The outer courtyard of The Johri that leads to the restaurant and soon-to-open cocktail bar.
I have my first bite of Jaipur’s zero-sized peas at The Restaurant at The Johri. The variety is famous enough for a shopkeeper down the lane to export his produce to Dubai and Japan, but it’s somehow escaped me at home in Mumbai. The bright green peas are tiny but sweet and flavourful, and they’re dished up with corn and spinach as a large plate at The Johri.
It’s part of the delicious riffs on local and regional specialities that pepper the menu crafted by chef Vikram Arora (founder-head chef at Tamak, Mumbai) and led by The Johri’s chef Sonu Kumar. The menu draws on organic, farm-fresh, vegetarian produce and is seasonal, with space for a few evergreen signature dishes like the paan patta chaat, sev tamatar ki subji and the Dal Johri.
Inside Jaipur’s new vegetarian restaurant
The 70-seater fits into bustling Johri Bazaar (Jeweller’s Market) like a well-kept secret, tucked into a lane off the main colonnaded street that helped get the city on the UNESCO World Heritage list. While the restaurant is open to all, it is attached to the recently opened five-suite boutique hotel, The Johri. The second property from hospitality maverick Abhishek Honawar and Siddharth Kasliwal, ninth-generation owner of Gem Palace, is a nearly two-century-old merchant’s haveli, dressed up in an exquisite blend of Rajasthani opulence and Wes Andersonian chic by designer Naina Shah.
Prabh Deep’s Amar plays over the dimly lit restaurant, pretty in pinks from blush to salmon, and flanked by a soon-to-open cocktail bar on the left and a more private dining section to the right. There’s a big family reunion on the evening I dine, and I take a table overlooking the outer courtyard. Behind me is the brass-studded wooden door that opens to the hotel. Stone latticework, floral tiling and murals of swaying palms and serene cranes set the perfect scene for easy conversation, Instagram candids or even a quiet, contemplative meal for one.
Whether served up classic or with a twist, the dishes are expertly prepared and close to their roots. There’s truffled aloo tikki crowned with aged parmesan ‘papad’, a crunchy dahi chaat of crisp baby spinach and paan leaves flecked with pomegranate, and a gently flavoured, tandoor-roasted soya chaap. The truffle cheese kulcha, plump with mushroom, parmesan, cream and local cheese, is big on flavour and pillowy soft.
Missi roti finds an ideal companion in the palak kofta, the stuffed balls of mushroom and spinach in cashew gravy are lighter than I expect. While the Dal Johri of organic black lentils is dense, comforting and generous with the hand-churned butter and cream, the tangy sev tamatar ki sabji is sprinkled with different types of sev (some made in-house and some sourced from the neighbourhood sev-wala) so each bite lends a variation on the theme.
Diners with dietary restrictions will appreciate the menu’s footnotes. The tender sangri ki shammi kebab anointed with a streak of dahi, for example, is gluten-free; the juicy and sweet mirchi ka halwa christened with gold leaf is gluten-free and Jain-friendly; and the unmissable, tart sorbet of jamun kulfi dusted with rock salt is gluten-free, approved for Jain consumption, and vegan. I linger over a pot of mildly spiced kadha tea, basking in the restaurant’s mellow glow.
The Restaurant at The Johri 3950 MSB Ka Rasta, Johari Bazaar, Ghat Darwaza, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302003. Open from 1-4pm; 7-11.30pm; call 8905551681 for reservations. Meal for two, approx Rs1,800 without alcohol. Website.
Source: Thanks https://www.cntraveller.in/story/jaipurs-all-new-all-vegetarian-restaurant-is-vastly-instagrammable-rajasthan/