Irani Cafes in some cities of India are legends. My first exposure to one was in Hyderabad way back in 1958 to a still running one called The Bombay Bakery on Abid Road. I met my brothers in law and some other very dear friends there. It was a place for salesmen to meet for tea before embarking on daily rounds and for bachelors staying alone like me to have breakfast too.
Subsequently, I have been to many Irani Cafes in Mumbai and some in Pune too and the last visit to one was some two decades ago in Pune to one called Good Luck Cafe.
So, when a restaurant called Irani Cafe which already functions at another suburb close to ours, opened a branch just 100 Mts away from my home, I was quite thrilled and looked forward to visiting it many times. Ranjan and Manjiree, being the foodies and dinner eaters, whereas I am not, had already been there for dinner on two occasions and were full of praise. So, today when they offered to treat me to lunch there, I jumped at the offer and had a memorable time reminiscing about the old Irani Restaurants that I used to frequent.
I was zapped at the entrance itself. One look at the interiors and I was back in 1958. The small square tables with typical Irani Cafe Chairs, red and white gingham checked table cloth under a glass top a shelf and counter selling bakery products, soft drinks etc and the general bustle of a typical Irani Cafe. And icing on the cake was a classic samovar too at the entrance!
Here are two teasers as it were, to tell something about the cafe. Their rules and one page of their menu. Please click on the images to get larger resolutions.
Being a vegetarian, I ordered a plate of Cottage Cheese and Berry Pulao.
The children had Mutton Biriyani and most of the vegetarian fare as I couldn’t have it all.
For dessert I had Black Forest Pastry and the children had Mango Cheese Cakes of different shapes with some helpings to me too.
And to finish it all off for old times’ sake, I ordered for Irani Chai in a glass.
And to welcome all customers with a smile and good cheer one of the partners Ameer. I had asked the other partner Mukhtar where he sourced the berries from and much to my disappointment he said that every time someone came from Iran, s/he would get berries which would then be refrigerated by them for regular use.
My dear friends Sandeep and Deepali are visiting and have already decided to take me to lunch at Irani Cafe on Wednesday and I am sure that there will be many more such occasions from now on.
For all my friends in Pune, I recommend Irani Cafe Kalyani Nagar for great food and nostalgia.