Food runs in our family
Off the back of our success with our first award-winning restaurant, Calcutta Club, we decided on our new venture to bring another taste of Indian to Nottingham.
From just a conversation around the family dinner table, we brought to life a vision. In January 2019 we began renovations on the historic and characterful "Bear & Lace" building, transforming it into a restaurant packed with style and sophistication. Everything, down to the finest detail, has been designed and choreographed to create a fine-dining experience like no other. From walls adorned with bookcases of classic literature, to the dramatic 18th-century chandelier that hangs elegantly over our entrance.
The Maharaja's Retreat is just a stone's throw away from the vibrant centre of Nottingham and the Theatre Royal & Concert Hall and Playhouse are just around the corner, making the restaurant perfect for pre- and post-theatre dining.
The word “Maharaja” immediately conjures the image of a turbaned, bejewelled, and fabulously wealthy ruler. So much so that noble landowners and ministers built palaces near the residences of Maharajas, trying to emulate the opulent and powerful lifestyles of their leaders.
Rulers of states lived in walled fortresses or palaces with terraced gardens. Most recently, they did their hunting in Rolls-Royces, ordered furniture, art and jewellery from the most exclusive European ﬁrms, and demonstrated their hospitality through banquets for hundreds of guests.
Historically, the culinary traditions of Badshah Akbar have long since inﬂuenced Mughlai cuisine and the gastronomical landscape of India - while showcasing what a meal “ﬁt for a king” truly means. An elaborate chain of command accompanied the food to the table. The Hakim (Royal Physician) planned the menu, making sure to include medicinally beneﬁcial ingredients. For instance, each grain of rice for the biryani was coated with silver oil, which aided digestion and acted as an aphrodisiac. But this was only just the beginning of the peculiarities that coloured this cuisine. The palace chickens were fed by hand with pellets ﬂavoured with saffron and rosewater, and massaged daily with musk oil and sandalwood.
Royal kitchens at the grandest housed a head cook, a treasurer, a storekeeper, clerks, tasters, and more than 400 cooks from all over India and Persia. Royal food was served in gold, silver, stone and earthenware dishes, tied in cloths. Ice was used for cooling drinks and making frozen desserts. These were, especially, brought from the Himalayas by an extensive system of couriers daily.
It is said that the maharajas were big about their food. They wanted different hues of colours, fragrances, table etiquettes, experiments, and tastes. The emperors preferred to eat with their queens, except on festive occasions, when they chose to dine with the nobles and courtiers.
Our aim at The Maharaja’s Retreat is to make your every visit one that would be memorable and “ﬁt for a king”.