Garden of Five Senses
New Delhi. 011 2953 6767.
Meal for two: Rs 3,500 (without alcohol)
While wan-dering through Magique, lines from Kubla Khan popped into my head. "In the Garden of Five Senses did Marut Sikka/A stately pleasure-dome decree," I rhymed, "And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills/Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree." Magique must be the most enchantingly atmospheric restaurant in Delhi. It opens only in the evenings, when its seductions are most powerful, all flickering candle flame and picturesque shadow, burbling fountain and rustling foliage.
The all-sensory pampering is completed by the food—Asian-fusion creations, a fine example of which were the superb grilled scallops, plump specimens grilled to a warm blush, sitting on mats of bok choy, under caps of a sweet tamarind-chilli sauce. The braised duck with tamarind sauce too was outstanding, with a fine balance between crackling skin and tender flesh. The fusion veered briefly into confusion in the Balinese-style sushi, disappointingly stuffed with chicken. The "avocado" that they urged us to try for dessert turned out to be, mercifully, a soul-warming Affogato—vanilla ice cream and brownie-chunks swimming in hot espresso—exactly what was needed to be roused from blissful post-dinner torpor, to drive all the way home.