Jaipur (Gourmet Chick in India)

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I’ve crossed the border from Nepal to India, whirled through Varanasi and Agra (more on those later) and now I’m in Jaipur, Rajastan’s crumbling pink city.  Pink is the traditional colour of hospitality in India and the whole city was painted pink in 1876 by the Maharaja at the time to welcome King Edward VII.  I’ve been doing my best to blend in with the local colour code by wearing as much pink as possible while getting around, even MTV boyfriend is in on the act proudly sporting his one pink tshirt in a display of metrosexuality.
 
The vibrant colours of Jaipur

Niro’s

The food in Jaipur is as colourful as the city with vendors in the bazaars selling heaped piles of pungent spices and touts hawking barrows of bananas and pomegranates on the streets.  I loved it all but sought my escape from the chaos in Niro’s, a haven of airconditioning and cleanliness.  Niro’s is a dining institution in Jaipur and has been going strong since 1949.  Sitting in the multi mirrored dining room we feasted on the special Rajastani Sulan (Rs330) which featured pink, charred mutton cooked in a spicy gravy.  Vegetable korma (Rs230) imparted a warm heat and was teamed with a light sauce.  The accompanying naan bread (Rs45) was light and puffed to perfection.  It was easy to see why Niro’s still packs them in after all these years.
 
Spice city – Jaipur
Essentials
Details: Niro’s, MI Road, Jaipur, 302016, India (Ph +91 141 2218920) 
Damage: Reasonable
7/10
Lunch at Niro’s
 
Madhuban
This heritage guesthouse is a great place to stay for a budget option in Jaipur but the same praise can’t be given to the attached restaurant.  Both the chicken curry (Rs250) and paneeer makhani (Rs170) had muddied flavours and both were swimming in a sea of oil leaving a greasy aftertaste long after the meal was finished.  One to avoid.  
 
Dinner at Madhuban – Chicken curry, paneer makhani and a fresh lemon soda

Essentials
Details: Madhuban, Bihari Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur, 302016, India 

(Ph +91 1412200033)
Damage: Reasonable

4/10

Samode Haveli
During my stay in the pink city I was invited to Samode Haveli, right in the heart of Jaipur’s walled old town.   Haveli means mansion in Indian and true to name, Samode Haveli is a hip heritage hotel located in an old mansion that is over 200 years old.  The lemon yellow haveli’s slightly crumbling and faded exterior revealed a luxurious and well appointed hotel once inside complete with mosaics, murals and even its own elephant ramp.
 
The pool area at Samode Haveli – heavenly 
 
MTV and I stayed in Suite 308 which was located in a new wing, sympathetically constructed in the style of the original haveli.  The huge suite contained the best of everything from the bed clad in soft linens to the two flat screen televisions and deep claw foot bath.  However the tiled floor, old black and white photographs and marble columns added a sense of history and local atmosphere to the room.  The haveli also has a stunning swimming pool situated in the lush gardens along with a spa area.
 
Lal Mans at Samode Haveli
 
A highlight of our stay was dinner at Samode Haveli which during the warmer season is served outside in the courtyard underneath the frangipanis and pomegranate trees.  The setting was magical with candle light flickering, a water fountain burbling and a live performance of Indian music.  On our visit, service was a little slow on the uptake but the food was worth the wait.  I started with crispy leaves of fried spinach (Rs350), drizzled with a yoghurt sauce making a moreish snack.  The menu has a whole section devoted to offerings from Samode Haveli’s tandoor menu and the chicken tandoori did not disappoint, tangy from the yoghurty spicing, charred from fiery heat and splendidly tender.

My room at Samode Haveli

A Rhajastani special of lal mans (Rs350) was robustly spicy while the lamb was tender and moist.  It was accompanied by fluffy rice and light, crisp naan bread which was properly blissful.  We were happy to find some bold Aussie D’Arenberg wine on the wine list and enjoyed a bottle of the rich, intense and spicy Footbolt Shiraz (Rs1,500).

Breakfast at Samode Haveli
Breakfast in the morning was served in the same courtyard area and featured a buffet of cereal, pastries, pancakes and fruit and then eggs cooked to order.  
 
Essentials
Details: Samode Haveli, Gangapol Rd  Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (Ph +91 141 2632407)
Damage: Budget Breaking.  Deluxe rooms are €230 a night in high season.
8/10

Video review of my room at Samode Haveli. 

Gourmet Chick was a guest of Samode Haveli.  All food and drink paid for independently. 

Gourmet Travel Tips
  • Kingfisher flies to Delhi from London from £500 return and Jaipur is accessible by train from Delhi (or there is an airport).  We flew with Kingfisher to Kathmandu and then came overland to Jaipur which was a bit of a convoluted way of doing things.  
  • Wandering around the bazaars in Jaipur is quite an experience and we also enjoyed visiting the Maharaja’s City Palace and the Amber Fort. 

13 comments

  1. Sounds amazing. Must get some pink gear for TPG if we ever make it there…

  2. Those piles of spices are absolutely gorgeous! I went to Kerala a few years ago with my family but that’s been my only experience of India…I want to go back…

  3. the food pictures are making me hungry! x

  4. Hey glad to see my Jaipur through your eyes. If you are still here would like to meet over chai.
    Best.
    Rohit

  5. I’d love to visit India one day-I think it would be an amazing experience for the eyes and tongue!

  6. I liked the Samode Havelli when I stayed there last year, but wasn’t too keen on the breakfast.

  7. Stunning. Love the idea of a city decked in pink.

  8. Nice little sussinct reviews and good photos. I will be keeping an eye on all your travel exploits but i have one request/suggestion for any future posts overseas. I see you are including the local cost of the food but are you able to add in the approximate cost in either pound or dollar as many people will look to your blog for not just ideas of where to go but also what it might cost them per day etc.

    PhotoMonkey

    http://sharkingforchipsanddrinks.wordpress.com/
    Twitter: twitter.com/shark4chipdrink

  9. Greedy Diva – He would fit in perfectly I am sure

    Eden Angel – It was all delicious…

    Rohit – Would love to – are you in India?

    Lorraine – It is, certainly an adventure.

    Mzungu – Good to hear you liked it – I thought the breakfast compared very favourably to what we have been getting at similar hotels.

    The Little Loaf – We are going to Kerala as well – any tips for there?

    Tori – It was my kind of place

    Nic – Good tip I will try to do that.

  10. Oh – I want to stay where yo ustayed! That photo of the pool is spectacular (as is the one of the flower seller… ). Jaipur is one of the places I’d love to visit – great to see it through your eyes.

  11. So vibrant and colorful, love India.

  12. […] a nice review and a video of the rooms (as well as more about food and drink in Jaipur) here by Gourmet Chick. It’s very popular and gets very booked up so plan […]

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