“Welcome to Mojake,” the earnest host at the door says. The sincere warmth that hits us here, upon first dip, never fades: this is a place where the owner serves you with his own hands, and they’ll always adjust the music volume to your liking. But while the uber homely vibe and unwavering ode to all things Med has us excited about Mosaic -- even to the point where we believed we may have stumbled upon a real secret -- eventually it asks you to rely way too much on your imagination to make it a thing.
It’s not as much of a fiction as 4S next door: there is cleanliness, care, and no irony. Yet there are some too-keenly studied things that miss the mark, and then make Mosaic prey to comparison rather than letting it stand on its own, slightly weird, feet.
The Great Seat
The name is a flat and direct reference to its flooring. The tiles sit with the other interior decoration clichés or the first list of all the props needed to create quintessential Delhi Med place –the doors are the excited shade of blue you’ll know to expect, and multi-coloured lanterns dance from the ceiling. There is a pretty spectacular indoor-outdoor balcony for an intimate gathering and seating is comfortable: yet small things like artificial flowers and quotable quotes from Omar Khayyam begin to chip away at the parts of the design brief that actually work.
When we get to the food, the blueprint of sincerity is still discernible. Nothing on the menu steers you too far from Mediterranean cuisine. All the star items feature, with a tagine list occupying center court. Off the bat, we applaud the regional focus and are heart-warmed by the complimentary hummus, which is really quite good.
However, while sincerity remains consistent, consistency becomes a problem. Muhammarra, made of roasted peppers and walnuts, is an inviting fiery-hued pool, but doesn’t provide us with enough lip-smacking olive oil, required to swim nicely through the dish. Spinach and ricotta rolls, which resemble juvenile cigars, look like they are supposed to, but will embroil you in a frenzied search for the cheese. Shrimp in butter garlic too lacks a deep infusion of truly tasteful marination. It becomes a metaphor of the culinary problem at large.
If we re-visit, say after a few beers at 4s – and for the inside/outside balcony – we’d probably settle for the one plate we quite liked: the eggplant moussaka. Painstakingly layered with eggplant and cheese, the warm dish comes with a toasty chickpea salad making the experience of eating it much like a Med Bhel. Its easy and layered at the same time – much like what we were hoping for the rest of the experience to be.
No sticklers for authenticity, but big on some kind of originality: we’ll be back if Mosaic can recognise its weirdness as an opportunity -- or suck up the prices for those fancy, expensive, ingredients.
Getting there: Mosaic -- The Med Kitchen, B-35, Defence Colony, a meal for two costs around Rs. 2,000.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Accessibility: No wheel chair access.
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