Tapas, mezze platters, pizzas, cocktails — Cafe Mezzuna’s shareable plates and merry vibe has undoubtedly found its tribe in the last decade. The menu at the Forum Mall address was recently levelled up with a culinary collab between restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee and chef Sabyasachi Gorai (Saby) as the brand celebrated its 10th anniversary special menu. Local ingredients like Kalimpong Cheese, seasonal greens like kolmi shaag and peyajkoli were introduced to the Mediterranean and European flavours, in sync with the farm-to-fork style of dining that’s trending the world over.
“The feedback on the anniversary menu was tremendous. The menu had dishes that people were familiar with, like pizza, for example. But the way it was presented was new and a better rendition of what they’re used to,” said Chef Saby, who won the President’s Award and National Tourism Award for the year 2011-12.
Great genius often comes with a touch of madness. “The anniversary menu was just a trailer of Chef Saby’s calibre, now the movie begins! It’s all about the madness he has — he’s as mad as me, maybe more! He wanted sourdough, but he wasn’t satisfied, so he went to our bakery, Dariole. He stood there for four nights and ensured we have the best sourdough in India,” said Anjan Chatterjee.
Here are 10 reasons to munch your way through the all-new menu at Cafe Mezzuna…
1. The portions are shareable
The new menu spreadAmit Datta
There are a variety of dishes to choose from — tapas, small plates, soups, salads, sliders, pizzas, artisanal pastas, skillet dishes, Portuguese espetadas, Turkish kebabs, meaty dishes and dessert. Most are shareable portions which ensure that you can enjoy the meal with friends, family and bae on date night.
2. The pasta is handcrafted and artisanal
Zebra Ravioli, Smoked Chicken Tortellini and Truffled Ricotta GnocchiArijit Sen and Amit Datta
If you’re on cheat day, the pasta dishes from Cafe Mezzuna should be the only carbs you indulge in. The pasta is handcrafted, eggless and coloured with natural ingredients like beetroot and activated charcoal.
“Much effort has gone into establishing that our pasta is not a packaged product that is boiled and served to the guests. It is handmade and we are trying our best to make clean, good and honest food. The packaged pasta is not what the nonnas of Italy use — pasta travelled from Italy to America, became institutionalised and came to India as a fast food. That is the notion we are trying to break,” explained Saby, the mastermind behind the menu.
The Zebra Ravioli has a red pumpkin and pepper filling served with salsa rosa and a cheese melt, while the Smoked Chicken Tortellini is stuffed with chicken pate. The Truffled Ricotta Gnocchi has wild mushroom, Kalimpong cheese salsa, pesto drizzle along with confit tomatoes. What’s not to love?
3. Pizza - have it two ways!
Truffle Muse NeapolitanAmit Datta
While Cafe Mezzuna has always been the hub for pizza lovers, now there’s twice the reason to visit! Not only does the cafe serve a delicious gourmet Sourdough Neapolitan Pizza but also their special Pizza a la Romana. While the former is known for their thin crust that has to be folded over to enjoy, the latter has a chewier texture.
“Pizza started in Italy aeons ago, travelled the world and by the time it came to India, it had become the equivalent of chatni and papad (laughs). The whole journey has been about going back to the classics by developing the recipes minutely,” said Saby.
4. There’s house sourdough, served with burrata
The Burrata BombAmit Datta
This dish is easily one of the strongest reasons to visit Cafe Mezzuna. Every element on this shareable plate of Burrata and sourdough is like a painting — complementing each other but shining through individually.
The crusty in-house baked sourdough bread will roll you over to Italy’s a-dough-able eateries. “We developed the recipe for the bread and almost drove the chef at Dariole crazy! Because it’s handcrafted, it’s different every day, sometimes it’s round, sometimes it’s a loaf. Every day is a work in progress and it’s been a tremendous journey for us,” shared the chef.
Once toasted with olive oil, the bread becomes the perfect vehicle to carry the tangy flavours of the roasted tomatoes, herby freshness of the pesto and the hero of the dish — the creaminess of the burrata.
“All our ingredients are fresh, the burrata for instance has no salt or stabilisers,” explained Gorai.
5. They have the juiciest Turkish lamb kebab in town!
Biggie Lamb AdanaAmit Datta
If kebabs excite you, you absolutely cannot miss out on this one. The dish includes a lamb kebab served with flatbread, spiced onions, green chilies and a garlic dip. “This kebab has three ingredients — meat, fat and salt. When handled with care, the meat doesn’t need too many masalas to shine. The meat is not frozen, it is fresh which maintains the integrity and structure of the meat eliminating the need to add binding agents like egg or breadcrumbs. This makes the kebab juicy, tender and the flavour of the meat becomes the star,” explained the chef as he shaped the kebab on the skewer before laying it on the lava stone grill.
6. The kitchen equipment is ‘stoned’
We mean, literally, of course. The pizzas at Mezzuna are baked in a new pizza stone oven crafted by Marco Cappiotti which lends the crust its charred bits and melts the cheese to perfection while the kebabs are cooked on a lava stone grill.
The stones reach high temperatures and when the fat from the kebab drips on it, it invites large flames of fire followed by smoke which give the kebab its smokey flavour. (Right) the pizza stone ovenAmit Datta
If the ingredients are a reflection of freshness and quality, the tools in a professional kitchen are often a reflection of the quality of the finished product. “People always think that the charcoal gives the kebabs a smoky flavour but it is actually the fat dripping on the coals or stone that does that,” explained Chef, as he flipped the skewer to ensure the kebab was cooked perfectly.
“Rahul Saraf and Vidyut Saraf (managing director and deputy managing director at Forum Group, respectively) believe in our vision and have provided a lot of support to us for this venture especially with the installation of the new equipment in the kitchen,” said restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee.
7. The menu has calorie and allergy markers
For weight-watching diners, it’s always a bonus to know how many calories you’re consuming. The menu also has icons marking dishes that are vegan, gluten-free and containing nuts. Anyone who’s particular about their diet just how important this detail is.
8. The Tiramisu is to die for
Tiramisu De La CasaAmit Datta
Now we’ve been on a hunt for the best tiramisu in town and Mezzuna is now right there with Fabbrica, Veneto and Serafina on our list of faves. The punch of coffee and the creaminess of mascarpone is the perfect way to end your meal. Served with chocolate shards and a dusting of cocoa powder, the dessert melts in your mouth in a glorious second leaving a rich taste on your palate.
9. The menu celebrates the International Year of Millets
The “Mezzuna” Fish FingerArijit Sen
2023 is the International Year of Millets and the new menu gives us a glimpse of this miracle grain. The “Mezzuna” Fish Finger is light and crispy with the millet constituting the crust of the fish which is flaky. Served with a mustard dip, this is an appetiser that will leave you wanting more.
10. Cafe Mezzuna is Cafe Mezzuna :>
At the end of the day, what casual diners are really looking for is a sensory experience in a comfort zone. For the past decade, the friendly neighbourhood mall restaurant has ticked both these boxes and more.
Chef Saby’s new menu is available exclusively at Cafe Mezzuna, Forum Mall.