When Mia opened on Dalry Road, I wasn’t convinced it was going to stick. Not only was it next door to much-loved Italian Locanda de Gusti, but it was next to a parade of restaurants that I couldn’t see flourishing. In yet another case of “what would I know” Mia has not only established itself, it has spread operations to a second branch.
It was the last night of Sherry’s (Momma Johnson) visit, so we were looking for somewhere convivial, accommodating and reasonably priced. That’s cheap and cheerful in old money. Mia fit the bill very nicely with its light and airy new Morningside branch that was lively and buzzing.
With Team MJ principal Mandy acting once more as chauffeur – so sadly non-drinking captain – and Sherry urging us to take care of the precious as well as she had done during her stewardship, we settled in for an evening of Morningside merriment.
Service was friendly but slightly haphazard reflecting their unfamiliarity with managing the space. It didn’t matter though as we could correct the little mistakes ourselves with minimal fuss.
From the typically broad menu, Sherry opened with the soup of the day which was cauliflower, and followed with the house risotto. Mandy and MJ refrained from starters choosing pesto canneloni and spag bol respectively. I started with melanzane parmigiana then had a meaty pizza for main.
Starters promptly arrived. Neither were lookers but both were heartily good. My melanzane was towards the top end of the scale on what is one of my favourite dishes.
Mains soon followed looking pretty smart. My pizza was sectionally divided by meat type meaning I had a couple of slices of prosciutto, a couple of pepperoni, and a couple of chicken. This made tasty and varied eating. The base was slightly pancake-like and consequently a little floppy but I coped without too much of the topping going overboard, barring one tomatoey spillage to the shirt.
It was the first time Sherry had ordered risotto. She enjoyed it a lot and I helped with a little of the monster portion. It was very nicely seasoned and flavour-packed. The bolognese was warmly received, too, but the canneloni seemed a little underwhelming.
Mandy and Sherry had eyes for dessert so put the tiramisu and vanilla cheesecake through their paces. Both were good without hitting the absolute heights.
So overall, we had a really enjoyable meal and evening at Mia’s new branch. There’s a little further bedding-in to do, but its a place full of charm serving food that’s likely to please. I’d recommend a visit next time you’re looking for a lively and well-considered Italian dining experience.
It was with a little sadness that we went up to Morningside to have a last night out with my mom before she went back home to Alabama, after having flown over to take care of me and my peg leg.
To be honest, I don’t spend much time in Morningside and I never noticed Mia popping up. The place is a nice mix of rooms and the atmosphere was lively without being overpowering. Even though early in the evening the acoustics were a bit loud and it was hard to hear each other, I think this is acceptable in a buzzing Italian restaurant.
I was still not up to my eating standards, so I opted out of the starter, but did order my first alcoholic beverage since becoming limpy. It was a nice Chianti that took me back to my days as an untraveled student in Florence. The menu was exactly what you’d expect from a good Italian place and the specials on the board looked tempting and diverse.
However, I was craving something I knew well and loved: Bolognese. Mom opted for a cauliflower soup to start and she loved it, the depths of flavours were there and it was a generous portion. When the mains came, mom and I totally won.
The Bolognese was rich and well-flavoured with the right amount of sauce to pasta. While mom, on the other hand, tried risotto for the first time, and boy, did she get a proper-sized helping of it. The house risotto had a mix of meats and vegetables and it was well seasoned with a good consistency, none of that runny gloop that it can be. She liked it so much that she even asked me later how to make it.
The ricotta cannelloni (a special of the day) was a small serving and was a bit lacklustre compared to the rest of the dishes on show, but sometimes we get the short end of the ordering stick and have to go back and try again.
There were desserts had, and they looked quite pretty, and mom got to taste what a non-baked cheesecake was like. We don’t really have those back in Alabama; a cheesecake is synonymous with a NY cheesecake-baked all the way through.
Overall, it was a good night, and I would happily return and try different things from their menu. Mia is positioned to do well in Morningside, and I look forward to going back.
Blythe scores Mia Morningside
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Mandy, Miriam, Sherry, Blythe
We ate: cauliflower soup, melanzane parmigiana, risotto della casa, spaghetti bolognese, canneloni, pizza carne, tiramisu, vanilla cheesecake
We drank: nero d’avola, chianti, cola, irn bru, water, espresso
We wore: Pink Floyd, Blue Monday, Green Day, Black Grape t-shirts
Total bill: £81.05
Address: 394 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5HX