A Guide to Mumbai’s Iconic Irani Cafes

A Guide to Mumbai’s Iconic Irani Cafes
Bun maska and chai are synonymous with Irani cafes, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In a city that’s rapidly on the move, these nostalgic cafes put you at ease the minute you set foot in any one of them

Roshni Subramanian
March 24 , 2021
11 Min Read

Mumbai has been a melting pot of cultures since time immemorial. The aroma of filter coffee in Matunga’s Cafe Madras to the piping hot Sindhi kadhi in Ulhasnagar, the financial capital has got it all. The city has managed to withstand calamities and terror attacks and emerged victorious every time. The only constant throughout the ups and downs are the Parsi cafes that boast a legacy of more than 100 years. Here’s a guide to Mumbai’s timeless Irani cafes that offer authentic Parsi fare.

Kyani & Co., Marine Lines

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The oldest and the most well known among the Parsi cafes is Kyani & Co, which has been serving the bustling Mumbai crowd for more than a century. Established in 1904 by Khodram Marezaban, Kyani & Co is currently run by Farokh Shokri, son of Aflatoon Shokri whose portrait still adorns the wall of their humble abode. Having served some of the biggest names in arts and cinema, this bakery has a rustic look and takes pride in its minimalism and affordability.

Must Try: Irani chai, kheema pav, cheese omelette, cream puffs

Britannia and Co., Fort

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Started by Roshan Kohinoor during the pre-independence era, Britannia today is run and managed by the third generation of the Kohinoor family. This quaint little place is responsible for putting the famous Berry Pulav on the world map. Credit for the recipe goes to Bachan Kohinoor, wife of the late Boman Kohinoor, who inherited the business from his father. Though a little more expensive than its counterparts, Britannia’s patrons count on it for rasberry soda and salli boti.

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Must Try: Berry pulao, caramel custard, rasberry soda.

B Merwan & Co.,  Grant Road

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Another cafe that boasts of century old lineage is B Merwan & Co. Named after Boman Merwan, it is located just outside the Grant Road Station. Serving customers their trademark bun maska, chai and fragrant mawa cakes, this bakery is difficult to miss. This little joint has retained its old world charm and sends you on a trip down memory lane. The billing counter is usually loaded with jars of confectionaries and cakes that you don’t want to miss out on. So, try to get there before 9am.

Must Try: Mawa cake, elaichi chai, akuri

Sassanian Boulangarie, Marine Lines

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Sassanian Boulangarie is everything that a dictionary definition of an Iranian Cafe would entail - bun maska, chai and a jovial bespectacled man at the counter. Started in 1913 by Rustom Yazdabadi, it was taken over by Khodabad M Kola in 1947. Sassanian was started by selling simple, basic stuff like tea, cakes and biscuits and eventually expanded into a departmental store. However, in 1960 they stopped selling grocery items and developed into a full – fledged cafe.

Must Try: Dhansak, salli chicken, lagan nu custard

Yazdani, Fort

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If you don’t mind sharing a table with a stranger, then Yazdani just might be the perfect hangout spot for you. With the smell of freshly baked goodness overpowering your senses, Yazdani bakery is exactly what my idea of paradise is. For the first three decades, Yazdani served dhansak, dal rice, keema pav and biryani but in 1980’s they shifted their focus on being a full time bakery. One of those rare places that still sell ginger biscuits, a visit to Yazdani is an experience that should be cherished for as long as possible.  

Must Try: Brun maska pav, egg puff, apple pie

Jimmy Boy, Fort

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Ask any Parsi and they’ll undoubtedly say that there’s nothing that can top authentic home cooked Parsi meal. A place that slightly comes close to the real deal is Jimmy Boy. It has earned a reputation for itself over the years by serving a true parsi feast. The lagan nu bhonu or the wedding thali which is a seven course meal truly showcases the best of Parsi cuisine. From patra ni macchi to mutton and chicken dhansak to the jardaloo salli boti, this cafe also has an a la carte menu as well.

Must Try: Chicken farcha, patra ni machhi

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