Pali naka’s Parsi pride
Pali naka’s Parsi pride – Roxanne Bamboat
Karan Johar’s mom, Hiroo digs the dhansak. But that’s not why you need to make a call to Ashmick.
For burb residents who whine about Parsi cuisine joints opening shutters in SoBo, Ashmick’s Snack Shack at the chaotic Pali Naka junction is the place to visit.
No more than four tables and chairs backed by a kitchen, it has no ambience to boast of, but its VFM bawa specialities more than make up for ‘mood’.
Owner Minoo Pavri (yes, we too went looking for an owner called ‘Ashmick’ but realised the name is a mix of ‘Ash’of Arohar – the winged guardian angel Parsis consider holy – and Pavri’s pet name ‘Mick’y. He has hand-picked dishes traditionally cooked in Parsi homes, and added a few snacks to beef up what’s a modest but deliciously simple menu.
Their mutton dhansak (Rs 240) is available only on Thursdays and Sundays (filmmaker Karan Johar’s mothyer, Hiroo, we hear, orders in often) but the patra ni machchi (Chak de! India actor Vidya Malavade is a fan) is yours to unwrap, sniff and tuck into all through the week.
Pavri started out in 1996 with no training in hospitality, and at a time when eating out wasn’t trendy. The recipes are his own, tweaked gently to cater to the new palate. His sali boti (Rs 220) for instance, usually a sweet-sour oniontomato gravy freckled with chunks of meat and topped with fried potato slivers, is a spicier version. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen where chefs trained by him operate like clockwork, must pass his tastetest. “Good food is top priority,” he says, like any true blue Parsi.
His biryanis are worth a try, especially for those who don’t enjoy having their lips greased with each bite. But the modest stunner, we say, is his prawn curry rice (Rs 200); it tastes just like it would in any Parsi home. A runny, balanced-with-flavour curry that supports a generous portion of succulent shrimp, it’s available only on Tuesdays and Fridays, and is worth the weekly wait.
Although seemingly out of place, Ashmick’s list of snacks (sandwiches, rolls and puffs) have their own fans from around the neighbourhood. From the roaster, we vote for the signature Ashmick burger (Rs 90) that packs in chicken, ham, egg, cheese and coleslaw (they have a mutton boti burger option too).
It has taken him a while to become the takeaway joint Bandraites love to visit (including John Abraham’s family and actor Nauheed Cyrusi), but at the moment, Pavri does seem the man to uphold Parsi culinary honour that side of the Sea Link.
Ashmick’s Snack Shack, Pali Naka (11 am to 10 pm). Shut on Wednesday. Call 26005010