Irani Cafés are the old world charm of Mumbai. They are in Mumbai for more than hundred years, perhaps even our Grandpa’s weren’t born then. The Irani’s who migrated from Persia brought in their unique food culture to India and soon became ubiquitous in Mumbai due to the Irani Chai and brun maska. The USP of Iranian Cafés is the honest price.
Irani Cafés typically serve ‘brun maska’ (bread and butter) and ‘paani kam chai’ (a strong Iranian tea), or khari chai (very strong tea), mutton samosas, and Kheema Pav, Akuri (a scrambled spicy egg preparation), berry pulao, vegetable puff, vegetarian/chicken Dhansak (a spicy broth with lentils, pulses) and Biryani, cherry cream custard, cheese khari biscuits, plain khari biscuits, coconut jam and milk biscuits and Dukes Raspberry drink. The Parsi Bhonu (meal) is available at most Irani restaurants. Many Irani cafes offer sweet and salted biscuits like Rawa (semolina), Til Rawa Coconut, Nankhatai (sweet, crisp flaky Irani biscuits), Tutti-frutti biscuits. (Source – Wikipedia)
“The Victorian ambience of these Cafés is basic with a subtle colonial touch, high ceilings, round wooden tables with chequered table cloth and four wooden chairs, glass jars (called ‘barni’, a slang in Mumbai parlance) that allow a sneak peek into the sweetmeats inside, white bone china cutlery and huge glass mirrors on the walls to create a feeling of space.”
There were many Irani Cafés in Mumbai till the 80’s, however the numbers gradually depleted and today only a handful of them are operational … with the century old B. Merwan & Co. about to shut shop on 31st March this year, the Irani Cafés of Mumbai are on the brink of extinction.
Dining at a Irani Café can be a nostalgic experience for many. Here’s a list of popular Irani Cafés frequented by young and old generation of Mumbaikars.
|Kayani & Co.||657, Jer Mahal Estate, Opp. Metro Cinema, Dhobi Talao, Mumbai||Brun Maska and Chai, Kheema Pao, Caramel Custard, Akuri||6:30 AM to 9:00 PM|
|Sassanian Boulangerie||98, Anandilal Podar Marg, New Marine Lines, Mumbai||Mawa Cake, Chicken Puff, Akuri||7:00 AM to 11:00 PM|
|B. Merwan & Co.||Ali Bhai Premji Road, Opp. Grant Road Station, Grant Road East, Mumbai||Mawa Cake, Pudding, Caramel Custard, Omelette Pao||5:30 AM to 7:00 PM|
|Café Britannia||Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai||Berry Pulao, Dhansak, Caramel Custard, Mutton Cutlets||11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Sunday Closed|
|Koolar & Co.||541, Noor Mahal, Kings Circle, Matunga East, Mumbai||Akuri, Kheema Pao, Brun Maska and Irani Chai||6:00 AM to 11:30 PM|
|Café Military||Behind BSE, Opp. HSBC Bank, Fort, Mumbai||Kheema Pao, Bheja Masala, Caramel Custard||8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sunday Closed|
|Yazdani Bakery (Veg. only)||Cawasji Patel Street, Fort, Mumbai||Apple Pie, Brun Maska and Chai, Khari Biscuits||5:00 AM to 11:00 PM|
Visit one before they become a lost heritage.