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    Meant to be serving ‘sun-kissed food from the Mediterranean’, Café Mezzuna does live up to that promise. Nestled sub-street level at where the original Mainland China was on St Marks Road (and then Oh! Calcutta, all from the same company), this Euro cafe’s décor will have you believing you’re in a penthouse in Rome. Tastefully decorated to resemble a swanky apartment, it has walls lined with books, black and white photos of actors and singers (pay special attention to Elvis Presley!), and wood and steel furniture. There is also an outdoor section, but we chose to sit in the comfort of the interiors to avoid the gale outside. And delusionally warm, we chose to have a watermelon and basil crush that blended the fruit chunks with sparkling water and was delightfully refreshing. In the set-up, a martini seemed apt, and we were not disappointed.
    Strong start
    While they have a vast selection of starters, soups and salads, we sampled what seemed less usual in town. So the Greek sambousek, and a watermelon salad were first on the list. The sambousek (similar to samosas) was practically flawless with intricate layers of filo pastry stuffed with spinach. We love that the dip was a feta one and they didn’t stuff the pastry with cheese too. Also accompanied by feta, the watermelon salad was appealing in both appearance and flavour – with feta, maple-galangal (the ideal marriage of pungent and sweet) dressing and squares of watermelon layered on top of each other. Crispy fried BBQ wings in oregano and thyme too is good while the smoked chicken salad drizzled with parmesan and (homemade) honey-mustard vinaigrette stole the early show.
    From the hearth
    Apart from pizzas (thin crust and 11 inches), pastas, risottos and mini burgers, they have a host of mains – from grilled prawns in lemon sauce and a Mediterranean vegetable tagine to Moroccan lamb chops and roast chicken. But it was the stone-grilled chicken and pan-fried fish that caught our fancy. Lightly crisp and brown on the outside, and soft and succulent inside, the chicken arrived with a warm roast potato salad, sautéed vegetables and a light citrus jus. Lightly herbed, the simple chicken soaked up the tangy sauce and made for a great dish. Thrilled that the fish was betki and not basa, we tucked into it with great gusto and were left mopping up the buttery parsley and lemon sauce with freshly baked focaccia, well after the fish was gone! Plus, baby potatoes and veggies – a wholesome meal made with heart.
    Though stuffed, one simply cannot say no to vanilla bean panna cotta, tiramisu, chocolate fudge and cheesecake. All divine in their own right, we found the Philadelphia cheesecake with a fresh berry compote topping and the panna cotta edges out the others. A rather indulgent meal, but well worth the gluttonous feeling afterwards! A wonderful blend of fine food and lively ambience, we think it’s a great addition to the city’s culinary list.
    `1,000 for two. Details: 22112896
    — Aakanksha Devi

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