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The Beach Gourmet: Jaipur – City in Pink:

The pink painted Jaipur restaurant on Pico at Westwood is named after the Indian city in the Rajasthan province of India that, in 1863, was painted pink in honor of a visit by Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria. It remains the same to this day and is known as the “pink city.”

I chose to visit Jaipur (the restaurant, not the city in India) on a Saturday lunchtime to savor the “all you can eat” buffet, the midday culinary celebration for which Indian restaurants are so famous, and, upon entering, was struck by the sparse but tasteful décor as well as the spotlessly clean appearance with white-clothed- tables intelligently arranged so as to maximize the modest space without creating any kind of stifling feel.

The weekend lunch buffet is one of the most extensive I have ever experienced and the aromatic quality emanating from the arrangement sent my taste buds into labor as I perused the perfectly placed array of dishes.

The cuisine at Jaipur is Northern Indian, and for that read flowery and flavorful rather than spicy and harsh, and blessed with flavor these “petals” were indeed.

I counted 14 buffet options ranging from the usual chicken tikka appetizers through a choice of three chicken curries to salads and Indian dessert.

Although the range of dishes here is comprehensive, there is quite evidently no scrimping on quality or care in preparation and presentation, as I regularly observed the staff tending to the buffet as if it were some kind of altar to the Gods of Gastronomic Goodness, ensuring that the choices were fresh and the display clean.

I decided to create a balanced plate while taking advantage of the great variety of buffet selections, and served myself fish pakora (pieces of fish wrapped in a mild batter), chicken tikka (chicken marinated in spices and barbecued in an open oven), a bed of pilau rice, chicken curry, aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and dahl (lentils cooked with spices).

All of these dishes were well prepared and delicately spiced with an emphasis on flavor. On my second parade along the buffet I sampled the sag paneer (spinach cooked with chunks of homemade cheese and spices) that was aromatic and appealing.

Judging by my visit, I proclaim Jaipur to be a high quality Northern Indian restaurant with top notch service, and easily one of the finest buffet lunches ($10.50 per person) this side of, well, Jaipur.

As my mind wandered during the meal, I imagined being transported to colonial India at the turn of the 20th century, traveling the railways of Rajasthan in a rattling carriage with the dust of the rocky passes hanging in the air as I reached the governor’s mansion. A quick shower, some fresh summer whites, a glass of Pimms to invigorate my palate and a quick round of croquet before I sat with the family to indulge in a culinary cornucopia not dissimilar to the feast that I enjoyed at Jaipur. Hmmm, those were the days!

Jaipur, 10916 West Pico Blvd., LA, 310.470.4994

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