by Annalisa Merelli
11 February 2009
The Garden Village East Bazaar Garden of Five Senses Said-Ul-Ajaib New Delhi Tel. +91.11.2953.6767
If you're going to Magique, the fun begins as soon as you hop in a taxi and ask the driver to bring you to the Garden of Five Senses, the park where Magique is located. Despite being quite big and wonderful, the Garden of Five Senses is still kept as a sort of secret: not too many tourists end up here, and therefore hardly any taxi drivers know where it is.
But this is India, and no driver will ever tell you he doesn't know the way; instead he'll say "Yes Sir", or "Yes Madam", and when you ask him whether he has fully understood where you want to go, he'll mumble a name that vaguely sounds like "Garden of Five Senses" (my favourite so far has been "Garden of Five Snacks"). That will leave you certain that he has absolutely no clue of where he has to drive you.
So just getting to Magique offers the complimentary amazement of your driver stopping to ask directions and being sent off on completely opposite routes by almost every passer-by whom he asks. But worry not, soon enough someone will eventually guess the right direction to go (as someone always tends to do in Delhi), and you'll magically find yourself at the entrance to the garden.
Now the marvels of the Garden of Five Senses extend far beyond the fun taxi ride. When you arrive it feels like you're miles away from the city, although actually you are right in the middle of it. The park is on a hill and, with its contemporary art sculpture, little solar-powered cars, and interesting fashion stores, it is a place like no other in town. It's one of those spots that get you curious and make you feel like exploring, over and over again - even after you've seen all of it. Once you've discovered the Garden, you'll surely keep going back.
And one of the reasons is Magique.
Magique is a chilled-out, Asian fusion restaurant. It's the first restaurant that chef and culinary guru, Marut Sikka, opened in his own country, and it lives up to what you would expect from such a food celebrity. I love going to Magique for dinner: candle light and lush green plants in a relaxed and private environment are not so common (and much needed) in Delhi.
The food, it goes without saying, is fantastic. Everything on the menu is a just delicious, from the crab-lychee wontons to what I really die for: the khaw suey. Thick, creamy and yet somehow light, Magique's khaw sway is so unbelievably good that I have to go back pretty often to get my fix.