5 Parsi Sweet Treats You May Not Have Heard Of


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On a mission to spread happiness through Dhansak and other Parsi delicacies, Perzen Patel is the Bawi Bride.

Dar ni poriDar Ni Pori is quite similar to the Maharashtrian puran poli.

While most Indians take their dessert seriously, Parsis take this one step further. There was Uncle B, my childhood neighbour from Pune who lived alone, but used to hide his Ferrorocher in his Godrej safe along with his valuables so that the maid didn’t surreptitiously steal them! And then there was Aunty J, who always said no to an extra spoonful of rice (carbs dikra, you see) but never to another bowl ofRavo.

At the ‘BawiSasural’ too, we take our sweets seriously. There’s always some Chapat – a kind of Parsi crepe – or Bhakra to go with tea and at night, dessert is a three-course affair featuring chocolates, pudding or cake and generous handfuls of dry fruits.

All this mithu monu has meant that over the course of my three-year marriage to ‘BawaGroom’, I’ve tried a bunch of Parsi desserts too and gone beyond the Lagan Nu Custard (custard made for weddings) and our Caramel Custard that everyone talks about. So, if you’ve had your fill of custard, and would like to try some of our more rare sweet treats, then here are 5 totally worth trying.

Ravo: Quite similar to sheera, Ravo is the staple sweet dish eaten for all happy occasions in a Parsi household. But, instead of water it is made with milk and generous servings of dry fruits and ghee. While almost everyone can make a decent Ravo, the trick is to get the texture correct. Having a dinner party? Jazz up this comfort food by serving it in wine glasses from Eva Solo or shot glasses!

RavoGenerous amount of ghee and dry fruits go into making Ravo.

Dar Ni Pori: While everyone knows about the puranpoli, few know about the Parsi Dar Ni Pori. The similarity between these dishes ends at the use of lentils. Had mainly as tea-time snack, you could go so far as to say that the Dar Ni Pori is the Parsi equivalent to the British scone. Trust me, nothing can beat the feeling of crisp, flaky pastry giving way to a thick layer of sweetened dal that’s mixed in with a variety of dry fruits. Sadly the Dar Ni Pori can be quite complicated to make and so is hard to find. Your best bet is to find an old Parsi aunty, who supplies them or head to PAC or RTI in Mumbai.

Mithoo Dahi: There’s nothing like ending a meal or beginning one with something sweet, and that is the sole purpose of the Parsi Mithoo Dahi. Made with rich buffalo milk, this yoghurt is liberally sprinkled with sugar and is set into miniature cups. The dahi is then served alongside another sweet dish like sev (vermicelli) to take your dessert to another level. While you can easily make it at home, my favourite place to have Mithoo Dahi is from PAC in Nana Chowk or Parsi Dairy Farm at Marine Lines.

Dudh no Puff: Of all these desserts, the Dudh no Puff has to be my favourite. Simply put, the Dudh no Puff is chilled milk froth or what some international cafes call a fluffy. In terms of flavour, it comes quite close to Delhi’s Daulat Ki Chaat. However, the Parsi version also has a delicious undertone of cardamom and nutmeg, and has achieved cult status due to the fact that it is now most hard to lay your hands on. While some colonies in Mumbai will have a local vendor selling puffs early in the morning, your best bet is to go to Udvada during the winter months or stop at Parsi da Dhaba on the Mumbai–Gujarat Highway.

lagan nu custard ice creamGive your regular Laganu Nu Custard a quirky twist.

Lagan Nu Custard ice-cream: I have to admit this is not some secret heritage dish lost to the times, but it is something I came up with – a happy accident of sorts! To put it simply, this ice-cream is made with chunks of Lagan Nu Custard frozen between a creamy vanilla and nutmeg base. While you can of course have it by itself, it tastes even better with a shot of Bailey’s or a side serving of some more custard! Want to give this ice-cream a try? Here’s how you can make it at home.

So the next time you’re at the iconic Britannia & Company Restaurant at Fort or craving some Parsi desserts, skip the custards and give one of these desserts a whirl. Have you had any of these before? Where’s the best place to eat them according to you? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Cafe Irani Chaii 


While many older establishments threaten to shut down, Café Irani Chaii (spelt with a double ‘i’) in Mahim, recreates fond memories of buzzing Irani cafés, once the pride of the city. When we walked into the café, the black-and-white floor tiles, wooden furniture and the jumbo glass jars filled with toffees put us into rewind mode in a flash. We loved that there was no forced attempt to create a fusion-style cafe.

