Tuesday, September 15, 2009

bun-maska-chai and a smoke


Talking about Irani restaurants, I am really really glad that some good ones still exist. Bastani's honourable neighbour, Kyani & Co still stands proudly at the corner of Metro cinema. And yes those ropes still hang from the ceiling at the entrance to help you climb in!

I have to regrettably report that Kyani management has chosen to follow the smoking ban imposed by Ambumani Ramadoss (yes the same guy who had serious objections to Shahrukh Khan's smoking on and off screen), but most of what you got there -- crispy khari biscuits, the watery pani-kum chai, the bun-maska, and other bakery products -- is still served sincerely.

A few yards away, Sasanian Boulangerie located near Gol Masjid is still functional, and serves a mean kheema-pav. I often visit the New Excelsior Cafe opposite Excelsior Cinema which has survived over the years, and offers all the Iranian delights. They have recently added Lebanese food to the menu. Chicken Salli is a curious dish in their menu. A chicken patty soaked in a lipsmacking sauce, with fried potato crispies sprinkled on top with pav.

 Also intact is Cafe Olympia near Churchgate railway station. It never had any particular decor, but still serves the popular kheema-pav it is known for. Cafe Military, tucked away in the tiny lane that links Fountain to Bombay Stock Exchange, is there too. You have to wait for a table during the lunch hour when the office crowd throngs the place.

 Koolar & Co at King's Circle still retains its charm. A framed photo of New York Times front page announcing the sinking of the Titanic hangs above the counter. Though the watery, milk tea came to be identified with Iranian restaurants, Koolar offers the authentic Iranian tea which is without milk, and is kept separately at the counter. Do try that one if you go. Irani restaurants symbolise unhurried time for me, and I can sit there for hours just gazing at the world outside go by. I really miss them in Thane where I live.

If you know of some interesting Irani restaurants I should visit, do drop me a line.
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