A mean music system, cheesy LED lights and a large bar at the far end of the restaurant that does a sparkling green margarita. All these elements led us to believe that what was an abandoned desert when we visited Saket’s new Mediterranean restaurant Illusion for lunch, would morph into a lush mirage at night.
If only we’d known, our lunch companion said, settling at a table. We looked around to find a space splashed in indigo and black hues that housed about ten tables, an open kitchen, lots of mirrors, a random picture of Jesus (!) and Gangs of Wasseypur actress Huma Qureshi dining next door to us. Lunch and a movie, anyone?
Pigments of Imagination
Perhaps pretending that it was night would make the place feel more buzzy, so we started by ordering a batch of cocktails – kiwi flavoured margarita and Cosmopolitan. We had to pick from a limited selection of ho-hum drinks because their official liquor license hasn’t been procured yet (it’s expected on July 1).
The yum kiwi flavoured margarita was a lush leaf-green drink with tons of crushed ice and a sugar rim. In comparison, the cosmopolitan, pretty and pink, looked a whole lot more laid back. Both were however, well mixed, combining sweet and tart flavours and served just the way we like it – cold and boozy!
The food menu offers a list of continental and Mediterranean options, of which we ordered the spinach and pine-nut fatayer and greek style chicken for starters. Both took their own time to arrive at our party of two, but were beautifully dressed with fresh herb side salads and smooth dipping sauces. The spinach and pine-nut stuffing was tasty enough to overlook the fact that the fatayer pastry could have been crisper. The chicken mince too was not as tender as we’d like, but the feta and olive stuffing combined with the rich tomato-garlic dipping sauce tipped the balance in the dish’s favour.
From then on, our dining experience at Illusion went downhill. The half and half pizza (part vegetarian with artichokes, zucchini, mushroom and sweet corn; and part meat with two kinds of salami) appeared clumsy and lopsided. The toppings were far from fresh and the tomato sauce tasted like it was out of a bottle. Last up, was the potato wrapped sea-bass which was so heavily salted that it bordered on inedible. Unfortunate, since the bass itself was soft and fresh, and the side of vegetables, grilled perfectly.
Sweet (En) trance
They were out of most desserts the day we visited – the selection usually features cheesecake, crème brulee and different chocolate versions. But if the chocolate tiramisu we got was anything to go by, we’re certainly coming back for more. In another life, this cake was a 1920s flapper – a dangerous coffee liquer-gooey chocolate pastry sporting a hat of whipped cream, a necklace of candied cherries and an elegant feathery dress of dark chocolate flakes. Our kind of honey!
It seems to us that Illusion is the kind of place you’d swing by for a cocktail, a late night slice of pie, or maybe even both. Their food still needs work and the service is slow, but so long as they have that smooth 1920s flapper, the men will come.
Getting there: G3-G4 Ground Floor, Souther Park Mall, Saket, behind Select Citywalk, call 41010301/02, Rs 2,800 for a meal for two with one cocktail each.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.