The familiar interiors of Café Irani Chaii. pics/Suprita Mitter
The familiar interiors of Café Irani Chaii. Pics/Suprita Mitter

As we waited for Bun Maska (Rs 25) and Irani Chai (Rs 20), we noticed a few curious customers walk in, each with a host of queries. We overheard the owner, Mohammed Hussain, tell one of the visitors that the chairs were over 90 years old. “We have owned them for very long, while a few others have been sourced from relatives”, he added. “The Irani community is known for their wooden furniture,” he beamed. Cutesy, red, Irani-style kettles sat pretty in a showcase beside sepia-tinted photographs. The space is small, neat and compact, complete with a black board that lists out strict rules like ‘no combing hair’ and ‘no talking to the owner.’

(From left) Rasberry Soda, Ice Cream Soda and Ginger Soda from Pallonji’s
(From left) Rasberry Soda, Ice Cream Soda and Ginger Soda from Pallonji’s

The décor wasn’t the only thing that reminded us a bygone era, the taste of the food and the prices did full justice to our time travel trip. The menu is limited as of now but quite a few additions are in store. Post our chai and maska treat, the melt-in-mouth Chicken Pattice (Rs 25), and the slightly sweet Mutton Pattice (Rs 25) were wolfed down in minutes. Convinced that we were in good hands, we ordered Akuri (Rs 60), Paya (Rs 80), and the Mutton Kheema Ghotala (Rs 120), which was better than the regular Kheema Pav. a Egg and Kheema were cooked together in a gravy, served with hot, buttery pav.

Mutton Paya with Pav
Mutton Paya with Pav

The Chicken Biryani (Rs 150) was also a hit as it was not too oily or spicy. We washed down these goodies with the traditional Parsi Ice Cream Soda, Rasberry Soda and Ginger Soda from Pallonji’s (Rs 25 each). The Mawa Cake (Rs 25) was soft and fresh while the greatest delights were the Dinshaw ice creams. After years, we were able to indulge in our favourite flavours Nimbu Pani, Bombay Chaat and Raw Mango (Rs 5 each).

As we were about to leave, we spotted fresh Chicken Rolls being placed in the display shelf. “We made these for the first time today, and haven’t decided on the pricing yet. You can have both for Rs 50,” Hussain offered. Needless to say, we obliged. We will certainly return for the Dhansak, the Persian Kebabs with butter rice and Berry Pulao, soon to be added to the menu. For a trip down memory lane and for some lip-smacking Irani fare, drop by this little gem.

On: 7 am to 11 pm (daily)
At: 9, Rosary Chawl, Mangireesh CHS Ltd, MMC Road, Mahim.
Call: 24455577
Food: Good
Service: Quick
Ambiance: Nostalgic

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/restaurant-review-irani-treat-in-mahim/16688191

Parsi Dharamshala | Parsi food from Mrs Bagli’s Kitchen


I have been living in Central Delhi for several years now and would have crossed Delhi Gate infinite number of times. Unfortunately, I never knew that just before Delhi Gate, there’s a Parsi Dharamshala that has been serving Parsi food in Delhi, much before we got Sodabottleopenerwala and Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu.

As one needs to place an order for the food in advance, I called the Dharamshala. To my utmost pleasure, on the other side, I found Mrs. Bagli, the caretaker, who doubles up as the Main Chef of the Canteen. There was great affection in her voice and almost instantly I felt a connection with this soft-spoken lady.

Next day, I reached the Dharamshala for lunch and the table was set for us. With beautiful Caramelized rice, Kebabs, Patra ni Machchi, Dhansak, Kachumber Salad and Roti. The homelike set up almost felt like I was having lunch at my own place. The fireplace, the dining table adjacent to the kitchen and the humble set up, instantly put me at ease.

There was so much food for two people, it felt like a challenge to finish it!

Well, not someone to back down easily, when it comes to food, we started digging in.

