Tag Archives: italian

Magique (Garden of Five Senses) 7/10

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Tucked away in the middle of the Garden of Five Senses, is this gem of a restaurant. Magique ranks up there with Lodi Restaurant and Thai High in terms of ambience. Additionally, where it scores over many of the other high-end establishments in Delhi is the quality of food. One cant really categorise the cuisine into any particular type. The chefs have been creative (and adventurous) enough to do a kind of mix and match between cuisines. So be prepared for a continental style pasta with a lemon grass flavour!

However, be prepared to shell out quite a bit. Magique is not what you’d call a reasonable restaurant. For example- a full meal, which included two starters, two mains, a glass of wine and a cup of tea set us back by 4K plus! So, make sure you have full pockets before you get there.

We started with the Bali inspired sushi- involving search chicken and crab maki rolls and a platter of grilled skewers which had a selection of chicken, lamb and fish. While the sushi was up to par, we found that the fish (salmon) was simply out of this world. Next time, I intend to tell them to hold the chicken and the lamb- and just get us the fish.

For the mains, we chose the grilled halibut and the tenderloin in green peppercorn sauce. The tenderloin was up to par- medium rare, as requested and the green peppercorn sauce was spicy enough to offset the tannin provided by the Chilean merlot I had on the side. The grilled halibut however, was a bit of a let down- it could have possibly been seasoned a little more- the seafood pungency had remained in the fish.

The portions are just right. At the end of one starter and one main each, both fellow foodie Rukmini and me were stuffed to the gills. Hence it didnt make sense for dessert. As an aside, I have been to Magique before- do try the grilled sausages (but ask before you order them- they usually dont have all three varieties at the same time) and the stir fried chicken. Diners of the vegetarian variety should try the Stir fried shitake, oyster and cloud ear  mushrooms. But like I said- its expensive.

Top Tips:

  • You wont need a reservation
  • Try going when the weather is nice- possibly during the cooler months for a sit-out lunch
  • They do have valet parking
  • The wine list is impressive!
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 9
Ease of access 5
Service 8
Quality of food 8
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? As many times as my credit card allows
Meal for two Rs 3500 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted
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56 Ristorante Italiano (Gurgaon) 7/10

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A chilly wintry afternoon in Gurgaon, a quick meeting with a client and Italian food in a well-lit, airy restaurant- what else does one want? Upon returning from a meeting somewhere on Golf Course Road, fellow foodie Raghav spotted this little gem of a place tucked away in the midst of the offices.

The entire restaurant is built into this atrium, offering plenty of light and space. As we walked in, the place was deserted. One can only assume one of three reasons why a restaurant would be deserted at lunchtime- one, its newly opened; two, the food is terrible; or three, the food is overpriced. Surprisingly, this was none of the three.

The place serves alcohol, as will be evidenced by the huge bar at the far end of the restaurant. Of course, being in the middle of a workday, its best to stay away from alcohol. As we settled in, we were informed of a set menu for Rs 499 in which we could choose a starter, a main course and a beverage. Not being that hungry, we decided upon main courses only.

Raghav’s prawn risotto was wonderfully light and garnished with a largish prawn sitting right on top. None of that nasty seafood pungency, yet the flavours of the prawn came through strongly. However, I thought it could do with some more salt. Mine was slightly heavier- having ordered the tenderloin pasta. The beef was well cooked and blended nicely with the tomato- mushroom sauce. But really, the high point was the toasted garlic bread. Perhaps we were really hungry, but we seriously could NOT get enough of that bread. Freshly toasted, warm, with just the right amount of garlic and topped off with their olive paste- we would have had that all day long.

Top Tips

  • The chef looks Italian- always a good sign
  • The service is fairly quick, even taking into account that fact that the restaurant was practically empty
  • Portions are HUGE!
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 8
Ease of access 4
Service 7
Quality of food 8
Value for money 7
Would I go back there? Totally! I need to go meet that client more often!
Meal for two Rs 1000 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Lodi- The Garden Restaurant (Lodhi Road) 8/10

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Note: this review has been sponsored by DhoomBox.

Just beyond the entrance to Lodhi Garden is this blink-and-miss entrance to what is possibly one of the most beautiful restaurants in Delhi. As you walk through the path, you notice tables out in the open amidst the bushes and the trees, with heaters and soft lighting. Since December can get fairly cold in Delhi, I opted to sit inside instead.

