Today (17th August 2015) is Pateti, the last day of the Parsi calendar year.
Though you don’t wish Parsis a ‘happy pateti’, it is an auspicious day for them and good food forms a big part of the festivities.
The Jimmy Boy restaurant at Horniman Circle is where you can head to for a festive Parsi meal.
It has more than a century of heritage behind it. It stands where a 100-year-old Irani bakery called Café India used to be.
In the late 1990s, the current owners of Café India decided to convert it into a restaurant where one could enjoy a lagan nu bhonu (Parsi wedding feast).
No restaurant in Mumbai was offering this and it gave an opportunity for non Parsis, who didn’t know any Parsis who were getting married, to still enjoy a Parsi wedding feast.
Thus Café India was reborn as Jimmy Boy.
The new name was inspired by the nickname Jimmy that the owner would give while placing trunk calls to Australia to Aussie telephone operators who could not pronounce his Parsi name.
Jimmy Boy today is a full-fledged Parsi restaurant and bakery. Its revival has been spearheaded by the young, hardworking, Sherzad Irani, the owner’s nephew.
Jimmy Boy has two sections. The ground floor is not air-conditioned and looks like the Irani cafes of yore. The mezzanine floor is air-conditioned during lunch and dinner.
Yes, it is a rare Parsi restaurant that is open for dinner.
The laganu bhonu lies at the heart of the menu here. You get a vegetarian option too and one order is enough to serve two. The portions are fixed and they don’t mind if you share it.
The menu consists of sarya (papad) and lagan nu achar, rotli (Parsi for roti) sali margi or chicken farcha (you choose), patrani machhi or saas ni machhi, mutton palao dar, laganu custard or koolfi. The vegetarian option has dishes such as laganu stew (more like a dry sabzi!) and veg pulao dar (dal). Dhansak, is a funeral dish, and not served on happy occasions.
The best thing about the lagan nu bhonu at Jimmy Boy is that you don’t have to wait for a lagan (wedding), navjot (Parsi coming of age ceremony), pateti or New Year to enjoy it.
You can go there any day of the year to celebrate!
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Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.