Mezzaluna, the Italian fine dine restaurant at the Mövenpick Hotel & Spa is definitely one of my favorite Italian eateries in town. However, the fact that the hotel is far, far from home, means my visits are few and far between. In fact, when I was there a few weeks ago, some quick calculations and thinking back made me realize it had been, horror, a year and a half since my last visit! Under the genial and capable hands of Chef Armando di Filipppo, who has been with the establishment for about three years now, and has relocated to India en famille, Mezzaluna is always a delight. I prefer afternoon dining over dinner here, for the simple reason that the sunlight from the windows and the charm of the life size prints of Italy (almost floor to ceiling in height) comes through better in the day, and also because there’s somewhat less traffic at 1pm than at 6pm!
On this particular Saturday, we headed over to see what Chef Armando’s new menu had in store. Now, Italian is one of those (rare) cuisines where I am quite happy to be vegetarian. The cheese, the fresh crisp veggies, the breads – I am happy as a clam! With ingredients and flavors that are fresh and colorful, and with a Chef who has a light touch, an Italian meal is a sumptuous feast without leaving one with the feeling of having overindulged – and this is exactly how I felt at the end of the afternoon. Chef made sure to send out tasting portions of the individually plated dishes. Our meal was accompanied by two wines, a Hardy’s white and then a fantastic Little James’ Basket red. The Saint Cosme Little James wines are always terrific – and I shall surely remember to ask for them in the future. I find they pair especially well with Italian and French food.
As we awaited Chef’s first course, we nibbled on the fresh bread platter that came with halved cherry tomatoes, pickled pumpkin, olive oil and dried spices. When the plates of Insalata Caprina with Tomato Bruschetta and Ricotta appeared, we all dug in with gusto – light, flavorful, and fresh as can be, was this mix of lettuce, hunk of ricotta with a classic tomato bruschetta. Now, we have this not-unjustified at times fear, that a pasta meal will be rich and heavy. But given the portion sizing as well as a perfect balance of saucing and filling, there was no such problem here with the pasta course. The Spinach Ricotta’s cream sauce played well with the stuffing of spinach and cheese – if you’ve never tried spinach and cheese together, it really is something else! The Linguine, Chef told us, was not made in house but straight out of a packet – and was simply sauced with olive oil, olives and sundried tomatoes – and it was such a hit with the young lady at our table that she asked for and ate a full portion – an accomplishment for a rather finicky nine year old, justifying our compliments to the Chef!
A green pizza showed up at the table – and before you say eeks, trust me, just like the marriage of spinach and cheese, so too is the union of broccoli and cheese worthy of a chorus. In the US, it’s usually broccoli and cheddar, but here Chef used Mozzarella. I have always felt that Mezzaluna has the best gourmet pizza in town, and this was no exception. Next up was the meal’s sole non-vegetarian offering, and what an offering it was! Veal, not a meat I usually rave about or prefer, was rendered beautifully in the Involini Saltimbocca – ricotta, bell pepper and sundried tomato stuffing in a zucchini roll, alongside fingerling potatoes and the star attraction, a perfectly cooked veal medallion with prosciutto that you could cut through easily and which was generously covered in jus. Dessert was the Italian standard, Tiramisu, which sadly meant that I took one teeny tiny bite and desisted – coffee in all forms is something my palate and my nose just cannot handle. But I was assured by those who love their coffee and know their Tiramisu from their trifle that it was a good Tiramisu indeed. So biased was I, I don’t even have a picture of it to share with you! Still, my missing out on dessert notwithstanding, it was a beautiful meal where indulgence and satiation met and did not collide…
Open for lunch and dinner; Mezzaluna, Mövenpick Hotel & Spa; INR 3000 upwards, depending on the wine you choose.