I was hungry and craving some Italian food… Fresh pasta, bruschetta, maybe a cheese plate, and a nice glass of wine to relax with was the only thing on my mind after a day of sight-seeing. When I was searching on google for some Italian restaurants in Jaipur I almost overlooked this restaurant until I read someone’s review stating their bruschetta was to die for! My taste buds flared in excitement just from the thought of this toasty treat. So I took out my cell phone, arranged for an Uber pick up, and was on my way to the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant.
Tucked away on a side street in the middle of the city sat the Pearl Palace Hotel. It had an inviting atmosphere and was away from the hustle and bustle of the street traffic which made for a relaxing evening. One can only take so much of the constant honking and frogger-like lifestyle that Indian traffic promises. The inside of the hotel was decorated so artistically with a multitude of bright colors and different paintings covering the walls. It almost felt like I was inside an art museum.
The staff working the front desk were very welcoming and didn’t mind that I had popped in just to eat at the restaurant. Walking up the stairs I noticed that every hallway has its own unique decor, showcasing artwork from all over the world. They even had a small library where you could read from their selection of books.
The restaurant was full of tourists as well as natives. A live band was playing meditative music, and the entire rooftop was beaming with good energy. There were many green plants lined against the border of the roof making it feel cozy and romantic. There was even a large statue of a peacock sitting in the corner. As I took my seat, the waiter professionally laid down my menu typed up in a newspaper style, and my eyes focused immediately on the bruschetta, which I went ahead and ordered.
I also noticed that the menu was filled with other dishes from around the world. Chinese wontons, Indian curries, even various types of enchiladas! This might have been my first time here, but I certainly knew it wouldn’t be my last!
The bruschetta was brimming with ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a healthy amount of olive oil. The bread was toasted just right, and although it was fully loaded, the toppings didn’t all go tumbling onto my plate after taking a bite. I was a little disappointed they didn’t have any red wine that night, only bottles of their white wine instead. White wine isn’t my usual go to, so I decided to order a glass of their freshly mixed fruit juice, which was cool and refreshing.
On a few of the other occasions I went back I had their lemon and ginger water served hot. The aroma was not overly powerful but had just the right balance of bitter and sweet to create a party in your mouth! – And there’s not even alcohol!
I really did go back more than once, and I’m not lying when I say the best paneer I’ve had in India has been at this restaurant. I had their paneer pakoras which were thick rectangular cubed slices of paneer (cottage cheese) wrapped in a chickpea flour batter, deep-fried, and served with a cool mint chutney. Even though they are deep-fried they aren’t too crunchy or dripping with oil that leaves behind a greasy residue on your fingers. No, these were fluffy and melted in your mouth! The batter, applied delicately, had an almost sweet taste, and flaky texture.
I didn’t even need the mint chutney, the pakoras were satisfying all on their own. But it did have a nice medium body and left a minty aftertaste behind. Their tandoori aloo is another dish worth trying with delicately sliced potatoes filled with a cashew nut mixture. I never thought about mixing the 2 together, and it was surprisingly appetizing! However, if I’m ever in the mood to try this recipe I think I would exchange the mint chutney for a tangy barbeque sauce instead. Yum!
My absolute favorite main dish on their menu that I recommend everyone try at least once, especially if you’re a fellow lover of cheese, is the Reshami Paneer Masala. You don’t just get a bowl mixed with mainly sauce (gravy) and a tiny bit of fillings. Oh no… You get a surprisingly large portion, enough for 2 people to share, with thick slices of creamy, cheesy, paneer. I swear they had a cow hidden away somewhere in the kitchen, it was just that fresh!
They stewed in crunchy slices of bell peppers and onions that complimented the dish well, without being overly spicy. Don’t get me wrong I can always turn up the heat, and this restaurant is willing to do so upon request! I ordered some slices of their baked naan bread for dipping, and when finished, their gulab jamun with ice cream was the perfect dessert to finish off this savory dinner.
I’m sure you’re waiting for me to hit you with the hefty price tags, but the prices aren’t high at all. With prices ranging from ₹80 to ₹260 ($1.20 to $3.90), you could have dinner for 2 with dessert, and easily order take away for later! They even have their own private crystal and gemstone shop next to the cash register. Don’t leave without checking it out! They have some of the best quality jewelry I’ve seen for sale around here.
Here is a link to the hotel, http://hotelpearlpalace.com/wordpress/ I highly encourage you to check it out if you’re planning a trip or already live in Jaipur, Rajasthan. You won’t regret it!