Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India

Barbara Miolini: Bringing Italy To The Pink City

Dec 24, 2019 @ 14:13

currentMood interviews Barbara Miolini, owner of  Bar Palladio and Caffé Palladio, Jaipur, India. 

Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
+ Bar Palladio, photographed by Henry Wilson

Tucked inside the heritage gardens of Naraian Niwas Palace Hotel, Jaipur, India, one comes across the city’s finest and most Instagrammable restaurants, Bar Palladio. Owned by Swiss born Barbara Miolini, who grew up in St.Moritz, Switzerland and went on to work for the Cipriani Group in Asolo, Italy, for several years. Named after Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, the restaurant is a marriage of Barbara’s past and present – the beauty and history of Asolo, and the grandeur and culture of Jaipur.

Bar Palladio is a mix of vibrant shades of blue juxtaposed with white Mughal motifs that bring about a harmonious blend of Indo-Italian magic. Designed by Dutch designer, Marie-Anne Oudejans, the interiors are adorned with murals by Vikas Soni, candles, hand painted block prints and patterns. Comprising of two private dining rooms, a covered balcony, an open space with multiple tented canopies and small bonfires, the restaurant offers classic Italian (the Tiramisu is to die for!) dishes. Bar Palladio also boasts of its friendly in-house guests that you’d occasionally find roaming around: peacocks and an adopted stray dog, Bogota.

Avani Purohit met Barbara one nippy winter evening in Caffé Palladio, where she talks about her work and life in Jaipur.

currentMood: How did it all start?

Barbara Miolini: I moved to Jaipur 14 years ago and was running an export factory. I’m a terrible cook I missed my own food. That’s when I thought of opening a restraunt, for people like me who were living in Jaipur and for myself. It’s important to listen to people and figure out the gap in the market. No one was coming up with a new concept in Jaipur – I knew that it was the right time to open something. Bar Palladio was born in December 2013, from the love of travel and form the desire to seek beauty. Caffé Palladio was created in the same fashion. There was a need to create a space where people could go for lunch because Bar Palladio opens post 6pm.

 

cM: Tell us about the design:

BM: I always try and bring a part of my culture in whatever I create. So while Bar Palladio is inspired by European cafes, Andrea Palladio’s architecture and Maharajas, Caffé Palladio is inspired by Sicily. Marie-Anne and I were trying to figure out the colour palate for Bar Palladio and then one night, we came up with blue. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t about representing Venice through blue. From that moment on everything fell into place.

Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
Barbara Miolini, photographed by Andrea Gentl
Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
+ Bar Palladio, photographed by Henry Wilson
Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
+ Bar Palladio, photographed by Henry Wilson

BM: Bar Palladio becomes magical at sunset. I always want to create spaces that are aesthetically beautiful and has an energy that makes you want to stay longer. Our main goal was to create magic and ensure that people have a beautiful experience.

 

cM: What was the easiest part about setting up two restaurants in Jaipur?

BM: The easiest part about Bar Palladio was the publicity we received when we opened. It was all organic, we didn’t contact anyone. Everything just fell into place. Caffé Palladio has a Middle Eastern influence and we serve Turkish, Lebanese and Moroccan dishes. We managed to find an amazing Turkish chef who lives in Jaipur! She was definitely the easiest part about Caffé Palladio.

cM: Bar Palladio is inspired by Caffè Florian & Harry’s Bar in Venice, was it easy to recreate? 

BM: Jaipur is one of the most incredible cities in the world when it comes to craft. Anything you dream of, no matter how elaborate can be created in here. Both Bar and Caffé Palladio are bespoke projects: from the paintings, to the lamps, glassware, china, block prints, furniture, linens, tents.  Everything is handcrafted in Jaipur. To be honest it was not as difficult as we had anticipated as the level of skilled artisans and design is so strong in the city.

There’s this ability of experimentation here that allows you to work on an idea even it’s not fully formed. And you can build on it as you go. Other places have a set way of working – if you’re going to change something, people will refuse. Like this building [Caffé Palladio], we had no idea if we’d be able to create this till it actually happened.

Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
+Caffé Palladio, photographed by Henry Wilson
Barbara Miolini owner of Bar Palladio and Caffe Palladio, Jaipur talks to Avani Purohit from currentMood, an online fashion magazine based in India
+ Caffé Palladio, photographed by Henry Wilson

cM: Setting up a business in a foreign country, how was it?

BM: The thing about setting up your own business in any new country is that their ways of working will differ from yours. If you’re always trying to get people to work your way, there will be friction. Similar to Jaipur traffic, you have to find a way to navigate and get things done. You have to be a good observer and understand how to get the best in different ways. It’s a challenge – no one can teach you these things. You just go step by step. There will be moments when you say, “I’m done!”

 

cM: How many of those moments did you reach?

BM: Haha..Quite a lot! But then you count your blessings and receive surprises in different forms. Foreigner friends of mine always tell me I’m very lucky and I agree with them. Jaipur gives you so many opportunities to create something.

cM: Toughest part?

BM: One aspect would be running the restaurant itself. The second is that we find it challenging to appeal to the locals. We can create things that are appreciated by foreigners and people who aren’t from Jaipur, but we’ve realised that it takes time to grow on the locals. We don’t want our restaurants to feel like 5 star hotels where people think twice before entering. Everybody’s welcome here. Bar Palladio and Caffé Palladio have been created for the people of Jaipur, with an added bonus that people from all over like it.

 

cM: What’s next?

BM: We have something new coming up, but it’s a secret for now. It’ll open by March next year in Jaipur.

All image courtesy: Barbara Miolini – @Barbara_Miolini

Interviewed by: Avani Purohit – @avanipurohit

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Last modified: December 24, 2019