It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “what about lunch?”
– Winnie the Pooh
Sooo, it’s that time of year again…#IndianWeddingSeason!
This year, the various celebrations kicked off on a beautiful and fabulously fun note at the Lebua Resort in Jaipur. Between the string of parties that the couple had planned for us over the two days that we were there, we didn’t have much time/ energy to explore the city… save for a few hours on our last day.
From the local uncut diamond markets to the iconic forts and palaces, we were spoilt for choice if not for time with the number of things that we could do and see.
But ultimately our group unanimously agreed on lunch at the majestic Rambagh Palace.
What followed was the most idyllic of afternoons lost in the old world charm and splendour of the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur…
Set out over 47 acres, the sprawling property was converted into a luxury hotel in 1957 by the last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur (it is now part of the Taj Group). However, original features have remained intact in all their regal glory.
The palace as it stands today was actually designed in the early 20th century by British architect and chief engineer of Jaipur, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob.
From the arched doorways to the majestic domes, its architecture reflects the Indo-Saracenic style of the time, which seamlessly married Indian, Islamic and Gothic features with the Victorian-British school of design.
Mesmerised, we wandered through the gleaming marbled corridors, drawn to the alluring nooks and crannies…
Before finding ourselves in the airy verandah opening out onto lush, landscaped gardens, with unparalleled views of Moti Doongari Fort.
Taking advantage of the pleasant weather, we opted to lunch outside on the manicured lawns, cosseted in the shade provided by quaint umbrellas clad in hues to subtly matched the palace facade.
We were a rather large party and fairly ravenous by this point and so we attacked the menu with gusto, indulging in an eclectic mix of the Indian, Asian and Continental cuisines offered by the Verandah restaurant.
My foodie partner-in-crime, the lovely Upasana of Diet Tamasha, managed to capture the tasty moment quite well:
Yet another picture of Rambagh Palace, #Jaipur @tajhotels. We had lunch in the lawns and the weather was spot on! In specific, I loved the beetroot risotto, kaali daal, paneer tikka and the eggplant tofu mixed veggies (yes, we ordered a very random mix of things). Their apple pie was amazing too and @the_foodiediaries loved their cinnamon icecream! 😍#diet_tamashaJaipur
From the Indian selection, we started with tender chunks of well-seasoned paneer tikka (cottage cheese) from the Tandoor.
But the paneer makhani was less well received, the flavours lost in the excessive pool of tomato gravy that the dish arrived swimming in.
The unfavourable gravy-to-veg ratio issue persisted with the raajma (red kidney beans). But to give credit where it’s due, top marks to the restaurant for accommodating our last-ditch effort to be healthy, by swapping refined white rice for red rice.
While the slow-cooked daal makhani (black lentils) was a well-balanced affair – rich and creamy but not cloyingly heavy. We mopped it all up with heaps of garlic butter naan…
And continued to pile on the #carbsoncarbsoncarbs with a beetroot risotto laced with goats cheese and a veggie-avocado burger, that arrived with an irresistible side of fries.
You can usually tell a lot about a restaurant by their bread – and true to form at the Verandah, we were presented with crisp yet soft, freshly baked baguettes alongside sharply tart tomato-based dip. Very, very moreish.
We also loved the tofu, eggplant and mixed vegetable stir fry, with its fiery undertones offset by the softer flavours of the melt-in-your-mouth bites of aubergine.
I know, I know – in hindsight, the mix of dishes does seem a bit odd (to say the least) but we were pleased to have had the opportunity to try as much of the menu as possible!
Since we’d been sharing the mains, everyone had room for dessert.
And so we rounded off our lazily decadent lunch with a beautifully presented chocolate mousse as well as a golden, deliciously gooey apple pie, served alongside a cinnamon ice cream that managed to both warm and cool at the same time!
Needless to say that our memorable meal was enhanced the impeccable service. We even had the chance to chat with executive Chef Sameer, following which I was all-too-tempted to delay my return back to Bombay just to be able to dine at Suvarna Mahal, the speciality Indian restaurant housed within the original banquet hall of the palace.
We couldn’t resist a quick peek inside and were quite simply blown away by the resplendence of the cavernous room with it gilded mirrors, plush carpeted floors and high ceilings boasting Florentine-style frescos.
Yes, it definitely provided one of many reasons to revisit Rambagh Palace.
Afterwards, we took a walk around the gardens and were delighted to catch a sight of the regal peacocks roaming freely across the grounds! It was a fittingly magnificent note to end our beautiful afternoon.
Taj Rambagh Palace, Bhawani Singh Road, Near C Scheme, C Scheme, Jaipur