Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mia Cucina - My House!

We all have our favorite restaurants where when we walk in, the waiter knows our first names, our family history and whether or not we have regular or mineral water.

One of my favorite restaurants is Mia Cucina (my home) in Bandra.

The reasons I go there are varied, for one thing, it’s a two minute drive from my house and for another, I LOVE the food there.

Finding it is really easy. If you’re coming from Turner road, you take a right at the Pot Pourrie signal and go straight until you see Gold’s Gym on your left. You take a left and go into the lane leading to Pali Hill and Mia Cucina will be on your right.

The valet service is prompt and more importantly they don’t loose your keys or wreck your car while they’re in the process of parking it!

The décor is really simple and understated, and no this is not a nice way of saying ‘it sucks’. The restaurant outside is dimly lit and the tables are perfect for a small intimate dinner. When you go inside, things get a little more crowded.

The waiters are quick to take your order and the first thing you get when you sit down is a small roll of the most delicious homemade bread accompanied with a small pat of herbed butter. The bread is soft, with a light crust on the outside and is like a little slice of heaven!

A big let down is that they don’t have a liquor license so they only serve wine and like almost everywhere else in Mumbai the Indian wine is mediocre (Sula and Château Indage again!!) The imported wine was so expensive that I didn’t even try it (Rs 450!!)

I should say that I’m not really a big fan of Italian cooking, I can’t stand Pasta or Lasagna or Spaghetti. When I go to an Italian restaurant I generally order a steak, or if they don’t have it, a chicken and mushroom risotto. I also have a rule about eating pizza, which simply put is don’t eat it unless it has the equivalent of two pigs or a cow as toppings.(Meat Feast from Smoking Joe’s)

Now the starters are good, but not spectacular. I highly recommend you skip the starters and go straight to the main course.

They have a pretty decent steak-that’s what I had the first three or four times I went there. However I once went there pretty late at night and they were out of beef. The owner suggested I try the quarto formaggi (four cheese) pizza. I was pretty apprehensive of trying a pizza with only cheese (what, no meat!) But I was really hungry and too tired to argue so I just went with what he said and boy was I glad to do it!

The pizza crust was insanely good, not too doughy and not too brittle. It’s kind of like the perfectly cooked naan, with loads and loads of cheese on it.

I should tell you I’m not even a fan of cheese, I like my cheese to be light not heavy, but this was seriously sensational! All four cheeses are mixed together on the pizza, its slightly bitter and very heavy (duh 4 cheeses?) It’s impossible to finish a whole pizza (even for me!) At Rs 450, for a 10 inch pizza, the price is pretty reasonable.

I recommend the mushroom risotto, to which you can add chicken for an extra cost. It’s a rich, creamy risotto, the chicken is well cooked and succulent and the mushrooms add a lovely chewy texture to the dish. The dish is priced at Rs 400 + Rs 60 for the chicken

And now we come to my favorite part of a meal. Dessert!

Don’t even think, go for the Decadence cake and you’ll never regret it! The chocolate in that cake is among the best I have ever had, the only word to describe it is ambrosia!

The cost for this decadence (pardon the pun) is Rs 150.

A meal for two as described above without any drinks costs about Rs 1200

What I liked:

Food
Service(reasonably prompt)
Waiters(actually knew what they were talking about when they were suggesting dishes)

What I did not like

Tables are too close together
No home delivery
Very crowded even on a Tuesday night (I suppose that’s a good thing)


Today’s tip is another cocktail; I invented this for a girlfriend of mine who didn’t like any of the regular cocktails you normally get in bars

The Chocolate Bomb

Ingredients

1. 1 bar of cooking chocolate (you can use Cadbury’s in a pinch but this is better)
2. 4 tablespoons of sweetened cream
3. 2 scoops of chocolate Ice Cream
4. 2 Tablespoons of Kahlua (use dark rum if you don’t have any but it’s not as good)
5. Half a bottle of Brandy (Honey bee will do)

Method

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan
Once it’s melted add the sweetened cream
Stir well
Add brandy
Add Khalua
Stir again
Pour into two big glasses
Add Ice Cream
Chocolate Bomb explodes!

