disappointment was the chicken wrap. The chicken was over-seasoned and very salty, although the potato wedges that were served along with the wrap were light, crispy and very tasty.
From the burger range, we were made to taste all the available options – chicken, lamb, tenderloin and vegetarian. The chicken patty was the best of all – succulent, well-seasoned with a hint of tandoori flavours. The lamb and tenderloin were average and the vegetarian was not bad either, but the patty itself was quite big and the filling was very heavy.
Next was the meat lover’s pizza and the Mediterranean pizza. The meat in the pizza did not seem like it was in the oven for a long time. Both the pizzas were bland; the crust was thin and crunchy but nothing else was exciting.
For the mains, we were served tenderloin steak and Hungarian paprika mushroom. The tenderloin stood out as the ‘hero’ of this entire meal. The meat was juicy, succulent and very well-flavoured. The sauteed vegetables were spot on and the mushroom jus (sauce) made the steak taste even better. It is arguably one of the best steaks in the entire city. On the other hand, the second dish had too much of black pepper, so much that it made me sneeze non-stop for a while. The mushrooms were soft but the taste did not do any wonders. The potato mash was however light and buttery.
We were also made to taste another in-house speciality – Mediterranean vegetable bhaji, a take on the traditional ‘pav bhaji’, served with mini buns and white truffle butter. To be very honest, it was nothing different from a normal pav bhaji.
For dessert, we had the dark chocolate mud slice with vanilla ice-cream. It was just a piece of chocolate with vanilla ice-cream, very average.
Overall, Mia Bella is a perfect place for a drink and a snack and also to experience a different side of the village.
Where: 50 A, 3rd and 4th Floor, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Meal for two: Rs.2,500 (with alcohol)
Timings: 12 noon.-1 a.m