In August 2019 we did a road trip from mumbai to delhi. We stopped over at nights in Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Udaipur & jaipur. This is part of of a series of 5 posts about food & travel experienced during the trip.
Read about part 4 of 5 here: Taj Jai mahal palace
This post is about the food at cinnamon, in taj Jai mahal palace
In a Nutshell:
A lovely dinner in a stunningly beautiful, restaurant in a Royal Palace, now converted to a heritage hotel, with warm old world hospitality of an era that is otherwise gone – Memorable. Great place to be, for special occasions & also for entertaining non-Indian guests.
Address & other details: Cinnamon
Meal for 2: ₹2000 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian & nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
When we stay at a good hotel, we generally try to check out all the food options in the hotel. Then depending on time in hand, we try out as many as possible. So when we checked in at Jai Mahal Hotel, Jaipur, we asked our standard question ‘please tell us about your restaurants’. We generally poke the person & try to get nuances about the restaurants during this conversation, to get some info / insight beyond the print. Sometimes, we also get to know of some festival that is happening in the coffee shop, which we might have skipped otherwise. It was during this conversation that we gathered that the food at Cinnamon is interesting – there is a local food menu, with dishes beyond the obvious ones.
As mentioned above, the restaurant is situated inside an erstwhile Royal palace, now a Heritage Hotel – Taj Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur. This room where the restaurant is, was the dining room of the then Prime Minister of Jaipur State. Cinnamon serves food from four Princely state of India – Rajputana, Awadh, Hyderabad & Kashmir. We chose to stick to the local flavours – Rajputana.
‘Rajputana’ is a word used to describe a collection of princely states, including Jaipur as a state in the medieval & early modern age.
Rajasthan is a dry area with sparse rainfall. In those days, modern agricultural systems were not there & neither were there ways to pump ground water. Wells used to be dug really deep to get water & hence there weren’t many of those. Thus came the practise of women walking to distant places with their earthen pots to fetch water for the family.
Due to limited water, not all vegetables would grow. Neither would one get vegetables during the peak of summer months. So dried lentils & beans (that could be harvested & stored) are a major part of the food in this region. Sangri & ker are also plants that grow here & thus these are used to cook curries. Bajra & Makai are used to make rotis. In desserts, minimal use of water is done & more of milk, buttermilk & ghee. Of the people who ate meats, there were few dishes that are famous till date – Junglee maas & laal maas. Junglee Maas was the meat prepared in the evenings after a full day of hunting in the jungle. Since not too many elaborate items could be carried, junglee maas has few ingredients but they just slow cook with each other & create magic on the plate. Laal maas is again a fiery red meat curry that is usually very hot – meant to be eaten in very small portions with good quantity of the accompanying cereal.
The entrance to the restaurant was royal. Pristine white , with a glow of light pinkish light.
Elaborate Jaali work stun the senses. We cud not move for few seconds & kept looking at the beautiful carvings.
The restaurant floor was a bit longish & was divided into compartments. Each compartment was separated with the other by arches.
The hand-made ‘glass on white base’ design on the corner of the arches was truly beautiful.
The cutlery was as Royal as it could get in a restaurant. For all the while we were in the restaurant, we could not but repeatedly talk about the cutlery.
Our server was a super warm person. He reminded us of Old school classic hospitality – a mix of service, confidence, ‘I will take care of you, I know some things better’, casual conversation by judging the guest’s tastes / preferences on a varied range of topics (related to hospitality, royalty & tourism in Jaipur).
There were two options – a vegetarian thali & a non vegetarian thali. We went for the non- vegetarian thali & ordered two extra dishes – One mains & one dessert.
Loved the food. When our server asked us the customary ‘do you want it spicy or non spicy’, we said ‘Please ask Chef to make it the way it is eaten at his home – as close to the original dish it can be (no need to customize as per us). That worked.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
The Non Veg thali was served in a mammoth silver plate with heavy silver bowls on it.
It had daal, baati, choorma, ker sangri, chakki ki subzi, raita, kadhi, laal maas & chicken tikka.
The Daal was thick, could feel the texture of daal well. It had retained the flavours of daal & it also had flavours of ghee – these two flavors were alternating in a very good manner. Rate it 4.5/5
Baati is a round ball made out of wheat – roasted & then served with liquid ghee. This was very good as well. It was a bit hard & bordering khasta towards the outside & was nice & soft in the middle. Rate it 4/5
Choorma was the sweet in the thali – daanedaar, flavors of ghee, perfect texture. Rate it 4.25/5
Loved the Ker sangri curry. The ker sangri retained its texture well. Rate it 4.5/5
In this thali, we got reminded of, & also tasted Chakki ki subzi for the second time in life (first time was in Jodhpur few years back) . Our server described chakki ki Subzi – It is made from wheat (atta). The atta is kneaded into a dough & then it is constantly washed till the time the texture changes & the dough becomes more elastic & sticky. It is then boiled, cut into pieces, deep fried & made into a curry. We were told that many people eat this as a meat substitute. See the link to this dish here
We were intrigued to hear the ‘meat substitute part’. So as we tasted the dish which we had never tasted before, here is our take – It’s a very tedious dish to make but the end result was pretty good. It is unthinkable that people have come up with such a food item (I guess scarcity of resources force people to innovate). We were super impressed with the softness & the texture of it. Did not remind of meat but it did remind me of Chinese fish balls & Chitol macher Muitha (a Bengali fish dish). The curry was excellent. Loved the new experience. Rate it 4.5/5
Raita was as good as it could get. Perfect balance of sweet, salt & sour. Rate it 4.5/5
Kadhi was very good to taste. Rate it 4.25/5
Laal maas was very good. It had nice pieces of meat in a terrific hot gravy (like it is supposed to be). The flavors of meat were still there in the gravy inspite of the dish being spice gravy. Rate it 4.25/5. The one at niros jaipur was better.
Chicken tikka was Ok ish. It was the same as we had ordered in room service. It was a bit over spiced & the spices did not cook optimally. Rate it 3/5
Our server suggested us to try the local Royal speciality Gosht kacchawa – It was excellent. The meat pieces were super soft & yumm to taste. The curry was serious hot but we enjoyed it. The curry was very good. Rate it 4/5.
Paneer ghewar was outstanding. We had never loved ghewar this much – this was made after we ordered food. So it was hot, freshly made & wow. Rate it 4.95/5.
Overall rating of food at cinnamon averages out to 4.25/5
….. and that ends the story of our roadtrip from mumbai to delhi