Saturday, October 16, 2010

Have we talked about Cafe Britannia Yet

There are several reasons why Cafe Britannia doesn't automatically figure as my first pick of restaurants to talk about in Mumbai

1. They are tucked away in a corner of Ballard Estate, a rather long way from home.

2. They are open only for lunch; and they refuse to serve even that on sundays. Yes, on sundays they just stay at home!

3. They aren't big on service. As soon as you settle down in the ancient chairs set around checkered clothed, glass topped tables, they'd rather you order quickly from the small menu set below the glass. The food will show up quickly too, and then the menu clearly orders "Do not stay after you have paid the bill".

4. They don't believe in newfangled things like credit cards.

And yet, I knew we'd eventually get around to talking about this charming Parsi eatery. All for one reason : Berry Pulao. If you are a carnivore, you have parsi specialities like salli boti, patra fish and dhansak to pick from. But for a vegetarian, you only go to Britannia for one reason.

So what's berry pulao? It's rice cooked with vegatables, obviously. There's beans and peas and potatoes (and no carrots, thankfully!). But what makes is special is the tangy little Iranian berries that top the pulao and give it its name. Accompanying the berries are crisp, fried onions of the sort that you will find on the best of biryanis.

To go with your pulao, order the insanely sweet, dark pink raspberry soda. And finish off your meal with an impeccable caramel custard.

2 comments:

Ann said...

You will be paid in GOLD if you could ever get the recipe from them. I even sourced where I can get those Persian berries (zarouschk? from). The BBC ran a delightful story on Brittania, and they even had the 80+ year old proprietor interviewed as well. if I ever make it to mumbai for something other than a measly layover, this restaurant is very high up on my palces to visit and savor!

Aparna said...

I love eateries like these, because whatever their drawbacks, you know that the food will be stellar.