The manager, Vijendra was kind enough to sit with me and explain the concept of Lodhi restaurant. They serve European cuisine, primarily- just my kinda place! Some of their vegetables are sourced from their organic farms- one in Gurgaon, and one in Delhi. The clientele is mostly expat- given the close proximity to Nizamuddin, Jorbagh, Golf Links and the Lodhi Institutional Area. Which means that its not going to be easy on the pocket. Be prepared to shell out premium moolah for a premium setting.

As part of the set menu, I chose a coriander lamb skewer, a tomato and celery broth, garlic chicken morsels with risotto and their house special- a chocoloate mousse.

Things started off badly. I’m fairly sensitive to mutton and lamb in terms of their odours. The skewers came from a lamb or goat that had either been spayed/neutered or was fairly old. You’ll notice a pungent smell in certain kinds of meat, particularly in low spice mutton/ lamb/ beef curries- I got the same smell in the skewers. Not that I’m complaining- a lot of people actually relish the smell. I don’t. the skewers also needed a little more in it- just flavoured with coriander gives it a bland, one-dimensional taste.

But the soup turned it around for me. Warm, filling, yet light it actually reminded me of the soups my grandmother would make for me when I was sick. Couldn’t have asked for better. But what truly blew me away was the chicken. If you’ve cooked chicken, you’ll know that there’s a fine line between partly cooked and overdone. If it’s not cooked enough, it’ll taste awful (and will be unhygienic too). Overdone and it’ll be dry and fibrous. This one held the line throughout. Every bite was sheer joy- juicy, succulent and bursting with flavour. The tomato risotto accompanying the chicken played the brilliant sidekick to what was the perfectly cooked chicken.

But then again, the chocolate mousse had issues. Slightly grainy as opposed to the smoothness one would expect from a mousse- I thought I could taste the flour and butter (or atleast some kind of fat). Wasn’t really a put off- but after that chicken, it couldn’t match up to that standard.

Top Tips

  • Extensive wine cellar- ask the manager for his recommendations
  • Few other places in Delhi (such as Thai High and Magique) match up to their ambience
  • Don’t park on the main road. Instead, there’s parking a few metres ahead of the road. Or you could park at the Lodhi garden parking spot
  • Perfect for a late lunch after a walk in Lodhi garden
Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 9
Ease of access 7
Service 8
Quality of food 8
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? As often as it suits my wallet!
Meal for two Rs 2000 (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes
Credit cards Accepted

Vera Pizza by Tonino (Gurgaon) 5.5/10

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The parent restaurant- Tonino, on the MG Road is nearly unparalleled in terms of Italian food. This offshoot, in Cyber City, Gurgaon pales in comparison.

Having said that however, as one of the many, many restaurants in the area, each clamouring for your attention (and credit cards), let us now reduce our expectations from Tonino to your regular-working-lunch eatery for the corporate minions that make up cyber-city’s population. In that case, Vera Pizza does not disappoint. The lunch buffet looked fairly large, but unattractive, which led me to have a look at their pizza selection- which is apparently cooked in a wood fired oven (although how they got the permit to burn wood in the middle of Cyber City is beyond me). The pizza of choice is the verapizza fantasia which, as the name suggests is a (meat) eater’s fantasy. Four types of cheeses, lamb, chicken and even eggs! I’m not so sure if Italians traditionally like eggs on their pizzas though- that too sunny side up! You could also try the chicken lasagna which isn’t half bad, given that the lasagna sheets retained their texture till the end and the sauce was the perfect blend of the tomato sweetness and the bite of the parmesan.

Unfortunately, there’s not much else to recommend. The grilled chicken sausages with mashed potato and mustard (btw, why would anyone want to serve bangers and mash in an Italian restaurant is beyond me) had no mustard and the high point of the garlic bread was the olive oil it came with. The tomato soup lacked the tanginess one would expect in a tomato soup and the chicken soup well, had woefully little chicken and tasted more of mushrooms.

All in all, if you’re looking for a pizza in Cyber City and are sick of the Dominoes/ Pizza Hut/ Papa Johns clones, Vera Pizza is pretty much your best choice.

Ratings/ Quick Facts Scale (on 10)/ Remarks
Ambience 7
Ease of access 5
Service 6
Quality of food 6
Value for money 4
Would I go back there? I don’t really have a choice. I work in Cyber City and love a good pizza!
Meal for two INR 1400 + taxes (without alcohol)
Serves alcohol Yes (apparently they have the lowest prices in the area- or so the board outside the restaurant says)
Credit cards Accepted

Top Tips:

  • Reservations arent really necessary
  • Parking will be an issue
  • Just go for the pizza. Forget everything else.