Cold Comfort

Pooja Pillai


delhi areocity fine dining, Mesa Wine Bistro review, indian express

Mesa Wine Bistro's food is comforting and delicious, even if the menu is unremarkable

There’s no dearth of choice when dining out in Delhi’s Aerocity. Here, in swanky environs, one can dine on food that claims to draw from a number of culinary traditions — French, Spanish, progressive Indian, Italian, Chinese and Thai. It’s a dense space — and, given the location, expensive. For a restaurant to stand out here, it would need to go beyond quirky concepts (and provide exceptional food). Does Mesa Wine Bistro succeed on this count? Not quite.

The concept of a wine bistro in a city that is still coming to terms with the idea that some types of alcohol are meant to be sipped and not swilled, seems like a hard sell. But Delhi consumers are becoming more adventurous in their choice of drinks. Also, Mesa has a charming little two-floor space, friendly service and a warm and welcoming ambience that makes it conducive to sobremesa, the delightful but untranslatable Spanish tradition of lingering at a table after a meal, nursing drinks and enjoying convivial conversations. In fact, as we’re informed, ‘sobremesa’ is what inspired Mesa’s name. This, combined with an accessible wine list, ticks at least two boxes in the bistro’s favour.

There are enough mildly ‘exotic’ dishes, such as tenderloin carpaccio and chicken liver paté, sprinkled among the familiar pastas and risottos. To be fair, the food is mostly quite good, such as the mildly spicy Spanish lamb meatballs, served in a bed of excellent, fresh tomato sauce. The bubbling paprika prawns and refried beans taco were also delicious. Madagascar (pictured) — a dessert made of chocolate mousse that made excellent use of pink peppercorn — was brilliant. The bacon and chorizo paella would have been perfect if the chef had accounted for the salt in the cured meats. The only disappointment was the winter vegetable pie: the crunchy phyllo crust was the only saving grace of a dish that otherwise lacked any personality.

And yet, Mesa isn’t a place that one would revisit for the food, which is a shame, because there’s clearly some real talent in its kitchen. This is because the menu is uninspired and indistinguishable from other bistro-style restaurants in the city, and even if one were to linger here over a glass or two of merlot, one would still require interesting food to grease
the ‘sobremesa’.

Meal for two (without alcohol): Rs 2,500
Address: Worldmark 3, Ground Floor, Aerocity