Saturday, 21st March, was Navroze, the Parsi spring festival, originally observed as the new year in Iran.
You might have read articles about Parsi food written around Navroze. Tried some Parsi food perhaps if you are lucky.
We had a lunch at home on Navroze where my family from my wife’s side had come over and we ordered in from Katy’s Kitchen. You can read about it here.
In case you missed out on the fun and want to try out Parsi food then this walk is a good idea for you.
Our food walk will start with a late breakfast in an Irani bakery where we will get a glimpse into the life of Mumbai before Starbucks and its ilk. We will munch on khari biscuits and mava cakes and dip crusty bruns and baby bum soft bun maska into Irani chai and try to hold on to an enchanted word that is no more. If you are in luck, and if the owners are in a good mood, then you might go in and see the bakery but in the world of temperamental Parsis one can’t guarantee anything.
Our next stop will be at a small Parsi restaurant whose owner earlier ran a motorcycle garage at the same spot. Parsis, who generally feel that the food in their houses is much better than in restaurants, admit that the food here is pretty good. Here we will try the akoori, or Parsi styled spicy scrambled eggs that my wife, a Parsi, dotes on.
We then move on to an old school sleepy Irani cafe where we try some of the dishes such as kheema ghotala (minced goat meat with scrambled eggs) and caramel custard, dishes folks would snack on in a world unsullied by talks of egg whites or white meat. The caramel custard here is considered to be one of the best in Mumbai and I strongly agree. There is an elderly couple who runs the place who happily bless and say a prayer for customers who shower them with love.
Our last stop is for the full blown Parsi festive meal. You can get to try this only if you are invited to a Parsi wedding or a Navjote, the coming of age ceremony. Some Parsi caterers offer versions of this meal for the New Year and Navroze. Else you can try it out at this hundred year old cafe which had a makeover a decade back.
Saarya papad, laganu achar, sali murgi, patrani machhi, rotli, pulao daal and laganu custard washed down with raspberry drink is the storyline for the feast here.
They are kinder towards the ‘other side’ than in the average Parsi restaurant here and happily make a vegetarian version of the meal when required.
The walk will be held at Fort In South Mumbai which probably has one of the largest remaining concentrations of Parsi cafes.
And no, much as I’d like you to meet grand old Mr Boman Kohinoor, we will not go to Britannia and Co in this walk. As you will discover, there is a lot more to Parsi food in Mumbai
So here are the details:
Date: 28th March, 2015, Saturday
Timing: 11.00 AM to 2.00 pm
Start Point: Bombay Store, PM Road, Fort
Things to get: Camera, reasonably smart phone, hand sanitizer, wearing denim helps as serviettes are far and few, an umbrella, a big appetite.
Planned food stops: 3,4
Inclusions: A sampling menu of Parsi dishes covering the range of breakfast, in betweens and festive feasts . We will space out the food to make sure that you bat till the end of the innings. Bottled water included. The walk will cover the area around Fort and Horniman Circle
Cost: Rs 2500 (two thousand five hundred) per head