BAR PALLADIO JAIPUR
The architecture at Bar Palladio makes it the most charming spot in Jaipur; when I was seated at a table with a magnificent view of peacocks grazing within a few feet, I felt the magic of dining in paradise. Situated in a garden within Narain Niwas Palace Hotel, Bar Palladio was born with a simple intent of presenting authentic Italian cuisine in a ethereal ambience that lets guests feel the magic of starlit skies, the magic of peacocks in the premises, the magic of wine and Italian cuisine under tented canopies warmed by a bonfire.
Christened after Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, Barbara Miolini's Bar Palladio is an ode to Italian style and cuisine, viewed through the prism of 20TH century maharajas. She first opened a textile factory in Jaipur and before long felt the need-gap for a European lounge bar.. and opened one! Designed by Marie-Anne Oudejans, it reflects their vision of European dining in India. Walking down a candle-lit path to the dining room, I was in awe of the murals of exotic birds and the stunning floral patterns against turquoise and teal walls, the handpainted ceiling, the opulent ottoman, the carved stone bar, the crystal stemware and above all the menu depicting ostriches playing hide-and-seek! I felt like Alice falling down the fabled hole…
Perusing the menu, I ordered 'Helene', a cocktail of black rum, strawberry puree, orange juice. This was accompanied by 'gnocchi' with pesto and 'ravioli' with spinach and sage butter sauce. The cocktail was mixed skilfully and one long sip transported me to orbit while the gnocchi and ravioli were both flavourful. Ordering a refill and roast chicken with spinach and potatoes, I went up to my room to throw on a pashmina shawl as there was a nip in the air, and by the time I walked back, the bonfires were blazing and the ambience was right out of a fairytale. Was I in Jaipur? Really?! Hmm. The chicken breast was roasted to perfection, enough to seal the juices, served with potatoes and spinach. Flavourful and wholesome!
Deeply satisfied with a meal in such a beautiful place, away from the hustle bustle right outside, I promised myself I'd be back soon! Reminiscing about drinks and dinner, there's a reason why Bar Palladio is packed all days. The proprietor has a masterful pulse of what discerning diners want — the growing number of regulars each day is proof. I highly recommend chilling out with friends over cocktails and Italian cuisine. If you're alone, it's a good place to catch up on reading in a quiet spot at sundown while the order is being prepared. Buon appetito! (14.2.2016)
— JASMEEN DUGAL
Photographs — BAR PALLADIO JAIPUR