Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of Brun and Bun Maska

There is more to Bombay's breads than the pao that goes into pao bhaji and vada pao. There's Brun. and there's bun. We will get there. First, you have to get to know the city's Parsis. And Iranis, who are also Zoroastrians, but came to city a little later, in the late 19th or early 20th century. And when they came, they brought with them these little cafes that dot the city.

I am no expert on Irani chai cafes. And I can't tell you whether Yazdani Bakery will provide you the best experience or Kyani's. But I can tell you a few things you need to ignore when you get there. Appearances don't matter; so ignore the fact that the marble/glass top tables and the wooden chairs look a bit dilapidated. Also ignore the rundown look the place sports.

Instead, get yourself settled. And order a bun muska. This one's familiar to you as a first cousin of the soft hamburger bun. It's similar, but just a tad bit sweeter. Maska, of course, is the generous dollop of butter that dots your bun. Now order a brun - the closest match I can think of is a crusty french roll that's soft like a cloud once you bite into it. Finally, order a chai - the sweet, milky tea that's a perfect match to both the breads.

You can get your brun fix even if you don't want to go to a cafe. Drop into City Bakery, the famous Worli landmark. Chances are you will have to jostle to get to the counter, and no one is going to let you linger. But for very few rupees, you can get your bun or brun to take home. You can also get other relatively fancy stuff, but that's not why you are here. Get brun, for that's what legends are made of.

13 comments:

Bharti said...

Never tried a brun Simran. I will for sure, the next time I visit Mumbai, whenever that shall be.

Sunshinemom said...

How odd!! I have been to Kyani's and all those Irani Cafe's so many times but I always stuck to their puddings and walnut loaves/cakes! I have had the sweet buns too, and chai of course but never the brun!!

I like the ambiance there despite the dilapidated state. Kyani's looks as though it is an ancient relic:). The aroma is so enticing, and the typical Parsi accent you get to hear is music itself!! Used to frequent once a week when I worked in VT!

Varunavi said...

thanx for the comment.Here we get Maska slice in malabri rest.It is a sandwich of lots of butter and jam,my kids just love it....

Alka said...

I always believe that best tasting food(and no i am not talking about the best quality of ingredients )is always available in some HOLE IN WALL places,and not in fine dine restaurants,forget about the ambiance ,i am from that clan of people who would happily gorge on street food without worrying about whether or not bisleri is used for cooking..lolz
Well the place where my maternal family reside(chembur)have many parsis in the locality and they are such fun loving people,and not to forget their buns ofcourse,the only restaurant open at the odd hours in morning(9-10 AM...lolz)at CST are the Irani ones and after travelling till CST,the only thing one craves for is the chai and maska pao in early morning hours..Heaven...

notyet100 said...

never knw about Brun,...

Madhumathi said...

This is the first time I'm hearing about brun and I feeling like trying it..

bindiya said...

bun maska is no doubt delicious, but have yet to come across brun...

Usha said...

I have yet to try the brun, will definitely do so on my next visit to Bombay :-)

delhibelle said...

I lived in bombay for a while and never tried brun....guess my mumbai experience is incomplete, will try it at the next available opportunity. Lovely post

Curry Leaf said...

Loved the post,I can imagine (and love )the way you describe the place or Mumbai in general.I think you are already in love with Mumbai and its varied cuisine,but I thght you were from Delhi?

rekhas kitchen said...

ooohhoo here one more bun ohh sory brun varietie never know about this yes but i have bun muska once i just loved it with chai good info will try next time

Aparna said...

I love Irani chai. There's just nothing to beat it.

Anonymous said...

Brun - is the crusty topped round bread baked in the Goan bakeries of my childhood - 50's thru the 60's. Delivery guys on bicycles used to bring them to our house every morning - and along with POLSON butter, it was the best thing to eat for breakfast. I've tried to find this bread in Bombay when I was last there in '06 but nobody seems to make it. Oh well, somethings are better left to memory.