My husband and I dined at Mela while visiting Asheville for the first time.
We've both lived in London and adore a good authentic Indian meal, so we decided to give Mela a try based on the outstanding reviews it's received.
The restaurant has a great atmosphere. It's modern, sophisticated and open -- a contrast to the usual neighborhood Indian places we're used to. It wasn't very crowded and we were seated immediately.
We reviewed the menu which seemed quite limited. There seemed to be some confusion as to who was covering our table. One server stopped by and took our drink order but declined to take our order for a starter. Eventually, another server stopped by to take our order. When we ordered the calamari starer, she put on her pouty face and said they were out of calamari. (This was before 7 pm!) She encouraged us to try some dough-based starter instead but we declined and ordered our entrees. We are accustomed to having some degree of flexibility in the level of spiciness in our Indian food....typically mild, hot, hotter, hottest...with some of our favorite restaurants. A couple even offer to bring us curry paste to mix in with the sauce if we want it hotter. My husband was craving seafood, couldn't get calamari, so he ordered the Shrimp Vindaloo and but didn't want it excessively spicy. The server said they couldn't modify the hotness and suggested he order a yogurt-based side to dilute the sauce (at an additional cost). He did as suggested. I ordered Chicken Tikka Masala. We also ordered nan.
My Chicken Tikka Masala was less than mild, not very warm and served over what could have passed for Uncle Ben's rice. My husband's Shrimp Vindaloo was also served lukewarm, but it was far too spicy for his taste. The addition of the yogurt side only served to make the dish colder. The nan was decent.
Interestingly, the way the meal was served was also inconsistent with how we've come to expect Indian food to be served -- i.e. family style for dishes to be shared. It was served like two separate entrees.
The food was mediocre and the service was uninspired. We will not dine here again.
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