Kyani & Co | Legendary Irani Restaurant & Bakery | Mumbai

Kyani & Co - Irani Cafes in Mumbai
Kyani & Co - Irani Cafe - Mumbai
Kyani & Co – Irani Cafe – Mumbai

A story about my two meals at Kyani & Co.

Whether it’s sipping on a cup of Irani Chai along with freshly baked Khari biscuits or munching on Brun Maska with Raspberry Soda Pallonji, for many locals in Mumbai, this is routine. The celebrated romance between Mumbai and its Irani Hotel/Parsi Café/Irani Café (whatever you may want to call them) is envious. No other city in India, ever enjoyed this luxury of creating a café culture, so unique that people from across the world, yearned to experience it. However, like many other cities, the food of its immigrant residents, is now a part of the culture of Mumbai. These eateries not only contributed to the food culture of Mumbai, but also added to and even enhanced it’s nonchalant vibe.

During our weeklong trip in Mumbai, Gurjas and I spent our initial days in Bohri Mohalla, relishing lovely eid feasts. We munched on some yummy homemade Bohri Keema Samosas and also on deep fried Malpuas at Tawakkal’s.

After the sparsely known Bohri Food; we ventured to explore the most talked about Parsi and Irani food of Mumbai.

So, I found myself, sitting on a thonet chair sipping on some Pallonji Raspberry Soda, while waiting for my Kheema Pav at this 114 years old Kyani & co. The interiors and the prices of the dishes were such that one could imagine being in the 80’s, had people not been looking at their phone screens. The customers (at least most of them) seemed to walk in every day, taking their favourite spots with servers knowing, just what they would love to eat.

Trays of freshly baked Pavs were being placed inside the display counter and boxes of Potato-Chicken Chops were being packed. It was quite evident from the food on display that the Iranis and especially Zoroastrain Parsis derive substantial influences from the British. Their love for custards, chops, pies, freshly baked mawa cakes and the love for eggs, is barely a secret.

Finally there was food on my table, and luckily for me, I absolutely loved the Kheema Pav. The minced meat used in this Kheema was of goat and not lamb. It didn’t taste too hot and had the right balance of minced meat and seasonings. I squeezed some limejuice on top, as I always like to do that with such rich kheema or even curries, at times. It tasted delicious paired with a freshly baked Pav, which was soft from inside and a bit firm on the top.

I also orderd for Akuri aka Parsi scrambled egg. Previously, I had loved it at Rustoms Café & Bakery in Delhi, which has now shut down. So, I was looking forward to eating it at Kyani & Co. To my surprise, here, the preparation of Akuri, was more on the lines of Anda Bhurji, as against Akuri, which is runnier in comparison, even though the ingredients used are common in both the dishes (except milk). Nonetheless, I liked the Akuri. With tomatoes, onions, chilies, coriander and masala, the eggs, it’s a concoction you can hardly go wrong with.

However, my romance with the food at Kyani & Co saw it’s first fight with Caramel Custard. Honestly, my excitement faded away after I had one look at the custard. There was no caramel crust on top. When I asked the server about it, he said they mix the caramel in the custard itself, before baking it. One bite of this vigorless dessert and I quickly gave it to Gurjas, who apparently enjoyed eating it.

However, I was willing to move on and get back to happier times. Hence, I decided to pay another visit to Kyani & Co. I zeroed on Chicken Farcha, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t available. Therefore, I tried my luck with Mutton Cutlet, Chicken Patties and Potato – Chicken Chop from their Bakery.

And saying I loved everything would be an understatement. My favourite amongst the three was Potato – Chicken chop. Call me crazy, but, I have always loved this combination from my days of living in Kolkata. With onions, coriander and garam masalas, this was truly delicious. Even the Mutton Cutlet was luscious as the crunchy layer on top beautifully complimented the soft –juicy filling of Mutton inside. Usually such dishes tend to become dry, but it all worked out fine.

This was a good day and I am glad it was. Now, it was time, to head back home. But I felt miserable, as I was leaving behind, the beautiful blue skies of Mumbai and going back to the gray skies of Delhi. But, I did get packed, some of those awesome goodies from Kyani & Co for my train journey, to carry a bit of Mumbai with me.

In a nutshell:

Location: Jermahal Estate, 657, Marine Lines, Tak Wadi, Kalbadevi, Mumbai

Atmosphere: A 114 years old establishment with large number of covers. Old vintage furniture, with chequered tablecloth and glass tabletop, wooden bakery counters with glass jars filled cookies and rusks. With a Grandfather clock, portable fans and many such vintage props, the atmosphere here is like a trip down the memory lane.

Service: As the place is high on footfall, they expect you to leave immediately after you’re done eating. They make sure their service is on point, to serve as many numbers of customers as possible.

FoodKheema Pav, Mutton Patties, Akuri Pav, Potato Chicken Chop


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