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The Parsi and Irani communities are an integral part of the city's heritage and history. Some say that they make their presence felt with cafes dating back to over a 100 years. Most of these cafes are small, or look dilapidated, but even today they are widely popular and enjoy a loyal fan base that visit them regularly. If you're visiting Mumbai for the first time then a visit to an Irani cafe is a must.
Here are 5 Irani Cafes that I suggest you go to:
Kyani and Co
Possibly the most famous of the lot, Kyani has a never ending menu with additional specials on different days of the week. It is marked by red and white checkered table cloths with old creaking Hungarian made furniture that is as old as the restaurant itself. It is frequently visited for their Irani chai and bun maska. The perfect snack at any point of the day.
This Irani cafe is everyone’s favourite tea house. I say this because unlike the others that serve food, or even a small breakfast menu, Yazdani stays true to the basic chai and bun maska offerings. They are also famous for their khari biscuits and brun pao, but the real treat is their Christmas cake.
This is small and tucked away in a by lane of Fort. It serves some wonderful mutton biryani and mutton cutlets. Pop in and try some along with their caramel custard which patrons swear by.
B. Merwan outside Grant Road Station, is an institution in itself. Despite battling rumours of shutting down, it still has its doors open to patrons. When one thinks of hot buttery mawa cakes, this is the only name that comes to mind. Would you believe it that they open at 5.30 am and that the mawa cakes are sold out by 9 am?
Sassanian Boulangerie recently celebrated its 100th birthday and is home to many college students who pop in for quick and affordable meals. While they have Parsi staples such as dhansak, sali chicken, mutton kababs or chicken farcha on the menu, they also serve chicken and vegetarian sizzlers and a mean chicken stroganoff. To keep up with the times they also have an entire menu dedicated to Chinese food!
Whether it’s a quick cup of tea, or a full blown meal, visiting any of these Irani cafes is a different experience from visiting any other restaurant in the city.
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.