Jaipur Hosts A New Opera-tic Experience In Italian Cuisine
Image Credit: Instagram/@opera.everyday

OPENING your childhood home to strangers isn't everyone's cup of tea. But for Harsh Bhandari, 30, that turned out to be the case in the most unexpected way. His ancestral home, a bungalow in Jaipur's C-Scheme area, is now Opera, a new Italian restaurant. His abode is pretty much intact – it's been reimagined into an Italian home, whilst keeping most of the rooms in their original form.

As we enter Opera, situated in a quiet corner of a lane that culminates in a cul-de-sac, we can see the huge wood-fired oven bang opposite the main gate. “It used to be their (the Bhandaris') garage,” explains Ronak Maheshwari, food curator and consultant at Opera. And now, we see it differently. The space that stores the oven was the same spot where Harsh's parents used to once park their car. Unlike the garage though, the now-oven room is transparent, allowing us a peek into how our favourite Hot Bell Pepper Pizza is shaping up.

Inside, the living room has been converted into a bar. Sticking to the theme of ‘see what you eat,’ you can watch fresh strawberries being chopped and added as a garnish to Strawberry Fields, a refreshing mocktail with cucumber, basil, strawberry and lime. Or you could try Prohibition Fizz, a blend of orange, raspberry, mint, lime, and ginger. It's like sipping on a breath of fresh air. Each drink will only add more verve to your evening. 

Not very far is yet another kitchen counter enclosed by glass. It's where chefs are engaged in preparing hand-rolled pasta from scratch. You can see them patiently inserting spinach into the ravioli and passing it on so that it can reach a table outside. We had the delicious Fettuccine Pasta in Beetroot Sauce. It's thick, it's rich, but it doesn't feel heavy in your tummy (because: beetroot). If you don't spot it on the menu, request the chef directly, and thank us later. 


Just because you can't see the rest of the food doesn't mean it's not worth trying. The Guacamole Chip & Dip Platter, with homemade nachos, goat cheese sour cream, rocket leaves and cheddar may make Opera arguably the only Jaipur eatery to get guac right. After the meal, you can ease into a food coma with a cappuccino served in what feels like a just-out-of-the-kiln earthen cup. Along with it, try the Tiramisu. It's a dessert that screams drama, with a pour-over, a chocolate disc, and a goblet serving as the actors on stage. Clearly, the plating lives up to the restaurant's operatic name.

Despite all the drama on the plate, the vibe of Opera remains very homely. In fact, Ronak tells us that the first guests he invited to the restaurant was the Bhandari family. “The whole transformation of the house, yet keeping the structure same, was wonderful. It felt nostalgic to see everything in there,” said Harsh. Transparent kitchens, ample natural light, and friendly staff make Opera as much of a home to its customers as it once was for Harsh and his family.

Open every day from 9 am to 11 pm. On Panchsheel Marg. Follow @opera.everyday on Instagram