It’s been a while since I dedicated an entire blog post to a single meal at one of the many new restaurants in Mumbai. I realised people aren’t so keen on reading blogs as much as “snackible” content in the form of insta-stories and images with short captions from my Instagram page. Pictures seem to talk louder than words these days and well, one’s got to evolve with every passing phase. But sometimes, you just want to express yourself with words… words that come straight from the heart… after all, this blog was born with the very same intention. So here I am, sharing a recent dining experience that truly was impressive enough to inspire me to write this post.
I was invited to check out the food and drinks at Illuminati – one of the many new bustling places to have opened its doors in BKC. They label themselves as a resto-lounge that serves an amalgamation of progressive European and Asian cuisine coupled with a range of artisan cocktails. If you’re looking for some amazing luxury dining options, I would certainly recommend the food and drinks that make Illuminati a hot, new favourite. The food has a nice eclectic touch and is quite Instagram-friendly, but hey… don’t worry! The food tastes equally good if not better!
So here’s what went down on this fine Sunday evening…
PRISONER (ketel one, lemongrass, galangal)
My first thoughts the moment I took the first sip? It’s like a refreshing spa in my mouth. The perfect summer cooler for those who absolutely adore the rich flavours of lemongrass… ‘Prisoner’ is your drink.
BLUE FAIRY (jim beam, blueberry, blue pea bitters, orange)
One of my favourites of the night, it’s anything but blue and that’s not a bad thing. Fruity with a dash of citrus punch, this one comes with a smokey cinnamon stick. The aroma is captivating, while the flavours come together beautifully.
MON AMIE (rum, watermelon, passion fruit, basil)
As much as I don’t want to be a sexist, this concoction spells “girly”…. But I was happy to see a man drink it. Cheers to equality in every sense, right? I certainly thought it’s the perfect choice for those who like their cocktails to be on the sweeter side, and I for one, love any beverage that has watermelon as an ingredient.
BLACK AND SICHUAN PEPPER TENDERLOIN
I don’t know where to begin but this one’s capable of giving you the ultimate foodgasm. I could feel myself getting full, but couldn’t get enough of these perfectly cooked, shredded tenderloin with some assorted mushrooms, roast onion puree, roast chilli and ketchup manis. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this preparation. A must try for all tenderloin lovers!
BACON WRAPPED PRAWN SKEWERS
Another favourite of the night, this one’s bomb.com! Sure I’ve eaten this preparation before at other restaurants but this was the best till date. Super juicy and plump prawns wrapped with bacon strips with maple syrup and lemon glaze… what’s not to love, right? Served with french mustard and mandarin puree, this one’s a winner all the way!
FIVE SPICE PORK BELLY
With crackling honey roast pumpkin, vodka apples, crispy onions and garlic and star anise jus, I have to say it’s one of those rare pork belly preparations to catch my fancy. Although I personally felt it could have been a little less dry (or maybe it had gone cold by the time I finished clicking pictures #BloggerWoes), the confluence of so many different textures and flavours brings about a surprise in every bite. The pork was plump with not a whole lot of fat so that really worked out well for us.
TOKYO CHICKEN KARRAGE
One of those pleasant surprises of the night, the chicken is deep fried and then drizzled with some sweet chilli sauce, served with roasted Thai peanuts. The description wasn’t exciting enough but we’re so glad to have given this a shot. Whether you have them with the peanuts (though they have a way of adding that lil’ extra crunch) or not, it’s a delicious appetiser and goes really well with your drinks.
JASMINE SMOKED RAWAS WITH LEMONGRASS PRAWN BROTH
Probably the most plump piece of rawas I’ve ever eaten that was cooked to perfection… This beautiful dish is served on a bed of scallion and wheat noodles and topped with aromatic prawn crackers. It’s a true rawas enthusiast’s dream come true on a plate. Subtly flavoured, I’d be happy to make a meal of this all over again.
FRESH BAY PAELLA
Saucy and full of treasures from the sea, this classic Spanish delicacy has had my interest for a long long time. Having eaten it during my trip to Barcelona, it came pretty close to it. Although this one seemed a bit more tangy (which isn’t a bad thing if you like the classic Italian red sauce), I thought the portion was a perfect and wholesome meal for 1.
THE DECADENT CAKE FRENCH TOAST
Purely basis my personal sense of taste, I didn’t quite enjoy this. But then food and flavours can be as subjective as your preference in movies. Remember the whole debate about Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha? Some loved it, while some didn’t. I guess this particular version of french toast did nothing for my palate but I also believe there would be takers.
APPLE PIE BAKLAVA
On the other hand, this dessert has my heart. The apple pie baklava is served with french vanilla bean ice cream which is apt since you want to balance out the flavours. Delectable with every bite, it’s my kinda sweet ending and was the perfect way to end this fabulous, close to perfect meal.
PS. They have a couple of chocolate based desserts too which we were keen on trying but our stomachs gave up way before our minds did.
All in all, a great experience as a whole, I’d highly recommend Illuminati.
Here’s a google map link to help you get there: https://goo.gl/maps/TTgFSvZgpMo