This bawa is in town and here to stay
Parsi folks are known as Bawas across India and perhaps the world. These handful of folks in India and around the world are only proponents left of their fine & celebrated cuisine , mostly passed on from mother – daughter. South Bombay ( as it is still called ) or the Fort area of modern times is known for some of the best parsi food Mumbai has to offer ( and possibly across India ). Places like Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy , Britannia and Co, Leopold , Mondegar are the few last remaining traditionally Parsi – Irani cafes( and some others in Bandra – Jumjoji et al , though I haven’t personally been to it ).
When you go down from 550 in 1950’s to 15-20 in 2015, this dying breed / time capsule junta probably needs more than just survival – that is exactly where A D & Sabina Singh and their famed Soda Bottle Openerwala feature. As they put it – it is our tribute to the dying legacy of the wonderful chaotic, crowded, bustling, colorful, quirky, cluttered, eccentric and so real world of an Irani café. Our way of reviving the love for the edu ( egg ) and the disappearing race behind the cafes
Irani cafes still form an integral part of the Mumbai food culture something a lot of people from town or out of town want to be part of. The eccentric owners who are now much more of the attraction than the food sometimes, the tangentially different menu and “inexpensive” food all play an important role in the South Bombay culture fabric.
When an eatery offering some of the chosen best of all the Parsi Irani food offerings and Mumbai street food comes to town and when it’s an Olive venture – awesomeness has to ensue.
Located on the Road 1, Jubilee Hills, Soda Bottle Openerwala or SBOW opens its 4th outlet across India after Delhi, Gurgaon, and Bangalore. It is a, if I am not mistaken 60 odd seater restaurant with all its quirks in place
More often than not, you will find a sizeable crowd outside – waiting. As you walk up to the restaurant, you will find the “B Merwans”, a Girgaum landmarks larger than life poster, a glass showcase , that also doubles up as the Irani bakery , that also dishes out some of the many childhood favs – poppins , orange candy et al. On one side, you will also see one katcha and striped pyjama and the cash counter otherwise known as the galla.
Chess board floor tiles , red checkered and crochet table cloths, coloured glass lamps, cuckoo clocks, brass tea kettles and dabbas, tin boxes, locks, old paraphernalia , a wall dedicated to the lineage and an overhead toy train track to keep you and your little one engrossed till the time your food gluttony takes over.
They also have a functional jukebox at the bar, for guzzlers to choose a selection of some of the best of the retro tracks it might belt out. While you might wonder what is the connection of the name and the food, there is a wall inside that is dedicated to Soda bottles and Rustom – SODABOTTLEOPENERWALA and his lineage – do check it out
SodaBottleOpenerWala serves a mix of classic Parsi dishes and some of the bests of Bombay street food. Although the term Bombay food excites me, I am there for the bawagiri .
Ive had the chicken farcha which is the original PFC – parsi fried chicken, Patrani macchi, the prawn patio, the kolmi fry and the berry pulao from the non veg section. While the macchi was small – thanks to it not being the season for it, it did remind me of the dish I’ve had in Mumbai and probably the first time I had it in Hyderabad. Ideally i’d like to have a bigger sized fish, but you can go wrong in so many ways with the dish so subtle , SBOW nailed that part except the size which I believe they are working on. The berry pulao different from the biryani, Hyderabad is used to and swears by , will need getting used to, but insufficient for a meal. The farcha is ideal bar food, for that most of their starters are.
From the drinks menu We ordered the Shikanjebin and the raspberry soda. I’ve liked both these drinks and have consumed atleast 2 per visit. These are different from the regular offerings and a crowd favourite.
From the drinks menu We ordered the Shikanjebin and the raspberry soda. I’ve liked both these drinks and have consumed atleast 2 per visit. These are different from the regular offerings and a crowd favorite.
I don’t choose to look at the vegetarian section that often, but with Yojana being eggetarian, somethings are inevitable.
We ordered the bharuchi paneer akuri and paav that night, my wife told me it’s like home food. While it might sound very pedestrian, reflecting that high quality of home food does need a pat on the back. The paav were very nice , may not be bohri stuff exactly but expecting it to reflect that taste as a expectation is wrong. SBOW is a cover band with its own tracks , give them their due ..
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