4 comments:

  1. Very well written blog, you may have a chance of becoming a food critic in the future. What I liked about it was that you gave directions to the restaurant.

    However, I would like to add my pregnant additions to the blog.

    I recently went to Mia Cucina (November 29,2010 to be exact) and had the Beef ( Buffalo and not cow). I didnt enjoy it as much as I thought I would but I did enjoy the Chicken in Lemon Caper Sauce and Chicken with Spinach and Marscapone. The Beef a little bit too rustic for me, whereas the Spinach and marscapone chicken had a perfect blend of Rustic as well as complex tastes.

    I have not had the starters, however I would recommend everyone to try their Salads. My personal favourite is Fig and Feta Cheese Salad. Crisp fresh leaves, accompanied by a few lumps of feta cheese with a fig vinagerette. However, the standouts of the dish are the Roasted Pine nuts and the Rocket Leaves which are bitter and perfectly counterbalance the sweetness of the vinagerette.

    For Main course, if you are non vegetarian I recommend the two chickens mentioned above, and the mushroom risottos is a perfect dish to recommend for vegetarians, although once I got 'gluggy' risotto.

    Which leads me to Pasta, this is one of the places that strive to make their Pasta 'Al Dente' and come fairly close to succeeding but fall a little short. However, they are much better than most Italian restaurants where the Pasta is overcooked or feels like and insipid lump of flour(undercooked). One Restaurant that does not know how to cook Pasta is Relish at Churchgate. Mia Cucina thankfully gets close enough that even a person from Italy would laud the effort.

    The Pizzas are decent, and would be in my top 5 of Bandra, but i would not know if it could break the top 5 of Mumbai. Till date, Indigo Deli has made the best Pizza for me. I although prefer the pizzas I make at home.

    I don't agree that India does not produce good wine. Admittedly most of it is not worth even cookign with there are some standouts within them. Sula's Sauvignon Blanc (2008) would be one of them, which if they stock it,would go beautifully with the Chicken with Spinach and Marscapone. Tiger Hill makes a pretty decent Red Wine, but I would stick with Sula's white Sauvignon Blanc.

    Coming to Desserts - The chocolate decadence should come with a warning that it is bitter chocolate for those who do not enjoy the taste of it (I personally love it). The Blueberry cheesecake was the stand out for me, which has the right amount of sweetness, so as to just tantilise your tastebuds but not enough to make your pallette feel dominated by the sweetness.

    The service was brilliant and the constant supply of bread and butter put me off my foul mood. I was waiting for my fellow diners for around 45 minutes, occupying space for four, but they did not complain one but and left me to be with my thoughts and arrived only when called.(which means that they constantly looked towards my table to see if I needed anything).

    My Hits:

    1. Chicken was extremely succulent
    2. Use of Spinach in dishes (I always felt it was an underappreciated green leaf)
    3. The Blueberry Cheesecake
    4. Service
    5. Soft Italian music in the background to enhance the ambience
    6. The Bathroom Mirror (Bandra) (Look at your pupils in the mirror)
    7. The fact that they offer 'wheat' pasta.

    My Misses:
    1. Only one type of bread made in the day
    2. The Olive Oil and balsamic Vinegar should be put on the table and not asked for
    3. You may get a 'gluggy' Risotto (Although quite rare)
    4. The Panacotta or tiramisu does not quite hit the spot, although im not a fan of panacotta or tiramisu

    Apart from that, this is a restaurant which promises to be quite and enjoyable peaceful meal. I think that the tone is set for hushed voices and thats why people would not mind the closely positioned tables. However I feel that there is adequate space between tables.

    I will try and replicate your Cocktail someday.

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  2. I didn't say Indian wine was medicore, I said the wine they serve is medicore! If you want really good indian wine, try the Indus Cav Sov. Or the Riviello Syrah. You will never drink Sula again! Zampa has just hired a new South African wine maker so expect them to come up with some good stuff as well. I just came back from Nashik and the Shiraz he served was pretty good

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  3. Come live in Delhi and do this here. Please?

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  4. I would love too, only because I'd see more of you :)

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