For the past few weeks, there has been an endless buzz about a new place.
"Where is this place?"
"Hauz Khas Village, man"
"Doesn't a restaurant open and close there every two weeks?"
"Yeah, I don't know about the food, but the restaurant has a killer view!"
We set out to see what the noise was all about.
First things first. Mia Bella does boast of one of the most beautiful views in all of Hauz Khas Village, and rightly so. The view is resplendent- a tranquil lake surrounded by a ridge of greenery and the historic Fort.
With a drink in our hand and wind in our hair, overlooking the glistening waters and a picturesque fort... if only life was as perfect as this.
The contemporary interiors are adorned with wall clocks, mirrors, pieces of art such as the classic cupid. The color palette includes balmy hues of yellow, valley green and wooden brown.
Rooftop seating at Mia Bella
So far, so good. But will the food match up?
Bhanu Nehra, the owner of Mia Bella, says, "Delhi is the food capital and I have always dreamt of places where I can just sit and relax, share a couple of drinks and have food with my friends and family. And, yes ambience has always played a key role. Mia Bella, is indeed a dream come true of opening up a gastrobar. For us, we believe in rendering experiences to our customers and I am sure they are going to love it."
They call it the gastro-pub - a pit stop where one can unwind, slurp a few cocktails with a side of quick finger foods.
The menu includes Middle-Eastern, European and African fare. A large chunk of the dishes are devoted to the Braai cuisine, which essentially is a spit-roast, more commonly known as the South African version of barbecue.
What we ordered-
Cocktail - Sangria (Rs. 395/-)
Mocktail - Italian Smooth (Rs. 175/-)
We asked for the best-sellers, something that the staff recommends. In our Sangria, we could hardly taste the wine, which left us with a frown. The mocktail added fuel to the fire; it was pretty hard to guess the flavours. Both the drinks were too sweet to work for us. All in all, the drinks we ordered lacked a repeat appeal. Not the best start.
Non-vegetarian - Peri-peri Chicken (Rs. 299/-)
Vegetarian - Chicken dhoka (Rs 299/-)
Vegetarian - Tri Bell Cottage Cheese Souvlaki (Rs. 269/-)
The snacks we ordered. Left - Chicken Dhoka. Right - Peri Peri Chicken
From the Braai menu we ordered the tangy Peri Peri Chicken. The chicken cubes were wrapped in a fiery marinade and grilled, with a garlicky aftertaste. A few more minutes on the grill could have made it close to perfect. Hot on the palate, good for those who love their spicy food.
The chicken dhoka was an interesting concoction of pieces of bread, shaped like chicken drumsticks, that were fried and stuffed with hung yogurt and bell peppers.
We liked the tri bell cottage cheese souvlaki that came with a batch of crisp herbed potato wedges and a refreshing cucumber-yogurt dip.
Overall, the snacks got an above average score.
Non-vegetarian - Beer chicken (Rs 399/-)
Vegetarian - Mezze platter (Rs 499/-)
The Mezze Platter
The beer chicken was tender and had an ever-so-slight beer flavor with a dominant peppery kick. They could have done away with the excess spice rub.
Beautifully presented, the mezze platter was a treat for our eyes, not so much for our taste buds. The quantity did not justify the price. The large portion of dips left much to be desired, especially when paired with a meager quantity of accompaniments.
We saw a delightful selection on the menu and were looking forward to get our hands on the peanut butter pie. To our surprise, they didn't have any dessert, except vanilla ice cream. We obviously chose not to order it.
Without a doubt, Mia Bella sits in the most prized location at Hauz Khas Village. But is a beautiful view enough to get a restaurant going with mediocre food and inferior drinks? We have to confess that we left the restaurant wanting more.
Food and drinks: 5/10
Value for money: 7/10
Have you been to Mia Bella? Tell us your experience.