WORDS: SHARMEEN HUSSAIN
PHOTOGRAPHS: KIRTHIKA PRASAD
GO FROM: New Delhi, Jodhpur, Agra
GO FOR: New hangouts in Jaipur
Venture outside of Jaipur’s chequerboard Old City, and a curious modern world awaits, brimming with trendy restaurants and cafés. Step aside, lal maas (just kidding, we still love you), because waffles, cheesy fries, milkshakes and burgers are creeping up the popularity charts.
This quick advancement into the new world is very evident at Curious Life Coffee Roasters. Tired of stale, over-roasted coffee, the owners decided it was time to up the ante. They’ve set up a self-serve café that has only the best kinds of coffee with beans sourced from around India, and now even Rwanda, Africa. Each blend, brewed using state-of-the-art equipment, is a meticulous formula tweaked over many weeks. But don’t let that intimidate you. The café also serves snacks for when you’re not feeling the brew; try the caramel banana pancakes .
Tea-lovers must stop by at Tapri – The Tea House. Set in a quiet bylane, the café is cocooned in a veil of greenery and opens early, which is great if you need a cup of tea to banish your morning grump. The tea menu includes the classic cutting chai, theth chai with cardamom and saffron, as well as handcrafted blooming teas like the Dragon Balls. Though the vada pav comes highly recommended, the Chhotu Idli Platter, with a dozen or so tiny, soft idlis served with a tangy tomato chutney, is a better bet.
Take a break from your busy sightseeing schedule at Brown Sugar, a trendy café that has really caught the fancy of Jaipur’s millennials. Newly-renovated with kitschy decor, the menu includes café staples like nachos, milkshakes (the thick, creamy Nutella shake is delicious) and pizzas. The staff is attentive and quick, but the food takes a while coming.
Another hit with Jaipur’s young people, Cafe Lazy Mojo has a very extensive menu. The Nutella waffles are a hit with locals, but you just might find them a little too sweet. The classic potato vegetable burger, however (think McAloo Tikki’s posher cousin), is surprisingly tasty; its potato patty crunchy and light.
At Nibs – The Chocolate Workshop, lovers of the dark stuff will find reasons to rejoice. This quaint café with large French windows serves a battery of chocolate-themed desserts, chief among them a mean hot chocolate. Served in an unassuming kulhad, the velvety Death by Dark Chocolate is so thick you’ll be scraping the final dregs out with a spoon. The Slutty Brownie (pardon our French) is more a thick milkshake than a brownie, and, surprisingly, a crowd favourite. But stick to the hot chocolate.
In the evening, make your way to Jai’Pour Cafe & Bar, a rooftop eatery with a Santorini-like feel to it. Bite into thin-crust pizzas fresh out of the woodfired oven. The sundried tomato pizza is particularly good, topped with olives, pesto and feta shavings. If you’re missing your lal maas, the slow-cooked Rajasthani lal maas tacos are a must-try – the crispy taco shells form a perfect accompaniment to the spicy mutton gravy .
The smell of sheesha smoke hits you as soon as you enter The Stag Rooftop. Bang opposite the majestic Amer Fort, this café’s USP is its location. The Special Stag COC toast (capsicum, onion, cheese) makes for a decent evening snack. Spend an evening here and watch the lights illuminate the fort, as you plan your speedy return to the glorious Pink City.