The thick long grains of caramelized rice with keema kebabs and Dhansak was delicious and tasted like something my mother would make at home, of course with her Punjabi touch. However I fell in love with Patra ni Machchi. Big generous piece of fish, coated with mint and raw mango chutney, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. This was pure delight! The sole reason for one to be happy and satisfied with food and life. Again, a little bizarre though, that the raw mango and mint chutney, tasted exactly like how my mother would make at home.

Caramalised Rice with Kebabs - Mrs. Bagli’s Kitchen Parsi Dharamshala
Dhansak - Parsi Dharamshala
Rice with Kebabs - Mrs. Bagli’s Kitchen Parsi Dharamshala
Patra-Ni-Machchi---Bagli's-Kitchen
Parsi Dairy Kulfi - Parsi Dharamshala

I think Mrs Bagli and my mother must be secretly sharing some recipes. How I wish, this was true!

But, honestly, I always like Parsi food for its familiar, simple and clean flavours.  Although, one can sense the influences of Gujarati food and British dishes, still Parsi food has a character of its own. The Khattu Meethu flavour, the use of red vinegar, the pattice and bread and of course ‘eggs’, are all signs of how Parsi food has embraced different cuisines and then, evolved over the course of several years.

So while I was eating, I noticed two things that stood out. The Dhansak tasted more of lentils & meat and the lemons served in kachumber salad were ‘orange’ and not the normal yellow ones.

Later when I met Mrs Bagli in her office, I asked her how her Dhanksak tasted more of lentils, she immediately replied “Mummy always used to put Kaddu (pumpkin), but my cook doesn’t like the taste of it”.

With a twinkle in her eye, she narrated many stories to me. Starting from 1958, when she shifted from Bombay, after marrying her Parsi priest husband from Delhi. She talked fondly about her badminton classes, dances classes and parties. Being a quintessential Bombay girl, this was life to her.

Now, she organizes parties, conferences, meetings in the auditorium of her Dharamshala. She plans her parties on Saturday night, so that it’s convenient for everyone to come and enjoy. As we walked around her baug, she showed me the trees her husband had planted. The orange lemons were from the same baug. She spoke vividly about her son, who’s now the head priest of Delhi Parsi community and an avid wild life photographer. Kainaz Contractor and Anahita Dhondy (Chefs at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu and Sodabottleopenerwala respectively) have grown up in front of her. The cook who worked for her husband, his third generation also now works for the Dharamshala.

Lime-tree---Parsi-DharamshalaLime-tree—Parsi-DharamshalaMrs Dhun Daraius Bagli - Parsi DharamshalaMrs Dhun Daraius Bagli – Parsi Dharamshala

Now years have gone by, generations have changed and this, now a mother of four, still lives at this Dharamshala. A place, which her husband once told her, was their kingdom.

Address: Bahadur Zafar Road, LNJP Colony, Near Maulana Azad Medical College Campus, New Delhi, 110002
Contact: 011 23238615
Cost for two: Rs 800-1000
NOTE: They also serve delicious Kulfi sourced from Parsi Dairy.

http://www.eatstory.in/authentic-homelike-parsi-food-at-delhi-parsi-anjuman/

Pervin Todiwala: The story of Café Spice Namasté


How did the idea of Cafe Spice came to you? 

We were working in a much smaller restaurant down the road from Prescot Street where we are now, called ‘Namaste’ when we were invited by restaurateur cum entrepreneur, Michael Gottlieb, to go into partnership with him in the much larger Cafe Spice Namaste. Around 10 years later, we took over the ownership of the entire restaurant.
How do you remember the first steps while growing Cafe SpiceNamaste?

The early years were a period of discovery and growth but also of hard work which was ultimately extremely rewarding. Very early on, we were given a glowing review by one of London’s top restaurant critics, Fay Maschler, and from then on we never looked back. People were excited by Cyrus’ new approach to Indian cuisine. It was something entirely fresh in the UK, where people were used to flocked wall paper and dishes that most people in India have never heard of. We worked very hard, as we still do now and we inherited some of our staff which brought its own challenges. Asian men can sometimes be ambivalent about having women in the workplace, particularly in the kitchen where (regardless of where you are and the inroads that have been made over the past few years) there is still a strong macho culture, I had to learn to steel myself and adopt a demeanour that projected authority.

