Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Lounge review: Café Irani Chaii, Mumbai

Hot on the heels of SodaBottleOpenerWala’s debut in Mumbai comes Café Irani Chaii, a simulacrum of an Irani café, down to its chequered tablecloths, bentwood chairs and contented cats purring on the steps. The two “i"s symbolize the relationship between Iran and India.

The good stuff

The menu is brief and unfussy, and most of it is taken up by bread and egg items. Some of the dishes were not available when we visited, including the Iranian seeni kebab that we wanted to try, berry pulao and dhansak. Oddly, they were all listed on the menu under the heading “Soon to be introduced". We were told that these would be introduced a few days later. Perhaps they will print a fresh menu then?

Instead, we were offered two kinds of white biryani—chicken ( 150) and mutton ( 170). We ordered both. Two heaped platefuls of colourful orange and white rice appeared. The rice was light and fluffy, with heaps of flavour, and mine had half a potato reposing on top. The meat was succulent and tender, but, unfortunately, the pieces were few and we had to scramble to find three bony ones. The biryanis were flavoured with the sort of spice that sears your throat after a few mouthfuls. I, of ample appetite, found one plate inadequate, but my dining companion finished his with difficulty.

We quenched the spiciness of the biryanis with two katoris (bowls) of thick onion raita. As for the drinks, my companion ordered the overly sweet Pallonji’s raspberry soda ( 25), which I (forewarned by earlier meals) eschewed. Instead, I ordered a Pallonji soda ( 15), which tasted a bit like ice-cream soda and proved to be an excellent complement for the biryani. Pallonji’s ice-cream soda, Pallonji’s ginger soda and Pallonji’s jeera masala soda are on the menu.

The chicken pattice ( 35) had a light, flaky shell giving way to a rather frugal filling. I was quickly mollified, though, by the arrival of the Irani chai, not very stridently flavoured, but a creamy, milky cup of tea.

The not-so-good

For dessert, we ordered the custard ( 25) in its little tinfoil home—it was properly eggy, but had collapsed in the centre. Our mawa cakes ( 25) were dense, dry and lacking in flavour. “Such piffle. They don’t hold a candle to my favourites at the bakery B.Merwan," huffed my companion. The service was prompt, but the young waiter was flummoxed when we asked him to explain something on the menu (this was kuku, which Google tells me is some sort of Persian eggy, herby-baked vegetable). Of course, this is a café in its infancy; the menu itself says, “Give us some time to serve you better."

Talk plastic

The pricing begins at 15 for a soda and goes up to 25 for brun maska, while the egg dishes range from 30-70, depending on whether you order single or double eggs. The mains start at 150. At 200, the berry (zereshk) pulao and the seeni kebab are the most expensive items on the menu. We paid 496 for two.

ShopNo.9, Rosary Chawl, Mangreesh Premises, MMC Road, Mahim (West). For reservations, call 022-24455577/24455579.

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