#942 Visiting an Irani restaurant

Maska pav, khima pav, omlet pav, cake, pudding and a Pani kam chai. No prizes for guessing where this menu belongs. Yes its either Kohinoor restaurant or Jimmy Boy or cafe Paradise or any other Irani restaurants with their wodden chairs.

In the late 19th and early 20th century many Iranians migrated to Mumbai. As they had no money they worked in Parsi homes and later met in evenings to discuss the country they left behind. One day one of the men made tea for them all and also charged them for it. This can be called the first Irani café. This idea grew and many corner plots of Mumbai which were not used by Hindus as it was inauspicious according to I don’t know which shastra were leased to the Iranis. With many migrants coming to Mumbai esp to work in mills and who wanted such food joints , Irani restaurants boomed. Irani cafes became sites for cosmopolitan experience. They were pioneering eating houses. The cafes broke down social barriers and religious taboos to become an important part of the city’s public life. Even today, in some Irani cafes you can see a corporate executive, a sex worker and probably even a beggar at the same time.

The three stars and five stars may have their own place, but visiting an Irani Restaurant is …alittleBIGthing 🙂


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