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Cyrus and I focussed a lot on training and equipping our staff – many of whom could not speak very much English – with the tools necessary to work and live well in the UK. Most of them are still with us today. We were the first restaurant to gain a National Training Award and become an Investors in People Champion.

It is a cliché, but from the beginning our customers’ wellbeing always came first, in parallel with our staff’s wellbeing. We have always taken care of our customers and I make it a point to remember each and every one, preferably by name. When we reached our milestone 10thanniversary, we thought of a way of honouring them and so we came out with an anniversary menu with their favourite dishes renamed after them. It was a hoot.

I had to learn to steel myself and adopt a demeanour that projected authority

What was the main purpose and expectations? 

We are Parsees, and our mantra is ‘good thoughts, good words and good deeds’. We try to live by this every day. We always wanted to make a difference – and first and foremost our goal was to offer the best authentic Indian food anyone has ever tasted. But underlying all of that has been our Parsee ethos of creating a legacy so everything we do is geared towards the long term and money is secondary; it is a means to an end. We always wanted to support the environment and local producers and suppliers. We are committed to staff training and training tomorrow’s chefs. We continue to do so till this day, particularly with the competition that Cyrus founded, ‘Zest Quest Asia’, which aims to stimulate interest in Asian cookery and cuisine among home grown chefs. This not only helps to spread the knowledge and skills of authentic, classical Asian cuisine but goes some way to addressing the skills shortages that the £3 billion Asian food industry – which includes 80,000 restaurants — is experiencing today.

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Have your dreams come true with Café Spice? 

We continue to strive, but the fact we have grown –with ‘The Park Café’ in Victoria Park East, and currently two hotel restaurants in the UK, ‘Mr Todiwals’s Kitchen’ in Hilton London Heathrow T5 and ‘Assado’ at the Hampton Waterloo – is something we are thankful for.


Who are your customers and how do you maintain long-term relationships with them? 

Our customers are a good cross-section. In the beginning we used to be considered a City, ‘expense account’ restaurant but that has changed in the past few years. We still enjoy a good bulk of our business from the City – and some of our longest standing clients who have become friends such as Nick Gooding, Ipe Jacob and Tony Bond, first came to us because they worked nearby.

We owe our success to our customers…

But today our customers come from all over the UK and from many parts of the world including Japan, the Philippines, Germany, France, Sweden and the USA. We try to serve them the best we can, and Cyrus is a genius in always coming up with something new and exciting to share with them. This year we are starting year-long celebrations of our 20th anniversary. We owe our success to our customers.

Indian cuisine is very popular – has this helped you to have more success in your business? 

It depends on what you mean by popular, or what Indian cuisine you consider popular. As a whole, yes, Indian cuisine has been embraced in the UK because of our unique history. That of course has been a great launching pad. But I think what has made us successful is our ability to innovate; Cyrus is a pioneering craftsman in the kitchen, but he also has a deep, almost incisive knowledge of food and food history. This allows us to deliver food that can be totally unexpected. One of our greatest personal and professional successes has been to raise the profile of Indian, Parsee and Goan food into the mainstream.

This year we are starting year-long celebrations of our 20th anniversary…

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What is your favourite dish? 

Mine is TANDOORI GOOSNARGH DUCK SAUSAGE and GOAN PRAWN CURRY

What are the benefits and disadvantages of a couple working together? 

Benefits outweigh disadvantages – I always have to watch Cyrus’s back and that helps for the benefit of the business. The disadvantage is that we live in a man’s world and there can be only one captain of the ship.

Who takes the business decisions? 

Every business decision is a collective decision, reached through collaboration with our team, who have a stake in our business too.

Who cooks at home? 

Me mostly

How do you manage time together out of the business? 

We try and do things with friends and also take holidays together, never separate.

What is your future dream? 

Our dream is have a Todiwala collection with our sons, bringing together their creative aspect into the business. They would take this business into a new dimension. We have also set up a Todiwala Foundation with which we hope to support education in the Asian hospitality sector. Our elder son Jamsheed has already started his own line of products from alcohol to platters etc.

