Diamonds lead to everything! In any case, that’s what we say to ourselves when talking with Shivika, a lovely young woman who has chosen to take a step aside, far from family carats. A stone’s throw from the Jaipur metro, Meraaki Kitchen, his restaurant, is one of the “food spots” in the capital of Rajasthan. In a pretty cool decor with Indo-Balinese influences, you come across tourists, Indians and expatriates who savor a jumble of curries, cocktails, avocado toast and daal…
Broth of cultures
Although she was born in Jaipur, Shivika spent her childhood in Hong Kong before studying in Boston, all in a very Western environment. “I used to come to India for the holidays, but my whole upbringing was steeped in European influence. Very young, I knew that I would not join the family business because my dream was to launch a restaurant where only women would work. And, as we know, young people want to make their dreams come true. Back in India, however, Shivika quickly became disillusioned. “The place of women in India is fragile and they come up against many barriers. Developing my project as I dreamed of turned out to be impossible. I had to adapt. The Meraaki Kitchen team is mixed, but we recruited through NGOs, we work with farms with ethical practices, we have our own vegetable gardens (including two small ones located here, in particular on the roof of a building, editor’s note) and we select the healthiest possible products… I often joke that even our milk comes from happy cows! Inspired by the Greek “meraki”, a verb which means “to do something with your soul, with love, to put a little bit of yourself into your work”, Meraaki is a project that aims to be global, just like the White Sage coffee. , nearby.
Indian, but not only
On the Meraaki Kitchen menu, Indian dishes of course, but not only. “Jaipur is a very touristic city, but I found that it lacked a table offering international cuisine, explains Shivika. I put on the menu all the vegetarian recipes that I dreamed of eating myself: stir-fried noodles like in Hong Kong in my childhood, a mango curry from southern India, a Burmese khao suey, an airy hummus , vaporous pancakes, an insane chocolate-vanilla-caramel dessert, fresh and crunchy salads…”
The wonderful result makes you want to come back again and again to explore the whole map! Given the success of this first project, Shivika is thinking big. Wishing to act, too, like her family who restored the Jal Mahal, a famous palace on a lake in Jaipur, Shivika wants to spread Meraaki Kitchen across India. Will she continue, as here, to design the buildings, choose the artistic pieces, train the chefs and animate the places? She hopes so… If you pass through Jaipur, be sure to dine there on the terrace under the stars or, in the meantime, go to the stove to get away from it all and, you too, put a little “meraki” in your plates.
Near Civil Lines Metro Station,
Piller No 88, Ajmer Road, 27 Madrampur, Jaipur
+91 91161 35100