Jaipur is a busy city. It is a city of artisans who’ve perfected their craft to machine-like perfection and work at breakneck speed. It is a place where the discernible shopper knows to cut through the busy lanes to get to the right shop in the right bazaar. For those who’ve never visited the city, it can seem like sensory overload - shopkeepers are hailing you down and the constant sound of vehicle horns keeps ringing out when you’re in the old city. However chaotic it may be, the Johri Bazaar in Jaipur is iconic - a bazaar that has been world renowned for the craftsmen with generational knowledge that dates back to the era of Sawai Raja Jai Singh, who founded the city in 1727. Even today, there are single shutter shops in its the colonnades, owned and run by jewellers who create intricate, original pieces that are valued at millions.
In juxtaposition, stunning 18th-century structures form the centre of the flourishing markets and remain a marker of the grandeur that the city has always been known for. The moment you’re inside the walls of the City Palace, the noises drown out and you are transported to a place of calm beauty. For those looking for a similar respite in the busy lanes of the bazaar, or for those jet setters who can relax in the middle of creative chaos, enter the Johri Jaipur. This boutique hotel and restaurant is part of a 19th-century haveli known as the Lal Haveli, which has been meticulously restored. The boutique hotel opened in December 2020 and is co-founded by Abhishek Honawar, of the Honar Group that also owns the boutique stay , and by ninth-generation jeweller Siddhart Kasliwal. With scalloped arches, hand-carved tiles and meticulously nooks, the property marries Royal Rajasthani architecture with modern resort aesthetics. While the rooms frequently host the who’s who of Jaipur visitors, the restaurant is frequented by locals and travellers alike.
The restaurant offers pure vegetarian fares, with classic dishes that are permanent on the menu. However, the seasonal specials are what usually stand out. When this writer visited the Johri in March, they had Sangri ki Shammi on the menu - a rich mixture of the traditional desert vegetable with seasoned lentils and served with a dollop of flavourful pickled Dahi. The melt-in-your-mouth texture and bursts of flavour of the dish is only comparable to a well-done mutton shammi kabab to a non-vegetarian. From the Paneer Chutneywala featuring freshly made paneer in a gravy of tangy mint and coriander to the Rajasthani Soya Chaap that’s cooked with garlic and Mathania chilli, each dish is a culinary marvel that needs to be experienced. According to , this menu at The Johri restaurant has been curated by chef Vikram Arora and is led by Johri’s chef Sonu Kumar.
The Johri Restaurant also houses a bar in partnership with Third Eye Distillery’s iconic Gin brand . Known as the Johri & Sons, this cocktail-focused bar features drinks that draw from India and Rajasthan’s essence, and employ international techniques to create delectable original drinks. The 15+ cocktails on the menu have been exclusively created by the duo behind the bar consultancy Countertop. Out of the many drinks on offer, there are two names that stand out and are well worth the appeal. Nazariya is a negroni with hints of watermelon, vermouth and bitters that gently highlights the botanical notes of the gin and would be loved by those who savour the nuances of a well-made cocktail. Sukoon is a smooth combination of vodka, chamomile tea, honey, Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wine with hints of cucumber and citrus that do right by its name from the first sip.
For the experience that this restaurant provides in food, drinks, ambience and service, the prices are well-justified. If you’re a traveller who wants to have a luxurious dining experience in the heart of Jaipur, The Johri is worth making a reservation at.
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