Lounge reviews4 min read . Updated: 17 Feb 2012, 08:17 PM IST
“Stocks available till Parsis last" is the promise that Jumjoji—Mumbai’s latest Parsi eatery—makes.
It’s quite unlike some of its more illustrious peers, where the dhansakh could get over before the clock strikes 2 in the afternoon. There’s something else that sets Jumjoji apart from all the other Parsi eateries: It’s in Bandra, a suburb, unlike most that are in south Mumbai.
Jumjoji is Gujarati for “please eat heartily" and is co-owned by Boman Irani, a businessman, who comes from the diminishing Parsi-Irani community of Dahanu, a small town on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border more popular for its chikkoo (sapota) farms. Irani says the restaurant handpicked people from a hotel management institute at Khopoli, who were then sent to the kitchens of some of his relatives to learn the fine art of home-made Parsi food. But he clarifies it has nothing to do with the names on the menu—Piroja Irani’s Chicken Sticks, Freni Aunty’s Mutton Dhansakh and Pari Batliwala’s Chicken Kebabs are just made-up names.
The good stuff
It makes a great first impression with a cleverly worded menu—“Rarely will one come across a vegetarian Parsi, like a teetotaller Parsi or a below-the-poverty-line Parsi" or “vegetarian dhansakh that uses a legal substitute for mutton" or “for Parsi eccentricities, sugar on request".
Fortunately, the food tastes refreshingly, though subtly, different from the standard Parsi fare available in the city while still retaining some traditional qualities. While Zenobia Satarawala’s Chicken Cheese and Onion Sausage (Rs 180) provides a gentle start, Jumjoji passes the test with the mutton dhansakh itself. Accompanied with aromatic brown rice, the thick gravy is rich in flavour without being overwhelming though the mutton itself could be better.
The patra-ni-machi (steamed fish smeared with chutney and wrapped in banana leaf, ₹ 450) is delightful, while the mutton kheema (served with pav, not sliced bread, ₹ 190) is richer and spicier than at most Irani restaurants.
The portions are generous—most dishes can be shared by two people, unless they have a wrestler’s appetite. And yes, they do serve that Parsi staple—the syrupy fizzy Raspberry drink—besides wine.
The large wall projection of television is unnecessary, considering this venue will not be the football fan’s first choice on a match night. There were too few pieces of mutton in the dhansakh while the patra-ni-machhi is a really small piece of fish. Parsi food fans will also miss the chapati. The lagan-nu-custard (Rs 110), packed with cinnamon essence and pista, is again a deviation from the wobbly, familiar version. It might be a bit too sweet for some.
Considering Jumjoji scales up the Irani dining experience, it offers value for money with some dishes. Wine cocktails come at ₹ 225, while imported wine costs ₹ 440 and upwards a glass. Farida’s Vegetarian Dhansakh is ₹ 210, Chicken Sali, ₹ 240, Akuri, ₹ 90, and Gul Shiavaksha’s Veg Pulao costs ₹ 210. A wholesome meal for one without alcohol will come to ₹ 500 on an average, including taxes.
Jumjoji, No. 4, Ankleshwar Building, ONGC Colony, near Lilavati Hospital, Bandra Reclamation, Mumbai.
Diva Piccola, New Delhi
The fifth restaurant by Ritu Dalmia (the third Diva eatery though), this one christened Diva Piccola, or “baby diva", opened last week in Delhi’s hottest foodie haven, Hauz Khas Village. We had heard last year that Dalmia had been scouting around the bylanes of the village to set up this eatery. The small, 25 covers, “no fuss, Italian home-cooked-style food" eatery is located in the same lane as Delhi’s legendary gym Power House.
The good stuff
The menu is a delight for vegetarians. Six of the eight starters, five of the eight pastas and three of the five paninis are vegetarian.
The baked cheese cake was delicious as was the berry compote with the panna cotta. It was freshly made, with a slight tangy taste. The panna cotta was not rubbery in texture and mildly sweet—just the way we like it.
Yes, this is a small place, but does the menu have to be this mini? Why transport a drinks menu from a café-style eatery to an Italian eatery? For heaven’s sake, “Old-fashioned Lassi" is not an accompaniment for pizza or pasta. Ask us, we tried it. The manager should avoid recommending it because this watery version is no match to the old-fashioned lassi available in sweetshops across the city.
Out of the seven pieces in the ravioli dish, two had almost no stuffing while the rest had a stingy portion. When we pointed this out to our server, the manager apologized, saying the stuffing unfortunately “slipped out" when the ravioli was put in water to be cooked!
All desserts start at ₹ 270. The Margharita pizza is for ₹ 380, while the Ravioli is for ₹ 430 (taxes and service charges extra). A meal for two (without alcohol) plus a child cost us ₹ 2,697.
Diva Piccola, first floor, 30, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi.