AtoZ, Blog Challenge, Travel

[P] Parsi food affair in Bombay |#atozchallenge 2017|


2013: I was in Bombay, visiting my sister who was settled there at that time. It was a longish visit and I ended up exploring some parts of the city via interesting walks, friends and relatives.

I went flamingo watching at Sewri one early morning.

Attended the Kala Ghoda festival – my first!

Visited the Sula vineyard in Nasik

A photo walk through Mumbai Chor Bazar.

I had heard a lot about Parsi food but never tested the waters. When I mentioned the same to my cousin, he promptly planned to take me to Britannia Cafe in Fort area – this is one of the oldest Parsi/Iranian cafes in Bombay.

I was surprised to see the “antiquated” look of the cafe. Plastic table covers, green & white check pattern printed on plastic mats , peeling plaster and a beauty of an old table fan.


We both selected a table and waited for the server to arrive. Menu perusing and ordering was done in consultation with him, and realising it’s our first time , he recommended the best dishes in the house alongwith the famous Parsi drink – it was fuscia pink in colour and had a berry like flavour. (It was too sweet for me)


We started with the famous Chicken Berry Pulao – I was quite taken by the look of the dish which had a generous sprinkling of dried red berries, cashews and fried onions.

Upon enquiring from our knowledgeable server, we came to know that these are the traditional Iranian Barberry or Zeereshk which are to date imported from Persia.


Impressed , we dug in with gusto. I realised that I had been anticipating a biryani or a mughlai like flavour (pls excuse my very north Indian palate)and was quite unprepared for the sweetness (from the berries) and next to nothing spices in it. As a result, my taste buds rejected it outright!!! 

Moving on, we sampled the Mutton Sali Boti which we were informed is mutton served on a bed of sali or potato sticks. Interesting accompaniment, we mused to each other. And that gravy looks exciting too!!!!!


This is cooked in a thick gravy of onions and tomato with addition of vinegar / lemon juice to make it sour. There is also some sugar to lend it some sweetness, which is what marred it for me.

Somehow this sweet and no-spice food didn’t gel with my gourmet expectations and I decided not to proceed further with Dhansak or anything else.

Sadly this was the end of the Parsi food affair for me and I haven’t quite caught onto the wave of parsi eating joints which have mushroomed across the length and breadth of India’s many metros.

“Your body is not a temple , it is an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” – Anthony Bourdain

How about you? Does Parsi cuisine send your taste buds to gourmet heaven?

Fact File

  1. Iranian or parsi food joints are quite popular in Bombay for their serving if Irani chai and Bun Maska or bun n butter.
  2. Several food blogs, hone caterers and restaurant chains have come up with concept of promoting parsi cuisine.

Coming up tomorrow is a queer tale, me thinks!!! 

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner


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35 thoughts on “[P] Parsi food affair in Bombay |#atozchallenge 2017|

  1. love the photographs.. and their berries look really cool.. but, yes, unless it is supposed to be a sweet rice dish (like our sweet pongal from Tamil Nadu), I do not like to add sweetness to pulaos ..
    LadyInRead @ MyRandRSpace – Day 19 & Poppin-P

    1. Thanks so much Vidya- yeah it was just unusually sweet for a savoury dish, if you know what I mean!!! 😉

  2. I had my first taste of Parsi food at Sodabottle Opnerwala, and loved it. Haven’t gone back, just to stay away from the high calories it comes with. I love my food sweet-a little bit of Gujju, Bengali upbringing I must say.


    Travel Epiphanies:
    Precious Cotton

    1. Ah cheers to you liking it as to scores of other peeps I know! I didnt know it was very high in calorie content! I adore my food with loads of spice and flavours!!! Pura pucca punjabi I am!!! 😉

  3. I have heard a lot about the famous chor bazaar, and I think Parsi food sounds great. I do think that it’s a tad similar to lebanese food. (My thoughts only) 🙂

    1. Hey Z – not similar to Lebanese at all in my opinion – this food is quite sweet and bland for my tastebuds! I didnt quote enjoy it at all!!! 🙁

  4. I like their bun maska but never really went to any Persian restaurant. A visit to Mumbai also is long due. I have to take my daughters there soon.

  5. Ahh all I know of Parsi food is the Parsi dairy farm’s glorious icecream! I am a vegetarian and I believe Parsi food is a non veggies delight. That said good research on your post Shalzz. All the best for the times ahead!

    1. Thanks so much Kala – I have no clue about the icecream but I think there are some veggie delights too in this cuisine – I just couldnt try anymore, so stopped right there!!! 😉

  6. I have never been to a Parsi joint but we had Parsi neighbors who would share some special dishes on special occasions. We quite liked their food. Hope to explore these old Parsi joints sometimes. Sad that it didnt work out for you though.

    1. Yeah Shilpa – somehow this was not upto my taste; I can really dig into new food stuff to try out but my tastebuds are a little finicky and rejected this outright. I think I need to try it out with a Parsi friend to really enjoy it!!! 🙂

  7. Oh, too bad… this seems to have put you off Parsi food, but I absolutely love it! had been a regular at a restaurant called “Bombay A-1” at Grant Road and the sali boti was to die for…it was really awesome… hope you give Parsi food a try again sometime (without prejudice!) at some other joint or better at a Parsi home/wedding… it might turn your view around!! Cheers!!

  8. Y’know, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t eaten Parsi food in Bombay in spite of living there for years. However, I hear you about sweetness…I find that with some Gujarati dishes and don’t like it. I do like a lot of North Indian food and some South Indian (family being the latter). I have eaten some Iranian food here in Aus thanks to a Persian friend but didn’t find it bland/sweet.

    1. Ha ha Sanchi. I also went out of curiosity as had heard so much about it. I think I need to eat at s more authentic eatery as even Sodawater food also didn’t appeal to me. And yeah gujju food too has this sweetness quotient.

  9. While I can’t eat very spicy hot foods anymore, I do like my food well seasoned. I generally prefer my fruit and my desserts sweet. It is a shame you didn’t enjoy it, as it LOOKED to die for delicious!
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. Looked die for delicious is just about right!!!! 😉 I just couldn’t savour it… My taste buds are partial to spice but not sugar!!!

  10. I guess you chose wrong dishes and wrong restaurant. Britania is totally over rated place. I think the old man who brags a lot should retire. There are several spicy dishes in Parsi cuisine. Next time try places like Café Military, Jimmy Boy or Ideal Corner, all in downtown area. Better still try to get invited to a Parsi wedding / navjote and I am sure you will reverse your opinion. I think Parsi food is the best.

  11. Ah! Should have gone with Dhansak and maybe had a Patra ni Machhi too. I suppose it could be an acquired taste too.
    Having done a fair bit of my schooling in Pune I love my Parsi food.

    1. I think I need to eat a parsi home or with Parsi peeps who would educate me what to eat and how it should taste!!! 🙂

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