So, this is your second trip to Jaipur, which means that you’ve already seen the city and its top attractions. Perhaps, then, its time to explore Jaipur’s food scene. Or maybe, like me, you are just driven by the desire to try good eats world-over. I for one, would happily pick food over all else, especially local food in a world famous foodie destination like Jaipur. Besides, who wouldn’t be tempted by the thought of flavourful, delicious and aromatic Rajasthani meals?
So, if you’re a foodie, join me on this vegetarian food trail in Jaipur, over a short 2-day trip.
After grabbing a quick sandwich at the hotel, we set out to explore the vegetarian food scene in Jaipur.
4:30 PM Kachori Cravings
After much debate as to where to go for the best Kachori, we headed to Sardarji Kachori, which was highly recommended by friends and locals. Not a pretentious place, so if you’re big on ambience, now is the time to stop thinking about going there. The only thing they concentrate on is the in-house specialty – Kachori, which is a stuffed, spicy, fried puff pastry. We ordered a Kachori and Samosa, both came with a sweet and sour chutney that was a cross between tamarind and mint chutneys. While both were good, the crisp kachori, with its mildly spiced onion stuffing was a clear winner.
Where: Sardarji’s Kachori and Lassi, Shop 31, Opposite Mayur Complex, Nehru Bazaar, MI Road, Jaipur. P: +91 141 2312233, +91 9610000110
5:30 PM The ‘Anokhi’ Experience
With both shopping and eating on our mind, we found ourselves at Anokhi – a boutique showroom for contemporary crafted textiles – in C Scheme, a posh area in Jaipur. After browsing through the elegant collection at Anokhi, we sat down at the adjacent Anokhi Cafe. Fresh, seasonal and organic produce form the basis of food here, which also means the menu keeps changing. The big plus is that it is all vegetarian. As we had already had quite a bit to eat, we could just admire the Pita Platter, the Pizzas, Hummus Plate served with Flatbread, Stir Fries, Creamy Pasta All’arabiata, French Bread Panini, Stuffed Focaccia, Savoury Muffins and Cheesecakes sitting in the display window. We finally settled down with a Banana Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Caramel, that was topped with cream cheese icing. The cake was heaven on a plate, moist, sweet and indulgent. Can’t recommend it highly enough.
Where: Anokhi Cafe, C 11, 2nd Floor, KK Square, C Scheme, Jaipur. P: +91 141 4007245
6:30 PM Tip, Tap, Tapri
Tea time, Tapri time! Tapri was pegged as a must visit, with everyone from Jaipur having harped on about how it is THE place to go to. We were definitely enamoured by the cosy, chic interiors and the quirky accents at Tapri – The Tea House. After a 45-minute wait, we finally got a table by the window. The rain continued unabated and called for more tea.
The Cutting Chai (strong, milky, spiced tea) came in a chic, retro metal kettle paired with the childhood favourite ‘Parle-G’ (glucose biscuits). To go with the sharp, refreshing taste of the tea, we asked for the most popular dish on the menu – Tadka Maggi (instant Maggi noodles tempred with Indian spices). I can swear I haven’t had better Maggi. We also tried the Corn Bhel (not on the menu), which was good but not fabulous. The overdose of corn was a bit much for me. Despite craving the desserts on offer, we had no stomach for anything more and finally decided to head back to the hotel.
Where: Tapri Central, B4 E, 3rd Floor, Surana Jewellers, Opposite Central Park, C Scheme, Jaipur. P: +91 141 2360245, 141 4011713
9:00 PM Finally, a Royal Thali
After an hour’s rest at the hotel, we had an incomparably regal meal (complimentary) at The Swapna Mahal in The Raj Palace. After the day’s gluttony, my friend and I decided to share one Maharani Thali (Queen’s platter) between the two of us. The Maharani Thali is not a Rajasthani Thali but a thali with dishes from menus of various royal principalities. After sumptuous starters – Haryali Seekh Kebab (green vegetables, aromatics and a melange of spices on skewers) and Vegetable Gulabi Kebab (beetroot kebab), we actually started looking forward to our indulgent meal. It lived up to the name and did in fact befit a queen with many dishes in the main course apart from the salad, raita, breads and biryani. Most of the items were good, with the Royal Nepalese Potato being a particularly striking preparation. We wound up the meal with a choice of Fruit, Ice Cream and a very special Shahi Jamun, also a part of the thali.
Where: The Swapna Mahal @ The Raj Palace, Jorawer Singh Gate, Amer Road, Jaipur (302002) INDIA. P: + 91-141-2634077 / 2634078/ 2634011
After the previous day’s gluttony, we decided to go “lighter” on day 2, but were hugely unsuccessful.
