A foodie trip from Delhi to Bombay


A foodie trip from Delhi to Bombay

'No Feet On Chair. No Shouting At Staff. No Talking Softly.’ The instructions are clearly stated on the menu alongside the proposal of a prospective Parsi boy for marriage.

This is not the menu of a roadside dhaba (even though the retro Bollywood music is extremely loud) but a restaurant in the upscale Khan Market.

For those who have never had a chance to visit Mumbai (in the days when it was called Bombay), the restaurateur of SodaBottleOpenerWala has recreated the west Indian city in two floors!

A toy train hovers above the head as Metrolife browses through the menu, replete with names of unfamiliar dishes, on a colourful table top.

With an aim to revive the old cafe culture in the Maximum City, this Bombay Irani Cafe tries to bring together a lot of things – quirky decor, vintage artefacts, brass dishware and Parsi cuisine influenced by the English.

Vengna Nu Patio – the name catches attention and is found to share similarities with the baigan ka bharta in a North Indian household.

But the head of kitchen operations, Mohit Balachandran clarifies that for this dish the brinjal is fried before being cooked.

It gets its sourness from Kolah vinegar which forms the basis of Parsi cuisine.

The taste of this dish can be appreciated with the pao. Just like the Dhansak – served in a brass tiffin box - that goes well with the rice and vegetable salad.

However, an increase in spice content would have been appreciable.

As Metrolife checks out the unusual names and tries more ‘Bambaiya’ dishes, it becomes natural, at least for a Delhiite, nurtured on a regular diet of butter chicken and dal makhani, to discuss about the unfamiliar Parsi cuisine.

The staff is patient and quite hospitable in informing about the Parsi culture of eating previous day’s leftovers with egg on top.

This invented the Bheeda Par Eeda – a preparation of Parsi-style baked eggs on spicy okra.

Well, the okra isn’t really spicy like most of other dishes, which use spices in controlled quantities, the egg yolk is running and the dish more suitable for breakfast.

The same could be said for Eggs Kejriwal – a Bombay speciality defining the taste buds of Devi Prasad Kejriwal’s favourite dish at the Wellingdon Club in Bombay, and not our political leader Arvind Kejriwal.

The sunny side up eggs and sliced mushrooms on toast are too delicious and heavy to be digested at any other time of the day other than at breakfast.

There is a story behind every dish on the menu which is difficult to talk about in one review.

So focussing on the food and its flavour it becomes imperative to mention the Chicken Berry Pulao and Parsi Mutton Masala Roast.

Both are the highlights of this trip to miniature Bombay.

While the pulao soaks in the flavour of the berries and saffron to taste outstanding, the mutton lures with its aroma of freshly prepared onion-tomato masala.

But the secret behind the success of both is the focus on perfect cooking of the chicken and meat which locks the flavour of the dish in the palate and the mind.

The seafoods, such as fish and prawn, in Tareli Macchi and Kolmi Fry should not be on the foodie’s priority list, at this place.

Even the Goan Fish Curry is prepared in a very different style and is just about average.   

Tinker with vintage phones as the desserts, inspired by names of chocolate brands, arrive with Pheteli (literally whipped) Coffee and Irani Special Chai.

The Toblerone Mousse is the best pick with its sinful chocolaty affair and 5 Star Brownie wins the second position.

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