Mumbai's best Parsi meal

Mumbai's best Parsi meal

Crispy, meaty, coconutty, juicy, tangy ... these three restaurants in Fort provide a flavorsome foray into the eclectic cuisine of India's Parsi contingent

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal -- Recommended: Ideal Corner’s mutton cutlet

Ideal Corner's mutton cutletIdeal Corner mutton cutlet -- perfectly spicy.It’s a dish she ate as a child.

"Rediscovering it was great," says Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal, Best Eats judge and food blogger. "It brought back memories of crispy, frilled cutlets and happy days. I love watching the egg white frying to create the flossy crispy frill."

In fact, Parsi's have a fetish for combing eggs with all food groups. 

As Munshaw-Ghildiyal recounts her happy moments, she mentions the cutlet at Ideal Corner.

"The crispy edge, giving way to the spicy mince core, provides a delicious contrast in texture. Spicy, savory, mouthwatering," she says.

12/F/G, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort; +91 (22) 2262 1930. Breakfast: 9-11:30 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday. 

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal -- Recommended: Britannia’s bombil fry

Britannia's bombil fryBritannia's bombil fry is succulent because the juices are sealed inside.Mumbai’s favorite fish, the humble bombil or Bombay duck, has had reams of newsprint devoted to its Malvani or Gomantak avatars. It’s probably because they’re coastal people and this is the most common fish found in the waters around Maharashtra. 

But people forget that Parsis are coastal people, too. Remember they landed on the coast of Gujarat more than a millennia ago? Most of them live in coastal Mumbai now and bombil happens to be their favorite fish.

“The Parsi bombil fry is different because they don’t flatten the fish like the Malvani and Gomantak versions,” says Sanjiv Khamgaonkar, Best Eats judge and food blogger. "This makes it more succulent because all the juices get sealed inside, unlike when it’s flattened."

Mumbai's most famous Parsi restaurant, Britannia, makes an exemplary version. Crisp when you begin, it’s soft when you bite through.

You actually taste the bombil, not the batter it’s fried in.

Wakefield house, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Fort; +91 (22) 2261 5264. Open 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Closed Sunday. 

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal -- Recommended: Jimmy Boy’s saas ni machhi

full bhonu Jimmy BoyGoing the "full bhonu" at Jimmy Boy.“By far the best option for Parsi food is to get invited to a Godiwala-catered Parsi wedding or the Godiwala-catered Pateti dinner at Dadar Parsi colony,” says Best Eats judge Vikram Doctor, journalist and food writer.

Doctor's next choice is saas ni machhi at Jimmy Boy.

“You look at the congealing white sauce and think it’s going to be some vaguely cheesy bland sauce and then it’s anything but," says Doctor, in his frank manner of speaking.

The white and almost tangy sauce goes wonderfully with chapattis.

"Really outstanding," Doctor says.

The “full bhonu" is a meal traditionally served on a banana leaf.

It comes in courses, beginning with pickle and crisps, then chicken farcha, patra ni machhi, saas ni machhi, mutton pulao dal and ends with lagan nu custard.

11 Bank St., Vikas Building, off Horniman Circle, Fort; +91 (22) 2266 2503. Open daily, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

Mumbai’s best Parsi meal -- Winner: Ideal Corner’s patra ni machhi

Ideal Corner's patra ni machhiIdeal Corner's patra ni machhi is best consumed with eyes closed and in silence.“Some of the best patra ni machhi I’ve had in a restaurant is at Ideal Corner,” says Sanjiv Khamgaonkar, Best Eats judge and food blogger.

This motorcycle garage turned cafe's freshly caught pomfret is marinated in a chutney that includes grated coconut, green chilies, fresh coriander and mint leaves, cumin, sugar, lime and salt. It is then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed for about 10 minutes.

“Gently unwrap and consume quietly,” says Khamgaonkar. “Close your eyes and savor the flavor." 

While on the subject of Ideal Corner, Shanky, fellow Best Eats judge and food blogger, adds that its salli boti should also be up for consideration. He loves "that rich, rich mutton topped with crisp salli."

12/F/G, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort; +91 (22) 2262 1930. Breakfast: 9-11:30 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.

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