My Love At First Bite With Meraaki Kitchen

I was wrong. It was brilliant.

For days I had been hearing about Meraaki Kitchen. The description invariably included the words ‘modern cuisine’ and ‘great plating’. Needless to say, I was a bit concerned. You see, ever since Masala Library, Mumbai has arrived on the scene, a flood of restaurants have tried to jump on the bandwagon of fancy plating, small portions and fusion of cuisines (irrespective of their compatibility, I particularly remember a horrendous mix of South Indian curry and spaghetti at a not to be named restaurant). Their aim, it seems, is to delight the eyes and fool the stomach of a generation brought up on Master Chef T.V. series. So, I was expecting a similar affair at Meraaki Kitchen. Snobbish but not knowledgeable waiting staff serving pretty but not tasty food. All at a hefty price tag of course.

Indoor Seating, Meraaki Kitchen, Civil Lines, Jaipur

Boy, was I wrong !

Firstly, the restaurant is well spread out. There are different levels including outdoor seating areas, an indoor dining room and an upstairs area which was cordoned off during our visit. It is always a good sign that you are unable to hear the conversation happening at the next table . And trust me, the cute couple sitting next to us would have been glad, as we were a party of 16 with plenty of hungry kids. The interiors are very tastefully done which are pleasing to the eye and make for a perfect setting to enjoy a good meal.

Next, the menu reminded me why the fusion culture has picked up so much in India. For it is true that a well thought out menu which reads well with intriguing dishes at it’s heart is the best possible amuse bouche a restaurant can prepare. I, a sucker for menus, was hooked immediately. By the time I was done reading through, I had selected more than 7 dishes. Luckily, we were a big group and were able to order all of them and more.

Everything, from Mushroom Galouti to Pav Bhaji fondue was extremely well presented. I think the number of photos taken by our group exceed the total number of bites of the food ! What’s more, two dishes were assembled right on the table: the chat platter and the snowball cheesecake. They were undoubtedly the pick of the lot as far as visuals are concerned. The fact that the person assembling them was explaining the dish as he created his masterpiece(s) definitely helped.

Now coming to the most important part, taste. For me, you see, food is taste. You can give me a gold-foiled dish prepared painstakingly over 24 hours from organically grown ingredients but if it doesn’t taste well I won’t rate it. This is where Meraaki Kitchen scores. Here’s a quick rundown:

Watermelon bowl: My pick of the lot. Extremely refreshing watermelon drink which, as the name suggests, comes with the watermelon as a bowl.

Chat platter: Chat as chat should be (with the added benefit of hygiene). A bundle of flavours all bursting at the same time.

Papdi Chat: To be honest, it was disappointing. The only dish where a technique seemed forced. The foam did nothing to accentuate the taste, rather it worked as an unnecessary distraction. Lacked the punch of the chat platter. The only dish I’d strongly suggest to avoid.

Mushroom Galouti: The surprising favourite of the day. Delicate to touch with flavours so subtle that we are still not sure what made them so special.

Pav Bhaji Fondue: My wife is from Bombay and she approved of this dish. Enough said.

Kadhi-Chawal Risotto: A classic case of what could have been. I had high hopes for this one but the lack of Kadhi left the dish somewhat dry and mundane.

Snowball Cheesecake: Possibly my least favourite dish of the day. The making of it was a delight to watch. The crumble, the white chocolate mouse, the varied sauces; all the works. But put together, the dish sort of fell apart. In particular, a particular lemony sauce was so strong that it completely dominated the dish to the deterrent of other flavours.

Nougatine Kulfi with Old Monk sauce: This was heavenly. I love an old-school Choco-Bar, and this is exactly what it was. Layers of crisp chocolate covering a sweet but not too sweet kulfi, with rum sauce on side. Don’t be tempted by other more glamorous options – this is the hidden gem out there!

To sum it all up, I went in with low expectations. But the spacious interiors, knowledgeable staff and tasty food won me over. If you are the type who’d kill for a fancy plated dish – going here is a no-brainer. However, even if you do not care about plating – this place should be on your must-visit list.

Ah, and they also serve paan flavoured cotton candy after the meal. Yum.

PS- The place is run by a celebrity chef. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t need to. The food speaks for itself.

Sign Up For Our Email:
Be In The Know With Our
Empowerment Newsletter
Follow Us

Join The Conversation