Looking for authentic Persian cuisine? It’s time you planned a trip to the Hotel Fairmont Jaipur and Zarin, its newest restaurant, serving Indo-Persian dishes. The tables are meant to accommodate large and noisy family gatherings, where the food is placed buffet-style to dig into. But, of course, while the atmosphere may be intimate, there’s the unmistakable touch of luxury, which unfolds amidst crystal stemware, bespoke stone, silver and antique brass tableware.
Tucked away in a gilded corner at the lobby level, past a grand doorway, the opulent teakwood tables in the 120-seat restaurant are specially fitted with tandoors and “sigris” to keep the dishes warm. The atmosphere at the restaurant is indulgent and intimate, much like the rest of the hotel, which welcomes you at its grand doorway with a shower of rose petals.
A stone façade betrays the warmth and intimacy that lies within the grounds. It stays true to Mughal architecture, with a liberal sprinkling of green spaces and gardens, as well as pavilions. The Mughal era architecture reflects Persian, Ottoman and Islamic influences, along with a love of symmetry in design. It’s a tribute to the region’s heritage, with a walk through the hotel a virtual lesson in the rich crafts and cultural traditions of the region, with specially commissioned pieces decorating the walls and corridors.
The ceilings feature plaster work in detailed patterns and embellished in shades of gold, blue and red. One can also see the small balconies and hidden terraces of the upper stories, with elaborate carved screens. A vast variety of materials—from stone to glass—have been used for construction, including marble, timber, ceramics, metals, gold and silver leaf. No wonder they claim to make “guests feel like honoured guests of the Mughals”.
As one dines, prepare to be serenaded by the sights and sounds of the nearby Emperor’s Bazaar with treasures from the cultural riches of Rajasthan. Folk dancers, story-tellers and Sufi singers lull diners into a hypnotic trance, as exhaustive selections from the menu appear dramatically on swords.
Coming back to Zarin, Executive Chef Manpreet Singh uses dominant Indian flavours, while paying tribute to the Persian influences of each dish, in order to familiarise the modern day gourmand with traditional Indo-Persian cuisine. He says, “Steeped in tradition, Zarin will capture the imagination of diners by taking them on a journey through a bygone era that has influenced our cuisine in countless ways.” Remarks Rizwan Shaikh, General Manager of Fairmont Jaipur, “Zarin evokes nostalgia of the grandiose culinary traditions of the warrior kings and emperors across Persia, ancient Afghanistan, and the Mughal dynasty.”
The restaurant breathes life into a culinary art that has, over centuries, celebrated the fusion of two of the most ancient cultures in Asia. Serving as a resilient cultural marker within the royal courts of the Delhi Sultanate in the early 13th century, Indo-Persian cuisine celebrated the symbolic unification of India and Persia; one that began along the ancient spice route, leaving a legacy that has influenced modern day cuisine in India. The legendary cuisine of Persia has been immortalised in poetry, art and literature and each dish is a tribute to the rich culinary heritage of the land of the princess Sheherzade, the mystic Rumi and the poet Omar Khayaam.
A name inspired by the Persian word for gold, Zarin serves carefully crafted culinary offerings that include Iranian Biryanis served along with matzoon (yogurt refreshment) and salad, Atta Raan (leg of lamb wrapped in sour dough), Iranian Haleem (wheat porridge with flavorful meat proteins or vegetables), and Mahi Zameen doz (fresh-off-the-net fish marinated in aromatic Persian spices and gently grilled and then baked). This exchange of cookery styles and herbs and spices like basil, cumin, saffron and cloves showcases the culinary styling of both great ancient empires.
Drop in and sample Sheermal and Bakarkhani with Aab, Mastava and Tabriz Koftey. Vegetarians, don’t despair! There is the Subz Irani, Nadru ki Gullar (stuffed lotus stem pods) and Kebab Tokri (a flavorful assortment of stir fried vegetables) with red wine. Round this off with Baklawa platters (filo sweet pastry) and Badshahi Faluda (vermicelli combined with milk and rose flavouring).
Zarin, Hotel Fairmont Jaipur, is open daily except on Monday for dinner from 7:30 pm to 11 pm. For more information or to make a reservation, call + 91 1426 420000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has over 65 hotels globally.