9:00 AM Punjab meets Chennai, in Rajasthan
As our Rajasthan sojourn had already turned into a varied eating jaunt, it was just as well that our breakfast at the Royal Lounge consisted of a very North-Indian Dal Parantha and a very South-Indian Masala Dosa. The Dal Parantha was delicious but what we really missed was a dollop of homemade butter. The Dosa was tasty and came with a Sambhar (lentil curry with vegetables) that I couldn’t have enough of.
The Royal Lounge: The Raj Palace, Jorawer Singh Gate, Amer Road, Jaipur (302002) INDIA. P: + 91-141-2634077 / 2634078/ 2634011
1 PM Really Rajasthani at Rawat
Instead of Rawat Sweets, we headed to the adjacent Rawat Restaurant which is their newer eatry with ample seating. We were greeted by a jolly good fellow who insisted we call him Motu Uncle (aka Fatty Uncle). He happily served us the Dal Bati Churma (cooked lentils served with deep fried balls of flour, clarified butter and jaggery) Thali that we ordered, and a Gatta Curry (chickpea flour dumplings in gravy) which we did not. The Gatta Curry was so good that we polished it off and ordered another. The Thali had three types of Bati – Plain, Masala (spiced) and Mawa (sweet); three types of Churma – Plain, Besan (chickpea flour) and Gulab (rose); Dal (lentils), Kadhi (chick pea flour curry), Rice, Papad and a delicious fried green chilly. The winners were the Masala Bati and Plain Churma. I didn’t really care for the Dal or the Kadhi and ended up polishing off the rice with Gatta Curry. Here are some other lip-smacking veg eats in Jaipur.
At Rawat, we also tried the Mirchi Vada, which was a stand-out dish that we got packed for family back home; and the Onion Kachori, which was also excellent, much better than Sardarji’s kachori. The Mawa Kachori though was a big disappointment – soaked in sugar syrup, the dry fruit stuffed Kachori would have done better without so much syrup. When everything tasted so good, we decided to try out the Makhniya Lassi (i.e. buttery lassi) as well. It was more like a dessert than a Lassi – super sweet and thick to the point you could eat it with a spoon. Not to my liking but I am sure hardcore Lassi connoisseurs would love it.
Where: Rawat Restaurant, Opposite Polovictory Cinema, Station Road, Sindhi Camp, Jaipur. P: +91 9829013157, +91 9799720190
2:30 PM For the Love of Paan
Another place that was much recommended, Prem Paan Bhandar, where we got the Sweet Special Paan (one each to eat and a dozen to takeaway back home – they actually have special packing for takeaway in flight, but it is still recommended you pack it in layers of newspaper to avoid any leakage that did happen to us). The paan (betel leaf with areca nut) was very different from ones I have had till now. The leaf was very tender, the stuffing not very sweet and in all made for a refreshing experience. Must have! Here are some other lip-smacking veg eats in Jaipur.
Where: Prem Paan Bhandar, Ajmeri Gate, M I Road, Near Petrol Pump, Jaipur. P: +91 141-3302066, 2364525
4:00 PM Ice Ice Baby
Jal Mahal is a very old and talked about ice cream parlour. They have ice creams in a range of fruity flavours, sugar-free ice creams, kulfi (Indian ice cream), ice cream pizzas and ice cream cakes. We tried the Fresh Sitafal (custard apple) & Jamun (Java plum) Ice Cream Scoops, along with a small Faluda (made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds, and pieces of jelly with milk, often topped off with a scoop of ice cream). The Ice Creams were good but I have surely had better. The kulfi was excellent but was doused in too much faluda. Though it was not bad at all, it did not live up to the hype.
Where: Jal Mahal, 85, MI Road, Jaipur. P: +91 141 2373520, +91 9829220365
7:30 PM More Rajasthani Punch
We decided to end the day with a light dinner at Niro’s – a quaint restaurant with an old world charm. The menu was extensive and looked very inviting. After much debate we again ordered the Gatta Curry, this time with Makki ki Roti (corn flatbread). Their Gatta Curry was an entirely different style from Rawat’s, it had a creamier gravy with soft gatta pieces in it. The roti was perfectly cooked – crisp, yet melt in the mouth. Great meal to end a great trip!
Where: Niro’s, Panch Batti, MI Road, Jaipur. P: +91 141 2374493, 141 2218520
After these sumptuous meals, we could happily bid our vegetarian food trail in Jaipur Goodbye. Until next time!
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