To discover more about Café Spice and the cuisine, go to http://cafespice.co.uk

http://www.globalwoman.co/2015/10/pervin-todiwala-the-story-of-cafe-spice-namaste/

 

A bawi of bites


PATRA-NI-MACCHI.jpg

Parsi cuisine is as simple as it is complex. It’s a wonderful amalgam of Persian culinary secrets which have been preserved, and passed down generations for over 1,500 years, intrinsically mingling with the flavours of Gujarat (where the Parsis landed) making the blend a truly intoxicating one. But then that did not let the tongues or the minds stop yearning for more, as the Parsis happily borrowed and assimilated tastes and flavours from the Anglo Indians, the Goans and even the Maharastrians.

The other word synonymous with a Parsi could be “foodie” as the Bawa clan is extremely fond of the “parsi-peg” and “chicken-leg!” The Parsi home is known for its penchant for good food and drink, added with the legendary hospitality that the community is famous for.

One of the most important ingredients of a Parsi kitchen is the fun and laughter that adds to the overall bonhomie and the treats that get dished out each day… Eat, drink, live, laugh and be merry.
The Parsis are one of the tiniest communities in the world, totally just 1,38,000 out of which 69,000 are in India. Even Gandhiji had some complimentary words about the Parsis. He is known to have praised the Parsi community of India as “in numbers beneath contempt, but in contribution great.”

Mumbai has the largest number of Parsis residing in one city, though through the entrepreneurship and lust for travel, you will find Parsis in almost every corner of the world and what follows is the famed Dhansak, one of the most popular Parsi dishes, closely tailed by Patra ni macchi, Sali boti and Lagan nu custard. A Parsi can’t do without eggs; it has to be a part of atleast one meal. We Parsis speak a sweeter, softer dialect of Gujarati, which includes quite a special smattering of unique swear words that add such flavour to our very own food and life!

The writer is the chef at SodaBottleOpenerWala.
A proper Bawi who looks the part, Anahita learnt cooking from her mom, who is an excellent Parsi cook and caterer. She grew up with good food and has access to some incredible family recipes — some, more than 200 years old.

PAATRA NI MACCHI 
(Fish steamed with fragrant coconut chutney wrapped in banana leaves and steamed)

Ingredients:
Silver Pomfret 1 kg
Fresh coconut 250 gm
Coriander (with stem)
500 gm
Mint 50 gm
Sugar 50 gm
Garlic 50 gm (peeled)
Green chilli 10 gm
Lemon juice 60 ml
Whole cumin (jeera) 5 gm
Ice water to blend
Banana leaves 4

Method
Grate the coconut fine, and keep all other ingredients ready.
Cut the fish into fillets, that are still attached.
Marinate with salt and lemon juice and garlic paste.
Keep for one to two hours.
Blend ingredients for the chutney. Keep aside.
Soften banana leaves on a gas flame, and then cut away the stalk and cut into squares, large enough to wrap the fish pieces.
Once everything is ready, arrange the leaf on a clean surface, apply chutney, place the fish and top with chutney.
Pack the fish parcels with the help of a toothpick or string.
Steam in a rice cooker, or an idli steamer for 15 mins till the fish is cooked.
Serve with onion rings and garnish with lemon.
This can also be served with rice, and is a main course dish.

MITHOO MONU: MAMAIJI NU RAVO
(Sweeten your mouth with my grandmother’s authentic semolina pudding!)
Ingredients
1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar
3-4 tbsps butter or ghee
2 tsps vanilla essence
4 cups milk
Roasted almond slivers
Fried raisins (for a low calorie option, you can use plain raisins too) lA few rose petals (optional)

Method
Sauté the semolina in butter or ghee on a very low flame without browning it, yet it should be cooked.
Warm the milk, just slightly enough as to dissolve the sugar. Keep aside.
Add milk slowly to the semolina, stirring continuously.
Keep stirring on simmer till it starts coating the back of the spoon and becomes thick.
Take off heat and add vanilla essence.
Take out “Ravo” in a pretty glass bowl and garnish with slivered almonds, raisins as much as you like and some rose petals.

Anahita N. Dhondy

http://www.asianage.com/dining/bawi-bites-469

SODABOTTLEOPENERWALA – NOSTALGIA. HERITAGE. BHONU


Disclaimer – This is not a review. It would not be fair to review places or things that are sentimentally close to your heart.


