Of legacy, history and food
The renowned heritage hotel of the Pink City, Narain Niwas was built in 1928 by General Amar Singh Kanota, an important figure in the Kanota family and the Commander-in-chief of the Jaipur Maharaja’s army. General Kanota’s legacy is etched in history as he was among the first batch of cadets to be inducted in the British Indian Army as officers in 1905. During his wait for deployment orders to the frontlines, he spent close to a month in Orleans, the picturesque French city renowned for its enchanting café culture. It was here that he found solace in the stimulating conversations with his fellow officers over a cup of coffee, while basking in the warm embrace of the French culture.
For General Kanota, food was more than just sustenance – it was a way of life. His love for culinary delights passed down through generations, and today his grandson, Thakur Man Singh Kanota, a noted food connoisseur himself, pays a tribute to his legacy with the addition of a new historical feature to Narain Niwas – Café Orleans, to mark the 80th year of his passing. The café is Kanota family’s ode to General Kanota and the memorable days he spent as a captain of the British Army during the First World War in France.
Located right across the reception of Narain Niwas, lies Café Orleans beckoning you with its historical charm. As you step inside the cafe, you are greeted with blue and gold intricately designed interiors. The neatly stacked books by the window, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and the view of lush greenery and peacocks outside through the large windows adds to the inviting atmosphere of the café. And if you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the peacocks spreading their plumage in all their glory.
Amidst an eclectic mix of captivating antiques and fascinating décor pieces, one feature that truly stands out is a wall brimming with history and marvel. This awe-inspiring wall boasts a striking collection of photographs that meticulously document the illustrious life of General Amar Singh Kanota, whose legacy is intricately woven into the tapestry of Narain Niwas. Each photograph is a poignant reminder of the General’s extraordinary life.
Café Orleans also offers an outdoor seating area which is a haven for those seeking solace amidst nature’s bounty. As the cafe opens during the early hours of the dawn, one can enjoy the cool morning breeze as the chirping of birds fills the air, And as the evening sun sets in the horizon, casting a golden glow over the verdant greenery, the deck transforms into a magical spot.
A selective yet satiating menu
Despite having a smaller selection than other eateries in the hotel, the menu is meticulously crafted to appeal to both tourists and locals. If you are looking for something light and refreshing, the farm-fresh naked leaf fig salad or compressed watermelon feta cheese salad are excellent choices. If you need something more filling, the Kanota Panini with cottage cheese, tomato, hummus, and veggies or the European Panini with pesto, chicken, olives, jalapeno, and lettuce are perfect for a quick bite. The menu also includes soul-satisfying soups, like the ginger carrot soup and slow-roasted bone chicken soup, as well as filling wraps and burritos. Be sure to save room for dessert and indulge in homemade donuts or the orange and wild honey cake. To wash these down, there is a selection of freshly brewed coffee, tea, and refreshing shakes and juices on offer.
Where: Café Orleans, Hotel Narain Niwas, Narayan Singh Circle
Timings: 6 am to 10 pm
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