Irani Cafe Case Study

884 Words 4 Pages
The Irani café was gifted to Mumbai by a small group of Iranians who has called the city home since the 19th century. The story goes that the canny immigrants opened up cafés in corner locations that Hindus felt were inauspicious; the cafés thrived, their food calibrated to tempt not just the local Parsis*, Christians, Hindus and Muslims, but sometimes also the British that were stationed in the area. Some cafés had a rather sparse menu -- the century-old Sassanian started out serving only biscuits, sponge cake, brun maska (generously-buttered loaves of crusty bread) and chai. Many dished out Parsi* and Irani food which was supplemented by their in-house bakeries selling bread, cakes and pastry. And almost all of them doubled up as general stores, stocking all manner of provisions such as toothpaste and soaps, along with more Westernised items like canned goods.
The cafés could be seen as harbingers of socio-economic social change in the city. Well up until the late 18th century, strict religious and social codes prevented any sort of mixed
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Of the few that remain, my favourite has long been Café Military in the Fort district of Mumbai. The Fort area was once thick with establishments that catered to the British army and navy, and Café Military was one such. Opened in 1933 by the father of the current owner, Mr Behram Khosravi, the cafe used to be known for its meat-heavy English dishes. A menu from 1935 sits under Mr Khosravi's work-blunted desk, detailing the bestsellers of the time -- 'Delicious Tongue Dishes', 'Tasteful Liver Dishes', 'Light Meals Of Eggs' and 'Cakes, Ices and Puddings', among others. Customers could choose from dishes such as Boiled Tongue, Mutton Roast and Cold Liver and Salad ("Bread and Butter, extra charges", reads the menu). 'Breakfast Dishes' included such delights as Fried Bread, Fried Tomatoes, Bread and Butter, Buttered Toast and Mashed

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