Being a Zoroastrian Irani, I feel proud of my community’s contribution towards evolving the cultural landscape of a city back then known as ‘Bombay’. Irani cafes or restaurants are what initiated the dining out concept in colonial Raj. Irani restaurants were among the first community spaces that threw open their  doors to people of all caste, creed, religion and socio economic status alike, and served them copious amounts of chai with bun maska. You could be a British Army cadet, stock market babu, or a roadside vendor – an Irani restaurant would serve you equally and generously.

The journey of the Irani restaurant has been beautiful and colossal. What started off as a single Irani gentleman selling chai to officegoers from his ‘sigdi’, which later culminated into restaurants that served Parsi dishes and bakery products in addition to the humble chai. And then there is SodaBottleOpenerWala (SBOW) which is attempting to redefine the Irani cafe experience, without altering the sanctity of what an Irani cafe should be. Modern yet quirky, idiosyncratic, and nostalgic – dining at SBOW, which has just launched at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), tugged at my heartstrings because it is a beautiful attempt at trying to preserve the dying legacy of Irani restaurants.

Restaurateur AD Singh took his concept of a modern Irani restaurant to Gurgaon, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad before returning to the homeland where it all began. As I dined there on the preview night, a bit skeptical about how a Mumbai Irani themed restaurant would fare in a city where the original Mumbai Irani restaurants already exist, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two – the old Irani restaurants ‘then’, and SBOW ‘now’. And it is within these similarities, and differences that lies the charm of Mr. SBOW.

The Look:
Then: Large spacious rooms, high ceilings, and cramped within that  space – glass paneled tables with red chequered table cloths. An Irani cafe was an extension of the owner’s home, and the steel Godrej cupboards and wooden showcases with curios was proof enough. The sound of the fan whirring above your head while you tucked into melt-into-your mouth mawa cakes, made up for the sweltering heat.

Now: I spent half an hour just absorbing the microscopic details that have gone into creating the Instagram worthy ambiance of SBOW by architect Clement and Sabina Singh. The basic framework of an Irani cafe exists – wooden tables and chairs, red chequered tablecloths, mismatched lamps, ‘bannis’ selling confectioneries, and vintage tiled flooring for you to click your feet against. In addition, you’ll also find a large mural of the wall from Merwan’s, a Royal Enfield gleaming proudly at the entrance, and a toy train that chugs across the perimeter of the restaurant’s ceiling. Portraits of Parsis adorning the walls, and a smattering of assorted curios give the place a far more homely vibe.  And then there’s the blackboard listing out the establishment rules, a common sight at The decor perfectly encapsulates the old and the new, is a beautiful amalgamation of an Irani restaurant and a Bawaji home, and this remains the most cherished aspect of my meal at SBOW that evening.

The Bawa OCD for cleanliness extends to the toilet too.
Rules for eating at my restaurant


The People:
Then: An Irani restaurant was lot more about the feel and the food. It was about the faces that ran the place. A space ‘where everybody knew your name’. The uncle at Koolar & Co. won’t think twice before cautioning you about mosquitoes and the rise of dengue. Mr. Zend of Yazdani bakery makes for a lovely companion to chat over chai or khari, if he is in the mood that is. And then there’s the grand maestro, Mr Boman Kohinoor of Britannia who will regale you with stories of the British, lovingly spoon out food into your empty plate, and even show his letter from Queen Elizabeth to a lucky few. These grand old men are what keep the spirit of an Irani restaurant alive – you are not simply a customer, you are family.

Now: The faces behind SBOW today are a friendly lot themselves. Chef Manager, Anahita Dhondy, not only knows her food, but is doing a commendable job bringing regional Parsi cuisine to the fore front. Chef Darius Madon picks up the baton from her, as the Mumbai chef, and it will be interesting to see where he manages to take SBOW. Mohit Balachandran, brand head and cuisine director, commonly known by his moniker Chowder Singh deserves full credit for compiling and innovating the SBOW menu, that not only contains traditional Parsi dishes, but also dishes that showcase the best of Bombay!

