Bella Cucina’s address in the heart of Le Meridien Gurgaon may peg it as an Italian fine-dining, and so would its custom-built Molteni kitchen, but its young team would have you believe quite the opposite. It’s a place where casual dining meets gourmet cuisine, where exclusive wines breathe easy in large Bordeaux glasses, but you can easily get a Rum and Coke if you prefer. It’s Italian, beyond the pizza and pasta as you know it.Walk in and let the good times begin.
Molecular gastronomy is not just another term here, but something that comes easy to the team. So, look forward to a Caprese Salad accompanied with creamy mozzarella or be prepared for melt-in-the-mouth Compressed Beetroot accompanied by a spray of goat cheese snow, plus tomatoes that magically transform into a jelly or foam, dramatically fired onto your plate through a Siphon. Sample Capuccino of Mushroom, served in a cup and foam-topped with the chef’s favourite Porcini Brioche. If you’ve been bored of the same old food, here’s something to take you into a new zone. Keep your camera at the ready!
The focus is on the palates of North and Central Italy, and you can choose from an offering of eight signature pizzas or DIY at no extra charge. The very high-tech Pavesi oven, handcrafted from Modena, Italy, allows the pizza to rotate for an even heating. As for the meats, while the chicken is local, along with the fresh fish and tenderloin, there’s also Australian lamb Rack, Chilean sea bass and Atlantic salmon and scallop, ensuring interesting textures.
Chef Amit Kumar, with experience of nearly a decade, believes in presenting Instagram-friendly dishes, in keeping with today’s trends. ‘Bella Cucina for me, is the result of journey through my years of being a chef and understanding the Italian culture from its very roots. The celebration of aspects such as the basic understand of ingredients, simplicity of flavor and striking the important balance between traditional and modern culinary practices is what has brought this dream to life, gone are the days of secret recipes and chefs running the show in the backdrop’, says Amit, 28, who runs a kitchen where the average age is 25.
Manager DhinenderKandpal (or DK), 26, has handpicked the beverages and carefully lined up a curated list, which he is certain can’t be found elsewhere in the city. They compare the joy of food with fashion and films, breaking down the process and starting from scratch. Amit, for instance, wants you to leave thinking about your food experience at Bella Cucina, where the “making of the dish” happens with a flourish before your eyes, giving you a taste of things to come, much like a film trailer. DK likes to go back to the origin of things and then give it a twist, as with his signature Vesper Martini/The Last Word, akin to the return of faded denims. He points us to his source of inspiration, the books, decorating the shelves in the cosy nook near the entrance.
According to Mr. David Hopcroft, General Manager,‘In today’s ever evolving culinary arena we chose to open Bella Cucina with the understanding that the market was well and ready to receive a product such as this. Traditional Italian cuisine is something that hasn’t been well presented too often and with the demand for restaurants that are true to origin and flavor, on the rise we knew our new venture would be nothing short of a thumping success’
‘My arrival at Le Meridien coincided with some exciting new F&B initiatives at the property; Bella Cucina being the first. Am delighted to see Chef Amit come into his own and play to a strength that showcases his knowledge of traditional Italian Cuisine. His talent reflects through each dish that shines through with bold yet highly refined flavours’, says Chef Suprabhath Roychowdhury, Excecutive Chef
On his days off, he chooses to visit the eateries nearby, including those at Cyber Hub(Near and far), popular with Gurgaon’s corporate crowd. They’re all competition, he maintains, in keeping with their aim of creating food that’s hip, fresh and extremely well-priced, despite its five-star antecedents. They’re confident of their craft, tested to perfection in the kitchen and say of their highly customised beverage experience, “If you don’t like it, don’t pay. If you like it, order another!” And among them is the Sour Apple Baconiser, a potent mix of pork fat washed rum, egg whites, Sour Apple Pucker, granny smith and house bitters, poured out in premium Schotts Zwiesel glassware.The team likes to call itself liquid chefs, who “create your liquid taste”. Their ever growing wine list, of over 70, including vintage, domestic, Old World and New World labels, besides exotic liqueurs. The pricing is fair, and you would pay the same for wine by the glass as if you ordered a bottle and split the cost. There is also ample thought given to non-alcoholic beverages.
So, visit Bella Cucina for a birthday, anniversary or just a fun evening to catch up with friends, and keep your cameras handy!
REVIEW CREDIT : SAGAR