Bella Cucina, the modern, yet rustic Italian restaurant sitting in Le Méridien Gurgaon celebrates authentic Italian flavours, every day. The name literally translates into ‘beautiful kitchen’, and we walked through that door to experience beautiful food made with layers of love. By Kumar Shree

The setup at Bella Cucina has a modern, yet rustic vibe to it. Modern, as it lays out a choice of seating options for couples, group diners and business diners (in private dining rooms), and has an airy feel about it which is further elevated by rich and plush seating options in regal shades. Rustic, because the place also has an undertone of minimalism to it. The moment you step inside, you register that there’s something Italian about it. The views of the overlooking pool from the glass windows, ample natural light flowing into the space, glass-walled kitchen, chandeliers, and vintage pictures all add a distinct touch to the space. I’m here to try Chef Roberto Apa’s menu.

1. Antipasto Fritto Misto

I begin with the appetiser, Fritto Misto — a serving of Sardine and Anchovies dusted in flour and deep fried. The serving comes with a generous slice of lime, and Chef Roberto suggests I squeeze it before having the fish. I oblige, and to my delight the dish actually takes a leap with the lime than without it.

2. Insalata La Frattarola

Next up on the table is a rocket lettuce (arugula leaves), fresh fruits and nuts salad wrapped in citrus dressing. If I had to use just one word for this salad, it has to be — refreshing. In one mouthful, I’m savouring the crunchy fruits and nuts. In the other, I’m puckering at the punch from the citrus dressing. The salad is an absolute winner here.

3. Zuppa Stracciatella

A clear chicken soup finished with egg and fresh parsley, this warm dish has fine chicken threads in it and is fulfilling in nature. As I sip on, I notice how the flavours for each dish is more concentrated than the previous one. Chef Roberto enlightens, “The idea is to lead the diner to the main course with rising intensity of flavours in every following dish, so that there is a heightened sense of expectation for the main course.”

4. Fatti a mano Quadrotti patate e funghi

I’m amused at what arrives at the table. This is unlike any other dish I’ve ever had. There are no fancy elements on the plate, not even a hint of something to elevate the visual presence of the dish. This is the “ugliest looking,” but one of the most loved dish, I’m told. As I taste the dish, I could not agree more with the statement. The dish is a simple preparation of mashed potatoes and mushrooms stuffed in homemade squares topped with butter sage; it tastes absolutely amazing. This simple preparation takes the cake at Bella Cucina.

5. Main Course

For the main course, I’m served boneless chicken legs prepared with tomato, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, ground black pepper, red chilli, and olive oil. The chicken is tender and the crunch from the veggies helps rise the dish further. Once again, I notice how the flavours on this dish absolutely live up to the explanation given by Chef Roberto. I’m delighted.

6. Dolci

For desserts I’m served the Cannoli Siciliano and Torta Caprese. While the former is an Italian pastry from the island of Sicily, the latter is a traditional Italian chocolate named after an island of the same name. Both have distinct beauties about them, and celebrate the spirit of their respective lands of origins.

Address: Le Méridien, Lobby Level, Sector 26, MG Road, Gurgaon, New Delhi

Price for Two: INR 4,000 (approx)

Timings: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Phone: 0124 499 2000

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