Since time immemorial, Mumbai has been a melting pot of varied cultures. The city has managed to withstand calamities and terror attacks and emerged victorious every time. One thing without which the city is incomplete is its Irani cafes. These cafes are an important cultural aspect of Mumbai and boast a legacy of more than 100 years. Here’s a guide to Mumbai’s timeless Irani cafes that offer authentic Parsi fare.
Yazdani is one of the city’s most iconic Irani hangouts that attracts all kinds of people. You have the fancy guys in their ties and suits along with the regular crowd. As you enter Yazdani, you are instantly hit by a strong nostalgia that takes you back in time. It was founded in 1953 by a Yazdani family and has stood the test of time for three generations. This Parsi bakery is known around Mumbai for its signature Bun-Maskas, Chai and ginger biscuits.
Must Haves: Khari Biscuits, Shrewsbury Cookies, Ginger Biscuits and Apple Cinnamon Pie
Cost for two: ₹ 300
The cakes, buns and biscuits at this old-school Parsi café have been alluring fans in the city since as early as 1914. Their freshly baked Mawa Cakes are undoubtedly delicious and rarely last past noon. This Irani café is a delight for those who want a taste of the old Bombay blended with exquisite cuisine. Their chai perfectly pairs with their baked goodies and is worth a try if you are looking for a dose of caffeine.
Must Haves: Mawa Cake, Mawa Samosa and Bun Maska
Cost for two: ₹ 100
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One of the oldest Irani cafés in Marine Lines, Kyani is now surrounded by the developing infrastructure of South Mumbai. The cafe is famous for its wine cake and confectioneries. Kyani has easily been in business for about 112 years and is being run by the second generation of Shokriyes. The father, Aflatoon Shokriye arrived in India in 1948 when he was 18 and started the business ground up. If the Shokriyes are to be believed, they have served some of the biggest names in arts and cinema. This bakery has a rustic look and takes pride in its minimalism and affordability.
Must Haves: Bun Maskas, Irani Chai, Keema Pav, Parsi Custard and Chicken Cheese Bhurji
Cost for two: ₹ 300
Don’t let the rundown look of Britannia and Co put you off. There’s something beautifully rustic and almost ancient about sitting and eating in Britannia’s. The cafe was started by Roshan Kohinoor during the pre-independence era and is now run by the third generation of the Kohinoor family. This place is the reason behind the super popularity of the famous Berry Pulav. The credit for the recipe goes to Bachan Kohinoor, wife of Boman Kohinoor, who inherited the business from his father.
Must Haves: Berry Pulav, Caramel Custard, Fish Patra and Mutton Pattice
Cost for two: ₹ 1000
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Located in Marine Lines, Sassanian Boulangerie stands as a solemn reminder of the times gone by. This café is everything that a dictionary definition of an Iranian Cafe would entail - Bun Maska, Chai and a jovial bespectacled man at the counter. This Irani cafe was started in 1913 by Rustam Kaikushru Yezdabadi, who migrated from Yezd, Iran to India by selling simple, basic stuff like tea, cakes and biscuits and eventually expanded into a departmental store. However, in 1960 they stopped selling grocery items and developed into a full-fledged café.
Fun Fact: In 2013, Sassanian completed 100 years!
Must Haves: Lagan Nu Custard, Dhansak, Mawa Cake and Bun Maskas
Cost for two: ₹ 400
Ex-chef, home baker, dog lover. Love to explore new cuisines and restaurants.
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