While palace hotels in cities tend to accommodate their restaurants in traditional walled courtyards, out in rural locations you’re more likely to be served supper on an airy rooftop terrace, projecting jarokha balcony or in a domed cupola in the grounds. Picture flickering lamplight, peacocks roosting on ramparts and flocks of birds flapping home under darkening tropical skies.
Service in most of our preferred properties tends to be formal, with waiters dressed in long frock coats and turbans. Menus offer a wide choice of western and Indian dishes, including Rajasthani specialities such as ‘laal mas’ (venison cooked in red chilies) and ‘choorma batti’, little doughballs served with sweetened, cardmom-inflected lentils. Meals are often accompanied by traditional entertainment: singing, dancing and music from the Manganiyar ‘Gypsy’ cast, and sometimes puppet shows.
Here are three dining experiences in the region worth singling out (click through the picture gallery for images of these). Your TransIndus consultant will be able to recommend many more, including fine-dining in the region’s grand hotels.
• Ranvas – At this exquisite heritage hotel in Nagaur, meals are served in the former women’s quarter of a medieval fort, under a whitewashed, cusp-arched pavilion. The cooking is gourmet standard, beautifully presented and served with regal panache!
• An atmospheric heritage hotel between Jodhpur and Udaipur, Rawla Narlai offers a unique dining experience: supper in a candle-lit, 12th-century step well. And the food is as glorious as the setting.
• Breakfast at Bhainsrogarh: you won’t ever start the day in a more jaw-dropping spot that the domed pavilion on the rooftop of Bhainsrogarh Fort, in southeast Rajasthan, whose views extend over the glassy Chambal River.