Words by Bindu Gopal Rao
Located on the lobby level of the uber luxurious, palace-inspired Fairmont Jaipur is Zarin, the 100 plus cover fine dining space that is open exclusively for dinner.
The restaurant’s decor is reminiscent of a palace dining area with large painted ceilings, hanging lamps, plush upholstery and ornate lighting fixtures. A long table is also here as an ode to the time when kings would host meals for large gatherings. The colour palette is pastel with peach walls, beige floral upholstery and cream hued self-printed floral curtains, which contrasts well with the black light fixtures that have intricate filigree work.
The restaurant serves a traditional Rajasthani thaali in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and I was very much looking forward to tucking into my meal.
Starting with Masala Chaas, a salted watered yoghurt drink with spices and coriander, I was served a platter of starters that included a mini aloo mutter samosa that has cumin flavoured potato and green pea; Pyaz ki Kachori, a Jaipur specialty; Mewa Dahi Gunji, a stuffed lentil dumpling served with sweetened curd; and Jodhpuri Ambi Paneer Tikka that has creamy cottage cheese spiked with Rajasthani pickle.
The non-vegetarian starter was the Shikari Murgh Tikka, a chargrilled chicken from the tandoor flavoured with hunter’s spice mix.
As I savoured the dishes it was hard not to notice the interiors that are done up with touches of royalty with exquisite tableware (mine had a wooden elephant holding the napkin as a cap on its head) and the lilting soft music that wafts through the space. You can also dine in the al fresco area where the cool breeze is sure to elevate your meal experience several notches higher.
After a while, I was served the main course aptly called Rajshahi Bhoj, a meal fit for the kings – where the plate is massive, so make sure you come here with a big appetite! The non-vegetarian curries included Laal Maans that has mathania chili spiced baby lamb; Murgh Ka Sweta, a classic Jaipur chicken, and corn dish. The plate also has the ubiquitous Dal Baati Choorma, a signature whole wheat dumpling that is eaten with mixed dal and a dash of sweet.
Also on the plate is Gatte ki Sabzi, gram flour dumplings in spiced yoghurt gravy; Ker Sangri, a dried Rajasthani beans and berries preparation, Papad Mangodi Ki Subzi, poppadam and lentil dumplings in gravy. This was joined with Paneer Chutney Wala, cottage cheese cooked in a mint flavoured gravy and Marwari Aloo Pyaz ki Subzi that has baby potatoes cooked with pearl onions. All of this is teamed with steamed rice and mini breads like the Mirchi adrak ki roti that is spicy with green chilies and ginger, Bajra ki Roti, a pearl millet bread and Sev Papad ka Paratha.
When I was ready, the dessert plate arrived with mini Malai Ghevar, a local dessert, Amer Ki Gunji, a local mawa based sweet and Gulab Jamun. This is a meal that befits royalty and certainly whets your appetite for a slice of gastronomic Rajasthan. A must try on your next visit to Jaipur.
Address: 2 Riico, Kukas, Rajasthan, India 302028
Reservation: 91 1426 42 0000
Timings: Every day except Tuesday from 7pm – 11 pm
Images courtesy of Fairmont Jaipur