Home-style Parsi food, like your friend Dhun’s mummy used to make it.
There’s a sudden flood of appreciation for Parsi food in Delhi, and I’m not at all surprised. With its abundance of meaty fare, decadent curries, and fried potatoes, there’s no easier cuisine for the meat-loving North to get stuck into. But this isn’t the food of Bombay’s Irani cafés. Nope, Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu is going where no Parsi restaurant has gone before: straight into the home recipes of the Parsi community.
Run by former food writer Kainaz Contractor, and partner Rahul Dua (of Café Lota fame), this tiny twenty-seat restaurant in Adhchini is primarily aimed at home deliveries, and if our first sampling of their menu was any indication, they’ll be doing roaring trade once the full menu’s in effect.
Contractor’s dipped into her own family’s repertoire to put together the menu, supplemented by other Best Of’s from friends and family, and there’s more than just dhansak on the menu, thank heavens. Personally, that meat-and-lentil stew’s always been my least favourite, paling in comparison to things like prawn patio, with its tangy tomato gravy (Rustom’s excellent version is Rs 495, and comes with yellow dal and rice), or the rich jardaloo marghiu ma salli, with ghee-fried apricots and topping of crisp, fried potato straws (Rs 395).
The kheema pattice (Rs 298) come in a pair, are ginormous, and divine. With mutton mince encased in potato, topped with egg and fried, there’s not much that can go wrong here, but Rustom’s version is so, so right that I’d be tempted to just order multiple rounds and make them my meal. They’re a little reminiscent of the ‘chops’ served in Bengali homes, but just…better. Classicists never fear, there is dhansak, and you can choose between the trad mutton (Rs 495) or even give a veggie version a spin, with spiced aubergine kababs (Rs 395). Definitely order the malai na paratha (Rs 80) to mop it all up; they’re unbelievably pliant and, when wrapped around one of those keema pattice, make one of the best rolls I’ve ever had.
Work’s still underway on the restaurant, so the kitchen is currently operating only for deliveries. We’re told that a longer menu will emerge once the place opens, but until then, their current list encompasses all that is good about Parsi home-cooking, and is on the menu for dinner tonight.