The Bhonu:
Then: What started off as humble places serving chai-brun maska-khari, Irani cafes also gave impetus to the bakery boom in Bombay. They later became spaces you could to for a complete meal and get your fill of akuri, kheema pav, dhansak, kababs and more. Jimmy Boy introduced the Parsi wedding feast, outside of a baug, and after that there was no looking back. Most of these continue to remain the go-to places for Mumbaikars who are looking at dining on authentic Parsi fare outside of a Parsi home or wedding, with their idiosyncrasies in place. Read: closed on weekends, only open for lunch service.

Now: What I loved about the SBOW menu was that they’ve not just restricted themselves to Parsi food. Of course there are the staples – berry pulao, dhansak, salli boti, prawn paatiyo. But then there are the dishes that showcase the best of what Mumbai has to offer – Bhendi Bazaar Seekh Paratha, Goan Sausage Pav, Eggs Kejriwal, Haji Ali Fruit Cream – which in my opinion deserve just as much fan fare. Absolutely gorgeous are the Bawa inspired cocktails that not only have funny names, but also include some Parsi ingredients such as cane vinegar or Raspberry Soda.

(Clockwise): Salli Mutton, Cocktails, Dhansak, Raspberry with Cheesy Fries

Must try on the menu –
Tareli Macchi – the baked version of the fish we fry at home. The marinade masala tasted just like the one we make!
The Eggs Kejriwal – a stupendous version with perfectly cooked eggs slathered on a firm, buttery toast.
The traditional, piquant Prawn Paatiyo, that demands dhandar on the side.
The Bhendi Bazaat Seekh Paratha – juicy, melt in the mouth seekhs paired with a surprisingly light paratha.
The Rustom Banwatala – a delicious mango juice and vodka concoction served in a Banta bottle!

(Clockwise): Bhendi Bazaar Seekh Parathas, Cocktails, Eggs Kejriwal,
Prawn Paatiyo.

The underlying question here remains, will Mumbai accept Mr. SBOW – a city where the original Irani cafes still remain, a city where everyone has sampled authentic Parsi food atleast once in their life? The answer if a big, resounding Yes! Sadly, with the number of authentic Irani cafes dwindling, and most of them present across the other end of the sea link, the launch of SBOW could not have come at a better time. As Finely Chopped so rightly put in his blogpost here, SBOW will work for the slightly high end target audience, who may not be able to deal with the eccentricities of Fort’s Irani restaurants (read: open only on weekdays, for lunch).

Everyone seems to be asking me ‘ How authentic or real is the food at SBOW?’ I am strictly following the board outside the restaurant that reads ‘ We know your Mumma’s Dhansak is the best, but give ours a shot’, and I would recommend you’ll to do the same. The Lagan nu Custard may lack the sugary burnt top, and nutty cinnamon flavour that most custards do, but the non Parsis on my table didn’t seem to notice.

It is a beautiful coincidence that the original Irani cafes were situated in Bombay’s original office district – Colaba and Fort. And this modern, revamped Irani settles down in Mumbai’s newest office hub – BKC. Chef Anahita told me on the opening night, ‘SBOW is the 2015 version of an Irani restaurant like Britannia’, and I’ll have to agree with her. Hoping they have a long, delicious stint ahead like their older counterparts. Jamva Chalo Ji!

P.S.: Anyone else notice the uncanny resemblance between my father and Mr Rustom SodaBottleOpenerWala? Cannot wait to take him there for some Dhansak, and a Brandied Bawi cocktail.  #LoveTheName

SodaBottleOpenerWala, Ground Floor, The Capital Building, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. 

Zenia Irani is a Clinical Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist by profession, And a food, lifestyle, and fashion lover by passion. This blog is my personal diary.Come read it and share my adventure. Get in touch with me on zenia.irani@gmail.com for any collaborations or comments.

Parsi lamb stew


This week our food columnist Mallika Basu settles into autumn with a Parsi lamb stew also known as Jardaloo ma Gosht.

Mallika Basu's Parsi lamb

Sweet, sour and with just a hint of chilli this lamb in apricot stew is the perfect shoulder season stew. Jardaloo ma Gosht is traditionally Parsi, the community of Zoroastrians who left Persia over a thousand years ago and settled in the West of India. They brought with them a unique cuisine that combines sweet and sour, stewing meat in fruit and vinegar to a delectable end.

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/parsi-lamb-in-apricot-stew-a-recipe-from-indian-cook-mallika-basu-a2948666.html