Nestled in a quiet little lane near 6 Ballygunge Place, it is quite easy to miss Alla Bella Mozzarella, except during dinnertime, when you would see a bunch of people waiting right outside its doors. Serving Italian food (as the name suggests), Alla Bella Mozzarella has gained a rather faithful fan following who keep on returning. I went there on a Sunday night, got something packed from them the following Thursday, and went back next weekend for lunch. Let me start with a spoiler: the food here is pretty good, but more than that, what I like about the place is the comfort it offers me.
What I like about the menu is the simplicity – you won’t get too many items which you can’t pronounce – rather, the menu has a series of items which are easy to remember, for example, the four-cheese pizza (which we had on our second dine-in visit to the place, and I am still kicking myself for not carrying my camera), or the lasagna, which is unlike the ridiculously heavy meat-and-ricotta dish drowned in sauce which is served up at most places. The huge wood-fire oven is fired up every day, and pizzas are made from scratch, which provides a lovely, slightly thicker and more solid crust (thanks to the gluten build-up), which most wheat-lovers will appreciate. The interiors are done keeping in mind an Italian Trattoria, and I believe that a glass or two of wine would make my experience even better.
With six people in the group, we decided to order as many dishes as our stomachs would agree with, and started off with the red bell pepper soup, which was A’s recommendation. The soup looked deceptively simple, and I dipped my spoon into it, wondering why he would pick a vegetarian soup to feed a horde of demented non-vegetarians folks. Turns out, he was right, and the soup was everything I wanted in a bowl of soup and more – thick, creamy, cheesy, with smoky red bell pepper forming the base, and an absolutely perfect bowl of happiness which I would return to over and over again (incidentally, I ordered this the second and the third time as well, and the soup was just as amazing as the first time I had had it, and I had two bowls of it the second time with a bunch of thin grissini sticks, and called it lunch).
The Caesar Salad was simple, and thankfully, not drowned in dressing. A light shaving of parmesan on top was a good touch, together with a handful of crunchy croutons, and I sneakily picked off a good deal of the red bell peppers, because lets face it, I like peppers.
The Pizza Al Alla Bella was going on the right track – the spicy sauce, the crunchy bell peppers and olives, with a crust which was neither too thick nor too thin – but well, somehow the combination just didn’t work for me, but is probably going to be a favourite of someone who loves the hot and sweet combination. Also, this pizza is not overburdened with cheese – it does have it, but not too much – following the style of the Italian rather than the American pizza.
The lasagne was filled with vegetables and a thin sheet of pasta which bisected the layers once or twice. The top was a heavy rain of melting, stringy mozzarella, and well, I have to be honest here – this is possibly the healthiest Lasagne is going to get, without taking all the fun out of it.
The Pasta Arrabbiata was, however, a total hit with the gang – we all wanted some garlic bread to mop up the spicy sauce, and the pasta was cooked al dente, just the way I like it. The sauce was rich, redolent with tomatoes and basil, and a small spoonful of parmesan (Served grated on the table) was perhaps not required, but it did add a good deal of additional flavours to it.
The Pollo di Marscapone was, to me, a slightly mixed bag. The perfectly cooked chicken breast really didn’t need any extra flavours on top of it, least of all the bowl of creamy gravy served with it, which I found bland. I much preferred the mashed potato which was smooth and warm, and the crunchy grilled vegetables, that gave me the illusion of eating healthy.
At this point, the six of us were willing to throw up our hands in air signing defeat, but then, there’s a separate dessert stomach for all of us, and this was no exception. The chocolate fondant was perhaps not as liquid as many of us would like, but the gloriously rich pool of chocolate slowly pouring out of the fondant when cut open is a rather lovely sight. Tthe outer edges were slightly crunchy from the wood fire, and the slight smokiness evoked memories of the chocolate cakes coming freshly out of my old, box oven.
Alla Bella Mozarella is a nice option for those who are looking for good, hearty, satisfying Italian meal for a very reasonable price. They also deliver food, so those around the area, rejoice!
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited the first time to the outlet. However, the other meals were independently paid for.