The many sighs your loss has dragged from me
Can only gratify my enemy.
Soul of my world, the pain of your going
Breaks my heart without yours even knowing.
Now and then, you come across a place that embodies a sentiment so well, that you wonder if it was that feeling itself that gave birth to the physical beauty. I walked into Jyran, a tandoor restaurant and lounge at Sofitel, Mumbai and I was enveloped by poetry. I set foot along a causeway, to the right of which there lay a serene pond and a large sculpture of an elephant with a curved tusk and laughing eyes. And in front of me, stood a carved entrance guarded by two statuettes of vessel-bearing village folk. The friendly hostess informed me that the elephant was made entirely out of waste materials.
Once inside, I was dazzled by the array of cut glass and glints of gold, brown and silver before me. Some of it came from the walls, lights and ceiling and the rest was a by-product of the beguiling bottles and containers at the bar. I was led to a table by the verandah and the moment I took my seat, I became aware of the beautiful classical fusion music wafting through the restaurant. The santoor, the view of the verandah and the impeccable decor lulled me into the sense of relaxation I’d feel while on holiday, perhaps in 19th century Lucknow.
It was Diwali, and Stanford, the affable restaurant manager told me that Jyran had been embellished with additional lights and charm to embrace the festivities. I could imagine how much more bewitching the place might look by night with a full moon dangling in the early winter sky. I had the urge to go out into the verandah and a zestful wind whipped my clothes and hair. The weather was pleasantly warm and I sat down under the rainbow canopy of one of the shamianas, enjoying the coloured shade. When I looked up, I saw a riot of colours.
This restaurant would be a dream project for a hotel photographer. Everywhere I looked, a perfect frame greeted my eye. Spend enough time here and you’ll stop believing that there is anything ugly in this world. I imagined that it would an apt venue for a Sufi concert or poetry reading. It could serve as the artist’s refuge in a city with dwindling spaces tolerant of space and aesthetics.
I have waxed eloquent about the decor at Jyran. Let me walk you through some of the dishes and drinks that made it to my table.
Here are a few more ethereal glimpses of this boutique restaurant, where the service is so fine that you barely notice your glass being refilled and the mood so sublime that memories of the meal will sustain you through weeks of relentless work.
Jyran means ‘lost love’ in Persian and by the end of my afternoon, I knew that lost love can be regained, if not in its original form, then at least in an equally enamouring flavour. I hope you find yours as well, in this bit of paradise at Sofitel, Mumbai.
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