The month of Bhadon or monsoon is full of celebrations, festivities and traditional hustle-bustle in Rajasthan. Especially, the week that was! With Eid-ul-Fitr, Sinjara and Badi Teej spanning the week, Pink City witnessed prayers, celebrations, preparation of traditional recipes and some very colourful cultural events in the city.
There’s no better way to experience the vibrant culture of fascinating Jaipur than attending the festival of Teej, and attending the traditional royal procession, called the Teej Maata Ki Sawari, led by decked up elephants, musical bands, chariots and folk performers through the walled city. Each year it begins from the Tripolia Gate of the City Palace in the evening, and ends with the immersion of the idol in a lake. This time the idol was ssubmerged in the Taal Katora pond. Here are some hues and highlights of the procession:
“I have explored everything from top shot five star hotels to the best dhaabas, and always end up eating at Niros, because this is where my heart lies”, says Bina Kak on the joyous occasion of 65thbirth anniversary of Niros today.
There are so many cafes and restaurants opening up almost every day in Jaipur giving an equal competition to all the oldies, but as they say ‘Old is gold’ ! Among all these new outlets appealing to the teenagers and college going crowd in Jaipur, stands a restaurant amidst the most enticing shopping and foodie area of pink city: Niros.
While walking around the streets of M.I. road after a round of shopping, you spot a small restaurant called Niros…NOT ! You never ‘spot’ Niros, you know Niros by heart, by mind and especially by tongue 😉 This restaurant that lies in the lane of many more eateries, ice cream places, and shopping outlets, but what’s absolutely interesting is that it stands out and shines just like an old wine that keeps getting better and dearer each day.
Started by late Ved Prakash Pardal in 1949 and now run by his sons Rajnish and Vinay Pardal, Niros was the first place in Jaipur to serve Continental food, and good continental food ! Despite being popular and loved, Niros never rested on its laurels and kept on working towards excellence and soon became the only centrally air conditioned restaurant in the city in 1962 and the first one to bless Jaipurites with Chinese food on the menu in 1970. From a classic restaurant, Niros went on to become a landmark by which every other place, lane and shop was known to all the locals and tourist guides in Jaipur. We can say that before Google Maps came in, Niros was the definition of maps in Jaipur !!
With a garden ambiance complimented by potted plants and murals by the internationally acclaimed artist, Satish Gujral, Niros has a simple yet a very posh ambiance. “As Niros completes 65 glorious years today, I feel extremely nostalgic and miss my dad more than ever. I want to thank all those who love us and have made this possible and look forward to their visits and patronage hereafter” – Rajnish Pardal, owner of Niros.
When asked about what Niros means to the Jaipurites as it completes 65 years of success today, 60 year old Shekhar Verma , a retired professor of University of Rajasthan and a food connoisseur says ‘In early 70s, I used to go there every day for their special Keema Samosas which were available only from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. People used to queue up to have those amazing things which were available only at Niros’
“The subtle interiors, cozy ambiance and soft contemporary English music have been the most appealing features of Niros and if I say I am in love with their Chicken A La Bomb Femme, it will be an under statement.” Shekhar Verma adds.
Indian politician, social activist and Bollywood actress Bina Kakis someone who loves to explore different places but somehow, Niros just does it for her. “Even though it’s quite irritating not being able to like any other place in Jaipur, what’s truly amazing and satisfying is the way they treat us. The music is extremely good and still not too overpowering. At the same time you will always find the who’s who comfortably sitting and enjoying their time. Some of their chefs are as old as the restaurant and that’s probably the secret behind their consistent recipes.”
Her top favourites are the Chicken bharta, fish, Niros special desserts especially Caramel custard, Kidneys on toast and French onion soup. “The best part is that you get to have the paan of your choice at the end of the meal.” Bina Kak adds.
Not just Bina Kak, even her daughter Amrita Kak, a popular singer who’s now married and resides in the Punjabi hub of Delhi, gets constant craving for the food of Niros to the extent that the delicious Chicken Tikka masala is packed and sent to her from Jaipur to Delhi.
The restaurant has received the opportunity to serve various renowned personalities like the Ex- Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah and his son, Omar Abdullah, Indian film actors & directors, cricketers like Kapil Dev, artists etc.
Rajnish Pandal and Late Maharaja Bhawani Singh
English Supermodel Naomi Campbell
Rajnish Pardal with Prakash Padukone, Father of Deepika Padukone & Former Indian Badminton Champion
Indian film actors Dimple Khanna and Late Rajesh Khanna
Rajnish Pardal with Farooq Abdullah
Indian film actress Sharmila Tagore at Niros
Some locals who belong to Jaipur and have been staying outside for a few years also expressed their views on Niros. Nitin Hajela, now working in Bangalore, says “For me, Niros is one of the iconic restaurants of Jaipur. My memories here date back to my childhood days when it was always a matter of joy and privilege to dine here with family and relatives. It was here I had my first tryst with continental cuisine. Amongst Rajasthani cuisine, Laal maans is the most savoured dish though the entire menu which is worth trying. I never miss to visit this place in my trips to Jaipur”
Nitin Hajela, 41 , now working in Bangalore
Swati Thapar, 24 , working in Social media firm
After a nostalgic trip with the older generation, Jaipur Beat also asked the younger generation as to what role does Niros play in their present day life. Swati Thapar, 25, working for a Social media firm says “Whenever there is an occasion in the family or friends, the first place that comes to my mind is Niros. Apart from chicken and fish, I love to have the Spanish omelette and Cheese macaroni at Niros”
There are very few things which never change and if they do, you keep loving them more every day.
So all you Jaipurites, the weekend is knocking at your doors so how about quickly wrap up and celebrate by going out tonight to Niros and experience the joy of sharing good food and good times together !!