There’s an undeniable charm about all things Italian. The rustic romance and appeal of its weathered farmhouses, hand-laid stone or brick structures, vineyards and beaches conjure up images of a quintessential European holiday. Of course, the attraction is hardly limited to its architecture, coastline, history or men (mamma mia!)—Italian cuisine and Italian wines have established an unequivocal fan base the world over.
The cuisine, which first came to India almost 20 years ago (thank you, Rahul Akerkar for giving us Indigo), has had me going gaga over its nuances and regional specialties such as Neapolitan pizzas, Sicilian risottos and arancinis, Tuscan wines and Venetian cichetti (pronounced chi-ket-ti).
I have enjoyed many an Italian meal across Mumbai’s best restaurants, but I’ve often fondly reminisced about Mia Cucina, when it was still in Versova.
Its understated interiors came very close to how I imagine a café in the Italian countryside would be—a patio under the gazebo, pastel walls, et al.
Week after week, I visited Mia Cucina for my Friday fix—the wholesome Pollo al Griglia con Salsa Balsamic (chicken breasts served with balsamic sauce, polenta and green beans) and Rosso Sangria w. chopped apples and orange segments.
When it closed down many years ago, I was most disappointed but I knew that if I wanted, I could trek down to the outlet in Powai. A few weeks ago, when my upcoming Italian holiday was rescheduled to next summer, I rushed to Mia Cucina for a reunion with the rustic eatery.
When in an Italian setting, I do as the Italians do—opting for a bàcaro experience: a glass of wine with small bites of delicious appetisers. Here too, I chose a three-piece cichetti platter (instead of a five, seven or nine) with glazed chicken sausages, jalapeño poppers and pickled beetroot, along with a glass of rosso sangria. Plus, the all-time favourite Pollo al Griglia as well as the Rawas alla Griglia (yes, I’m a fan of balsamic vinegar).
During the course of the meal, satiated from my visit to Mia Cucina, I’d made peace with the cancelled trip. No harm done. Especially since I can get a dose of Italy any time I want, in my own city.
How to Get There:
Where: G3, Transocean House, Lake Boulevard Street, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai, Mumbai
Contact: 022 67094000 | 022 67094001
Timings: Mon to Sat 12 Noon to 4 PM, 7 PM to 12:30 AM | Sun 12 Noon to 12:30 AM
Cost: ₹2,000 for two people