“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” – Mark Kurlansky
Parsis, the descendants of Zoroastrians, fled Iran during the Arab invasion in the 17th century and eventually settled along the west coast of India. Their distinct cuisine primarily consisting of non-vegetarian dishes as well as a large variety of vegetarian dishes; all have a blend of Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Iranian and British flavours. Parsi food is thus, mildly spiced and strikes the perfect balance between sweet and sour, called ‘Khattu mithu’.
Located on the ground floor in Viviana mall, Thane, the bright hoarding gleams in white above the glass walled entrance. The decor is very classy with high ceiling, mirrors lined up high on certain walls to give a feeling of spaciousness, some rules chalked out on one black board and some bawa jokes on another, some antiques used for styling the interiors, the red and white chequered table cloths, the glass table tops, black wooden chairs, the large bar counter on the other end of the dining hall and another counter displaying freshly baked goodness on the other side. The place is adequately lit, courtesy the table lamps hung from the high ceiling and the music is upbeat.
While BAJIRAO MASTANI was tangy, mildly sweet, citrusy and slightly bitter with a vibrant tropical flavour that balanced the sweetness and tartness and the SEKANJE BIN was a humble and coolant drink letting out freshness in every sip; the MRS. SODABOTTLEOPENERWALA SPL COLD COFFEE tasted similar to the cold coffee that I have had else where.
CHICKEN BAIDA ROTI was a thick, street styled paratha with a crisp shallow fried exterior stuffed so generously with tender, juicy and mildly spicy preparation of minced chicken and eggs.
CHICKEN FARCHA was a Parsi version of the American fried chicken, comprising of juicy and succulent boneless chicken meat with a crispy fried exterior giving out faintly spicy yet lip smacking flavours, courtesy the well imbibed marinade containing a special blend of subtle Parsi spices.
TARELI MACCHI served here was a baked version of the the traditionally fried Parsi style fish preparation. Though baking failed to impart the fish some smoky notes, the marinade being a light blend of simple spices, imparted the juicy and tender fish meat an absolutely flavourful blend of sweet, tangy, spicy and faintly sour notes.
BOHRI KHEEMA PAV was again a very mildly spiced but flavourful preparation of moist, juicy and tender mutton kheema served with pav or indian bread.
SALLI MUTTON was a Parsi styled mutton curry containing succulent mutton chunks that quite easily separated off the bone. While the flavour of the mutton struck a perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy notes, the curry missed out on the spices with the characteristic tanginess of the tomatoes overpowering the rest of the flavours, thereby completely missing out on the versatile flavours that this dish is supposed to offer. The crispy fried and thin potato salli that it was garnished with, added a slight crunch in every bite.
PARSI MUTTON MASALA ROAST was another tangy and mildly spicy preparation of succulent and tender roasted mutton tossed in a mild Parsi styled masala along with onions imparting their characteristic borderline sweetness.
MUTTON BERRY PULAO comprised of succulent and juicy mutton chunks cooked with fragrant rice, topped with fried onions, nuts and berries. The heat imparted by the spices mingled with the sweetness of Iranian berries and the caramelized onions, releasing an unique array of flavours with sweetness slightly overpowering the rest.
DESSERTS & BAKES:
NAAN KHATAI or the slow baked indian shortbread biscuits served here had a grainy yet crispy texture with a slightly crumbled or cracked exterior and were an absolute delight to taste.
SHREWSBURY BISCUITS were thin, light, hard, crisp and buttery classic English cookies that gave out a wonderful crunchy snap when broken into bite sized pieces while, the GINGER BISCUITS were even thinner and crispier with an amazingly pleasant and mild ginger-y flavour.
LAGAN NU CUSTARD or the baked Parsi wedding custard served here was an absolutely rich,luscious and creamy smooth yet firm custard with a thin layer of vanilla-tinged caramel flavoured with nutmeg and cardamom on top.
APPLE CRUMBLE WITH CUSTARD comprised of a crispy, buttery, sweet and warm classic apple pie with a wonderfully tart after taste. The glossy, thick and sweet vanilla custard served alongside, imparted some more moisture to the relatively grainy and dry apple crumble.
MAWA CAKE was adequately soft, fluffy, smooth, buttery, rich and hearty to taste in all it’s simplicity.
Our meal here ended with the following goodies:
The service was extremely warm, welcoming, kind and hospitable. The attendants are very cheerful but some of them lack confidence and communication skills and even tend to mix up orders. Mr. Jagdish, our attendant for the evening, was very efficient and also ensured time and again that we are having a good time.
Food quality – 4/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to their pre-launch food tasting event.)