When Swiss – Italian Barbara Miolini, with the collaboration of designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, opened Bar Palladio in Jaipur, India- she unlocked the door and set the bar high for Italian cuisine and entertaining in India; creating an atmosphere of elegance in a place where clients are invited to socialize while being treated to a delectable meal and the space to truly unwind.
Bar Palladio had been a dream for Barbara Miolini for many years. After living in India for 10 years, Miolini wanted her clients to experience a unique style of entertaining that felt inviting and reminded them of the artistic and refined comfort found in Italian and French cafés. Having worked in the surrounding areas of Asolo in Northern Italy, Miolini was captivated not only by vineyards and rolling parklands but also by the gorgeous, majestic villas constructed by 16th century architect, Andrea Palladio.
Taking inspiration from Palladio’s grand aesthetic, Miolini imagined a meeting place that took her clients on a journey to her country and made them feel at home. “The inspiration came from Venice’s famed Harry’s Bar and Café Florian, beautiful spaces rich with history but free entirely of pretension,” explains Miolini. “As an Italian, I wanted to bring this idea to India and find a way to merge two separate, but similar styles of living and entertaining, and thus Bar Palladio was born.”
Living in the Pink City of Jaipur, or as Barbara calls it, “a creative heartland, a paradise for handcrafts and beautiful aesthetic traditions,” allows for daring design choices. In a city painted in various shades of pink to greet royalty over 100 years ago, picking an appropriate colour palette deserved some serious thought.
For Miolini and her team, making the decision to splash her entire creation with a dazzling electric peacock blue hue seemed like a natural choice, bold and distinct, just like the surrounding city. Once the choice of eye-catching colour was made, all other elements of the design and décor fell into place.
Each space has its own distinctive and dramatic flair, from regal designs on the walls to rich fabrics on the cushions. Vaulted ceilings with expertly defined trimming and painted floral motifs, reminiscent of sophisticated tea rooms,further accentuate the architecture of the space, while beautiful hanging eastern lanterns and tabletop candles add romantic lighting and ambiance. Heading outside, the front glassed verandah is light and airy and favourite of Miolini’s. For her, it evokes the feel of a European café – varyingly social and serene, depending on the group or time of day.
“The verandah recalls the classic idea of a café in the European imagination, the historic cafés of Vienna, Venice, and Paris,” she says. “It is a very social place to meet friends and hold court, yet it can be quiet as well – a place to disappear within.” With gorgeous awnings and windows, and lovely in every season, the verandah occupies a middle ground, neither fully outside nor in, and is the ideal place to retreat and find respite from the everyday.
Visitors to Bar Palladio can also venture into the gardens and rest like royals beneath decorative canopies to enjoy cold drinks on hot, sunny days. A charming, light meal in the garden allows guests to enjoy the outdoors with tented areas that provide protection from the sunshine and heat. Sitting beneath the canopies brings to mind not only images of chic garden parties, weddings and high tea service but also of intimate gatherings, filled with shared memories and laughter.As for the cuisine, Miolini and her dedicated team are always looking for ways to create appetizing and inventive culinary treats for her local and foreign clientele. A recent addition to the menu is the Pistachio Panna Cotta, which she classifies as “divine” while the Lemon Asparagus Spaghetti is the most popular dish. Bar Palladio prides itself on its welcoming tone, where friends are invited into the kitchen to create new menu items, discuss recipes or experiment with new ideas.
Taking cues from the surrounding areas, the culinary team often takes trips into the country to source fresh, beautiful produce and incorporate different ingredients into their mouth-watering creations.Bar Palladio may appear to be lavish and grand, but it is the warmth and comfort that truly shine through.
Luxury to Barbara Miolini is “not some exclusive idea, instead it means an elegant, effortless experience. A perfectly luxurious atmosphere is one of perfection, not ostentation. Luxury is a refined, really beautiful, comfort.”Looking at Bar Palladio, it is clear that Miolini’s creation truly showcases her definition of luxury, where nothing feels forced or unnatural. Bar Palladio is a stunning lounge that complements the not only the beauty of the city but also the warmth of the owner – inviting visitors to seek refuge and experience another world.