In Jaipur's Mansarovar, An Oasis Of Grandness & Good Food
Image Credit: By special arrangement

DESPITE living in Jaipur for over two decades, I have rarely stepped into Mansarovar (which was Asia’s largest colony till 2010). Not because it's a suburb — it's pretty much within the city as we know it today. But because culturally or logistically, Mansarovar didn't have much to offer. However, when I recently visited the Hyatt Regency located within the colony, it felt like a whole new world that the rest of Jaipur hadn't caught on to yet.

Situated on ISKCON road, the property feels like an oasis of history, culture, design and luxury in the urban sea that's Mansarovar. As soon as you enter, you feel like you're in one of those Udaipur palaces-turned-hotels. That's because the hotel has been a decade in the making, thanks to the manual stone-carving. A bunch of giant crystal chandeliers hover above you in the lobby, like drones from a medieval era watching the goings-on below.

Seen as a wedding destination, the Hyatt Regency Mansarovar remains largely devoid of local footfall. That's quite strange, given Jaipur's thriving culture of casual dining. Hyatt battles the prejudice of the locality it's situated in: enthusiasts would drive all the way to Kukas, a suburb situated on the Jaipur-Delhi road, but wouldn't turn their wheels towards a colony that they've presumed doesn't fall on their leisure radar.

But I'd strongly recommend venturing here. Come for the royal touch, stay for the food. The hotel offers four diverse eateries, which vary in terms of menus, experience, vibe, setting and decor. My favourite was The North Club. An indoor restaurant located on the second floor, it's designed as a casual club/gymkhana from the era of the Raj. In fact, its menu also has a fascinating colonial hangover. The cuisines belong to the colonial past of India – Anglo-Indian, Portuguese-Goan, French-Pondicherry, and Dutch-Malabar.

The dishes that I'd vouch for are the Calcutta Club Cutlet (a beetroot and vegetable mash straight out of Indian Coffee House on College Road, Kolkata); Jhinga Alamgir (a pickled prawns dish named after India's 15th Mughal emperor); Vichyssoise Soup that’s picked from Coromandel Cafe in Pondicherry's French Colony; Attirachi Roast and Malabar Parotta from Kashi Cafe, Fort Kochi; and last but certainly not the least, the Malai Gulkand Kulfi, which will transport you to the heart of Chawri Bazar, Delhi. I'd also suggest visiting The North Club with a good appetite, given their portion sizes are quite generous, unlike most luxury hotels that offer a pretty-looking dish far tinier than the hole in your pocket.

Right next to The North Club is the Pink Bar, named after the Pink City it's situated in. However, it may remind you more of Udaipur, the City of Lakes, given the golden chhatris. The name does make sense if you visit the Pink Bar at sunset. Facing the city and not the courtyard (inspired by the Amarendra Bhawan at Nahargarh), one can enjoy the pink and pastel hues of the Jaipur sky while sipping a matching sundowner. From the menu that sounds like a king's checklist, I'd recommend Ruby (grape, vodka, lemon, elderflower), Syahi (vodka, passion fruit, basil leaf, pomegranate), and Twilight (absinthe and orange), depending on your choice of poison.

Away from this dash of royalty is Shrot on the ground floor. Translating to English as “Source,” the restaurant offers everything local. With vegetables sourced from the mandi next door to preparations in traditional home cooked style, Shrot feels like coming back home from the adventure that is the Pink Bar. Even the table salt is a pink rock salt stone that you can grate over your food. The food is served in a steel plate, like the good ol' thali that we've grown up eating from. From the menu, my recommendations are Panchkuta (consisting of sangri, gunda, amchoor, kumthi, bajre ki roti), Paneer Bathua Ka Saag (cottage cheese and pigweed), and Matheera Maans (Jaipur lamb, Barmeri melon seeds, kalonji mirchi, kulcha). Also, you can't leave Shrot without trying their Doodhi Halwa (bottle gourd mash; which reminded me of the dessert my late nani would make).

After venturing into the colonial past, royal history and comforts of ghar ka khana, what's left? The Royal Bakery & Bar is the perfect choice to end your food odyssey with. Serving only classic desserts like Opera, Cruffin, Marble Tea Cake, and Chocolate Eclairs, as well as classic cocktails like Old Fashioned and Negroni, it recalibrates your palate to a familiar taste. All the four restaurants at Hyatt Regency Mansarovar encapsulate what the feeling of going out is: Trying something new, only to discover how familiar the novelty is. It's like venturing into a colony within your city, that you've stayed away from — only to chance upon the novel taste of familiar history it offers.

Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar is at ISKCON Rd, Mansarovar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302020. Call 0141-222-1234 for bookings and other information.