HFC – Heavenly Fried Chicken!

Dorabjee & Sons

I have just discovered a new (for me) culinary delight!

On the second day of my drive from Bangalore to Mumbai we decided to stop in Pune for lunch. The Boss was having flashbacks to her childhood memories of Chicken Biryani at an Iranian Restaurant called Dorabjee & Sons. Reluctant at first to leave the bypass and head into the city, The Boss’s winsome tones finally won me over and entering the restaurant name in the GPS we plunged into the chaotic traffic heading towards the center of Pune. I was cursing under my breath as the destination was 14kms from the bypass, but The Boss reassured me that it would be worth it.

Dorabjee & Sons
45 mins later and many close calls with errant two wheelers later we pulled into a quiet lane in the old Parsee area of Pune. The streets were still lined with lovely old buildings with shuttered windows, a pleasant change to the usual concrete boxes that have sprung up in modern times.

Dorabjee & Sons

Dorabjee & Sons is a little single story place established back in 1878 by the present owner’s great grandfather. Basically furnished inside with tiled walls and red plastic chairs the place isn’t very fancy, however it is famous for it’s food and my in-laws have visited many times over the years, each time they visited Pune.

I looked at the menu and all the usual suspects where there: Mutton and Chicken Cutlets, Biryanis, Sali Boti etc. however I spotted something I had not eaten before. Chicken Farcha. The waiter explained that it was chicken fried in egg, two of my most favorite things so I thought I would give it a try.

Mutton Cutlet, Chicken Masala, and the heavenly Chicken Farcha

Mutton Cutlet, Chicken Masala, and the heavenly Chicken Farcha

The plate arrived and I tucked in. Fantastic! The best fried chicken I have ever had. The chicken is marinated in, depending on the recipe, but usually ginger/garlic paste, lemon juice and chili powder, then dipped in beaten egg and deep-fried. It is heavenly! I rapidly ordered another plate and could quite happily have sat there all afternoon eating piece after piece until I couldn’t fit any more in! The best fried chicken I have ever had!

Mutton Cutlet, Chicken Masala, and the heavenly Chicken Farcha

Mutton Cutlet, Chicken Masala, and the heavenly Chicken Farcha

If you ever find yourself in Pune, definitely pay a visit to Dorabjee’s and make sure you get a plate of Chicken Farcha!

The Bill

The Bill

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Britannia Rules!

One of my favourite restaurants to visit when I am in Mumbai is the Britannia Café, an Iranian Cafe located in the Ballard Estate area of Mumbai.

Britannia Cafe

Britannia Cafe

It was founded by Rashid Kohinoor in 1923, the same year the current owner, his son Boman, was born.
Now 90 years old, but with the energy of a 20 year old, Boman Kohinoor still waits on tables, taking the orders and cracking jokes constantly. I was very impressed with his knowledge of current New Zealand politics, especially as many Indians I meet confuse New Zealand with Switzerland. I am very happy he didn’t complement me on my country’s chocolate and start quizzing me about pocket knives!
Irani Cafes were originally opened by Zoroastrian Iranians when they arrived in India in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Mumbai was the most popular destination as it was an established trading centre. The Iranians chose to work for the established Parsi community (who first arrived from Iran over 1000 years previously) and gradually opened up small restaurants.
Typically these were often found on corners because when they started coming to Mumbai, most of the corner premises were vacant as many Indians would not take the corner believing that it was very unlucky for them. So the Iranis started renting them and found the corners good for business.
Iranian cafés used to be numerous and popular. In the 40s, 50s and 60s there were about three to four hundred Irani restaurants, bakeries, stores in Mumbai, but they are slowly diminishing, and now maybe only about twenty, thirty Irani restaurants are left today.

Britannia & Co

Britannia & Co

Despite the crumbling walls and dated décor Britannia continues to do thriving business as the food is excellent. Enough to motivate the Boss and I to drive in for over an hour from the suburbs just to have lunch!

Britannia Interior

Britannia Interior

Britannia is famous for it’s “Chicken or Mutton Berry Pulao”, a rice dish garnished with cashew nuts and little red berries. The berries are from the Berberis vulgaris plant, known more commonly as Zureshk , which grows in the wild in much of Europe and West Asia. Rich in vitamin C, and with a sweet and sour flavour they are used frequently in Iran as a flavouring for rice dishes and poultry.

Chicken Berry Pulao

Chicken Berry Pulao

We ordered a plate of each, and then a third as it was consumed in no time.
We also ordered Bombay Duck (not a duck but a very tasty local fish battered and fried)

Bombay Duck

Bombay Duck

Sali Chicken

Sali Chicken

Sali Chicken

And Chicken cutlet

Chicken Cutlet

Chicken Cutlet

Each dish I ate seemed to make my tape worm more and more ravenous so I ordered a plate of Egg Masala to top everything off.

Egg Masala

Egg Masala

Finally having sated the seemingly unsatiable appetite of the tapeworm we finished with Caramel Custard, Chocolate mousse and Mishti Doi , a sweet yoghurt.

Caramel Custard, Chocolate Mousse, Mishti Doi

Caramel Custard, Chocolate Mousse, Mishti Doi

All the food was excellent and coupled with the slightly eccentric setting made for a very enjoyable lunch. One thing I have noticed with Parsi and Iranian Restaurants is that they don’t seem to eat any vegetables. However the sprightly 90-year-old owner seems to disprove the rule that eating veges is a must for good health!
Britannia Café is only open from 12p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. If you ever find yourself in Mumbai make sure you make a visit and do so soon as places like this are fast disappearing.

Britannia Rules!

Britannia Rules!

Britannia’s slogan is “There is no love greater than the love of eating”, which should be my life’s motto! (Apart of course from my love of the Boss! ……… better add that before she thumps me!)

Britannia Slogan

Britannia Slogan

Pic Courtesy Unlisted Sightings

A Small Big City!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joezach/

Parsi Bakery

Mumbai always amazes me in that despite it’s official population of 18.5 million (unofficially much more) it still can be quite small.
Yesterday evening, heeding the commands of the Boss’s rumbling stomach (her tape worm being just as demanding as mine); we headed down to Andheri, one of Mumbai’s western suburbs, about 12 kms from where we are currently staying, to visit a famous Parsi Bakery. Parsees being the Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran who migrated to India around the 8th or 10th century AD and known for running nice bakeries.
A couple of hours later when back home, stomachs full of chicken and mutton patties, the Boss got a message on Facebook from her ex Mumbai school friend who now lives in Singapore. “Were you in Andheri around 7 o’clock this evening?” she asked. “My brother said he saw you crossing the road”!!

Photo by:  JimReeves