Jaipur’s latest address for a fine dine experience sits in a 150-year-old heritage property. The Swinton House in Jaipur opened its doors in the Pink City in December. But the story goes that the team wasn’t quite sure about Jaipur at first as the initial idea was to open as a beach resort in Goa. So, what made them switch from a beach state to a city known for its history and culture?
The quest to find the right property
The owners of The Swinton House Jaipur—Sagar Nagpal and Mohit Gurnani—admit that the team was apprehensive when they saw the 150-year-old Swinton House in Jaipur. “We brought in architects, Abhigyan and Kanika, to help see the historical legacy and the potential for hospitality in the property,” the duo shares via an e-mail interview with The Lab Mag.
The house was built in the pre-independence era by British architect Mr. Swinton Jacob. The team also found out that the house had a history of people coming and going without staying for long. Mr. Jacob was also behind Jaipur’s famous monuments such as the Rambagh Palace and the Albert Hall Museum.
The venue is divided into two parts—The Yard on the ground level and The Albion on the second floor. The Yard, naturally, is an open area with a view of the sky and an old architectural piece while The Albion is their Pan-Asian restaurant on their second floor. “Our culinary journey to create the menu,” say Nagpal and Gurnani, “took us to over 12 countries worldwide, accompanied by our Chef Prince Beniwal and Ankur.”
Catering to hunger pangs
The menu here is vast. From Indian street food, Spanish tapas, European classics, pizzas and pastas, Indian Punjabi to modernised India, they have it all. According to the founders, two notable recommendations by Chef Beniwal include the Paneer Mousse Nest with Pickled Kataifi which is a novel presentation of paneer infused with cheese and Indian spices. “Chef Beniwal proudly claims that this dish is exclusive to our restaurant, making it somewhat of his trademark.” The other dish is the Veg Crispy Empanadillas. A few dishes that caught our eye were Avocado Papdi Chaat, Saffron Spice Nutri Kulcha, Dahi Donut, Bhuna Chicken Pie, Blue Cheese Mini Kulcha, and more. The Hot Garlic Idli at The Albion is also praised. The dessert options such as the Dark Rasgulla Sundae ensure that the guests have a unique experience. Their bar menu is curated to perfection and executed by mixologists, Ankur and Dishant. The must-try cocktails by the founders are Sassy Jamun and Read Head.
What’s so unique?
The Swinton House Jaipur can be summed up into history, architecture, luxury, elegance and art. “Art adds another layer to The Swinton House experience with various pieces and paintings displayed throughout the property,” say the founders. The interesting part is that every piece of art is available for purchase. “While some may perceive it as a fine-dining establishment, others might see it as a high-energy lounge or even a discotheque. However, the truth is, that it can be whatever you want it to be. You could feel like you’re in the hidden alleys of Italy, enjoying the finest wine and delectable dishes, just by being at The Swinton House.”
Another notable feature of this British colonial-era house is a retractable roof that they close at midnights. “Our speakeasy rooms on the first floor are considered something of a hidden gem, not frequently revealed, yet certainly worth exploring if booked separately,” explain the two founders. The Albion’s design is characterised by ceilings inspired by Renaissance art, creating an atmosphere well-suited for enthusiasts of deep minimal techno.
Where’s the next Swinton House?
The Swinton House hits the spot with its perfect curation of food, cocktails, heritage, hospitality and architectural grandeur. After the success of their Jaipur venture, the team plans to open the next Swinton House in Goa. They plan on creating experiences and unique spaces that reflect the character of each location.