5 Irani Cafes Of Mumbai We Love | MF Guide
If you have lived in Mumbai long enough, you know exactly what an Irani cafe is. Irani Cafes came into existence with the influx of Persian immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries, and serve food specific to their community. They have started food trends that have become a part of Bombay’s identity, like mawa cakes and bun maska with chai.
Although too many have closed their doors in the last decade, some of the iconic old ones still remain. For a quintessentially (south) Mumbai experience, eat Irani/Parsi food at our favourite Irani Cafes from the list below.
Kyani & Co, Metro
As one of the most iconic names on this list, Kyani and Co is officially a ‘heritage restaurant’, and is in its 114th year of business. A high ceiling, large mirrors, wood paneled showcases, checkered table cloths and a humble sign that says ‘No timepass allowed’, makes up the vision that is Kyani & Co. You can drop by at any time of the day to have a piping hot cup of Irani chai, and it would be almost criminal if you didn’t pair it with bun maska or khari. Regular customers pick up their breakfast from here at least once a week, consisting of fresh bread, chicken patties and tea cakes.
Jimmy Boy, Fort
While most of the others on the list are ideal for chai and chatter during break time, head to Jimmy Boy for a proper, wholesome meal. The menu consists of delicacies found in Parsi and Irani households, from every-day recipes, to special, festive ones. Some of our favourites are the Chicken Farcha, Salli Par Edu, chicken or mutton Dhansak, and definitely, a Pallonji’s Raspberry Soda. For a well-rounded Parsi eating experience, go for a Lagan Nu Bhonu (a Parsi wedding thali)!
Britannia & Co., Ballard Estate
Once, Britannia and Co. served lunch to British officers stationed in the area, and now, it continues to serve hungry bellies and curious eyes in search for the pockets of history laced in the area. Mr Boman Kohinoor, the owner, is still available at most times to chat with when you’re dining, and he sure does have a bunch of stories from the years gone by to tell. Their most iconic dish is the berry pulav (the berries come from Iran!). While most other Irani Cafes are economically prices, Britannia is a tad bit more expensive, but an iconic lunching spot, nonetheless.
Yazdani Bakery, Fort
Although the first ever (and best) Starbucks is Yazdani Bakery’s neighbour, this Irani Café is never empty. Bun maska and chai are still the go-to order for every occupied table despite the lattes next door. Keep an eye out on their walls which are adorned with vintage photographs, certificates, letters and posters. Catch their bread pudding, egg puffs, ginger biscuits and khari.
B. Merwan & Co., Grant Road
Located right opposite Grant Road Station, this spot has automatically become a breakfast favourite for the hordes of men and women who take the early train to work, grabbing a bun maska and chai. They are the most well known for their baked sweets like muffins and biscuits, and they can take credit for making mawa cake a part of everyone’s childhood. Even to this day, no cake comes close to the way Merwan makes it, and regulars claim that it still tastes the same, just as it did years ago.
Some more Irani Cafes we love are Koolar & Co. Cafe Irani Chai, Sassanian, Ideal Corner and Cafe Military. They all have similar menus, themes and vibes. For a more trendy and modern take on Parsi food, we love SodaBottleOpenerWala, which has multiple locations across Mumbai.