Rosemount Estate ©

First impressions are important in a restaurant, and Jaipur delivers a warm welcome, the ambience evoking memories of the West End equivalent of the 1960s. Fake costumes, cheap bric-a-brac and canned ethnic music invariably worry me, and the Dalkey establishment’s simplicity was a relief. Similarly, Indians have an arm lock on smiles, and unlike their Chinese counterparts, their unfamiliarity with English never gives the appearance of rudeness.

The menu is a delight. It possesses something for everyone, from first-timers to the experienced aficionado. Most of the starters, at least as described, looked innovative but three orders for Tandoori Jumbo Prawns demonstrated the innate conservatism of diners. I went for Aloo Matter Ki Tikka, which was described as Calcutta street food. The dish is a cake of potato and peas served on a bed of salad. The starters were completed by Subz Seekh: Tandoori roasted corn and vegetable rolls and Coorgi Pork Fry, strips of crispy friend pork with sweet chilli, honey and toasted sesame.

The prawns were the big winners, but the range and choice of starters left one waiting in anticipation for the next course. The main courses broke down into traditional and new choices. The great favourites of the Lamb Rogan Josh, the blistering hot Chicken Madras and Chicken Tikka Masala are the staples of every Indian restaurant, but my friends from Bermuda took the unusual course of asking for Baruchi Lamb to be specially prepared. Chef Roy promptly agreed with the request. Pilau rice and vegetable side dishes meant a full table and the usual prospect of heartburn at 2am which is part and parcel of the Indian experience.

Nobody goes to Indian restaurants for the desserts but Kulfi, the ice cream of India is all too often absent from restaurant menus. Here it was perfect and was a great finish to the evening. With deference to the female company, wine was the order of the evening, and Jaipur has a good list at very reasonable prices. Three bottles of New Zealand chardonnay at 24 euros each went down a treat accompanied by four bottles of sparkling water at 3 euros. Good coffee and conversation kept the evening going for over three hours without a pause. The bill – 311 euros without service charge – was very good value by today’s Dublin prices, and Chef Roy and manager are to be complimented on a first class job.

I would certainly return, and for those tempted to try either Indian food or this restaurant for the first time, they should ask for Chef Roy or the manager. They are eager to please, and generous attitudes give lie to criticisms of service in Irish restaurants.

Rosemount estate ©

Saturday 28 August 2004