Saturday, July 26, 2008

Britannia & Co.

Britannia & Co

I am very glad for this trip, and can ask for no better way to cap off my Mumbai escapade then with my visit to Britannia & Co today. I love exploring exotic cuisines and their unique flavors, hence on my must-try list was Parsi food, something I reckon hard to get exactly right back home.

I picked out Britannia & Co from Lonely Planet's extensive list, as it read with the most history. Finding the place was a challenge, even with a cab, but with more help from passerby then my luck and command of the Indian language can summon, I got there.

I got there alright, an hour early, since they only serve lunch from 12:30pm. No matter, proprietor Ashfin kindly offered that I take a stroll around the port area in the meanwhile, and cautioned me not to wander too far, least I lose my way.

When I got back, Ashfin sat me down and introduced his father Boman to me. This very dearly old man asked, "Are you here to chat with me or to try the food?" Hungry and confused, I go "Erm, both, I guess, since the food's not ready." Twat I am.

He told me about Everything, starting with the history of the Zoroastrians (that he is), how they are the longest known religion known today; their struggles in Iran, how his forefathers came to India and finally settle down in Mumbai, set up a cafe to sell Parsi food, his way of preserving his heritage and offer fellow Persians a connection to their roots, and this is how Britannia & Co. eventually came to be.

A Family Spread
Prepared for a Guest, Fit for a King

When the kitchen was ready, Boman asked what I had decided on. I hadn't, since every item on the menu was new to me, and I couldn't order Everything.

"Ah, you are going back this evening? Then you will not have the time to visit again and try all our dishes. But neither must you order too much now, you cannot finish them and you will spoil your stomach. I tell you what, I will order for you, you will eat what I eat."

He muttered some orders to a waiter who nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Boman continued "Everyday my brother and I will eat here, the same things, I have asked them to prepare the same for you, it is simple food, but you will get to taste a bit of everything, which is good."

The food came, and came. Boman had indeed instructed for a bit of everything to be presented on the plate, and his brother joined us at the table. I regret forgetting his brother's name, for his was as dear a man as Boman was. They introduced every dish laid out on the table, most interesting was the rice with cooked with barberries, a tart and slightly sweet fruit, very delightful. I also found the potato crisps they serve with everything a fun part to the meal. (My Sis would kill to have chips with every meal and every meal in-between meals.)

Random Deliciousness:
Chicken Farcha (Fried Chicken)
Dhansak (Meats in Lentil Gravy)
Jardaloo Sali Boti (Mutton in Onion & Tomato Gravy with Apricots & Potato Crisps)
Jinga Nu Pathio (Prawn Curry)
Saas Ni Machhi (Yellow Rice with Pomfret Fillets in White Gravy)
Sali Murghi (Spicy Chicken with Potato Crisps)
Tamota Ni Russ Chaval (Mutton Cutlets in Tomato Gravy)

The surprise of the meal was the simple stewed fish which is not on the menu; it was a staple of the brothers' lunches and they made sure I had a good bit of that too. The lovely brother insisted on had picking the tiny bones from the fish before giving them to me. I was so moved I didn't know what to say. Gosh!

The food is really amazing, every dish was spot on simple yet delicious, it warms both stomach and soul. Needless to say, my favorite was the fish, coz it was shared with love.

Boman Kohinoor, sons Romin & Ashfin, brother
A portrait of Boman & father, Rashid, hangs above

At the end of the day, it didn't feel like a meal at a restaurant. Instead I left feeling like I just had the most heart warming meal at my Grandfather's, with family. This is indeed, the best meal of my life and one I will always remember. :)

Britania & Co Irani Restaurant
Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road
16 Ballard Estate (Pier)
Fort, Mumbai

Ring: 91 22 2261 5264

Eat: Mondays to Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.
11:30 am to 3:30pm. Lunch commences at 12:30pm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We give thanks for our friends (and their blogs).
Our dear friends.
We anger each other.
We fail each other.
We share this sad earth, this tender life, this precious time.
Such richness. Such wildness.
Together we are blown about.
Together we are dragged along.
All this delight.
All this suffering.
All this forgivable life.
We hold it together.