Wednesday, December 28, 2016

On the Sodabottleopnerwala #DadarParsiTrail with Kalyan Karmakar

I hate BKC with its glass facades. I am a Colaba and Fort girl after all but walking into this restaurant I feel totally at home with all its quirky artifacts and notice boards. There are very few well maintained Irani cafes left in Mumbai and these guys are doing a great job of reviving that golden era of the Irani cafes.

Its been long since I've been reading Mohit Balachandran's fascinating blog Chowder Singh and I got to meet him in person last Sunday. He and his team had organized the #DadarParsiTrail with Kalyan of Mohit calls himself the head Masalchi of Sodabottleopnerwala, so he was there to take care of us all through the trail.

We began the day by trying the new breakfast menu introduced at the restaurant. There was a range of egg omelettes that everyone was trying. The Parsi style poro in standard form, the angry poro with notched up heat and the meaty poro with crisp bacon bits. I being a vegetarian opted for the Mawa cake and since Christmas was around the corner we were coaxed to eat some plum cake. The angry poro and the meaty poro was appreciated at the table but the standard one could have been better was what I heard. The plum cake was dry so I requested for an orange juice to swallow it down. They bake inhouse, the paos both naram and kadak were fresh and made everyone happy. 

As we looked around, that is the bar you see in the picture below. The tables in the middle area are surrounded by round backed chairs unlike the Belgian straight back chairs that characterized the Mumbai's Irani cafe's of the yore. Those bentwood chairs meant business, eat and go. You could never really relax in those chairs. Sodabottleopnerwala corrects that.

In all its quirkiness, the black boards and notices the one that inspired Nissim Ezekiel to write a poem adorn the walls.

Oh yes you can buy the bakes over the counter right at the end.

Every corner of the restaurant is packed with quirky artefacts.  After some random clicks. We got out for some pics and a kick-start to the trail that we were there for. Kalyan's book "The Travelling Belly" was unveiled to the group and we wished him success!

Later Kalyan's MIL shared her recipe for Parsi poro since the variety of Pora are the theme in the restaurant's breakfast menu. After which we got on to a mini bus and were driven to Dadar.

Our first stop was at the Cafe Colony, it might confuse people who are not familiar with the geography. The colony it refers to is the Hindu Colony. This cafe is at the end of the Hindu colony road that touches the Tilak bridge. Its an Irani chai place that has its own bakery and also doubles up as a provision store. The non vegetarians had chicken curry and kheema ghotala with lovely large n soft paos. While a few others who like me were vegetarians opted for Irani milky chai and bun maska which was excellent, definitely didn't want to be eating dal and pao. Aga and Mirza the father son duo insisted we taste the mawa cake and everyone agreed unanimously that it was quite good, infact better here.

Next we crossed over to the other side of the road to the Parsi dairy outlet and got to taste the rose lassi, it was mildly rose flavored probably with Kalvert's syrup or was it Rooh Afza? but was lovely. The lassi being a full fat one as is expected of Parsi Dairy farm and its rich tradition had a slight tang and was quite possible to get a mooch if you decided to indulge. The famous milk drops were quickly pocketed by everyone for later. Some people sampled the Kulfi too, I gave it a skip.

Here's me telling my memories of the Mawa ni Boi that made for my cousin's unusual birthday cake every year.

On the way to the Parsi colony and my backyard I narrated the history of Perviz Hall and my family connection to it on Kalyan's request. May be I should do a separate post on it. Unfortunately it was already past 2 pm and it was closed. However I am sure the trail participants got introduced to the place for Parsi tea time snacks and now that they know the location will go back there when they can to buy the goodies.

Our trail culminated at Zinobia Schroff's home for a lunch sponsored by Sodabottleopnerwala. We were welcomed with a ginger lemon squash and happy squeals followed on smelling kavabs being fried. Zee's cooking is healthy and flavorful. I loved the veg Dhansak and pattice served along with fresh kachumber and lagan nu achaar. There was chicken dhansak and chicken kavabs for the non vegetarians. There was ravo in takeaway boxes for dessert, I am not a fan of ravo so carried it home for the husband.

Finally after thanking Mohit and Kalyan for the lovely experience we parted ways laden with take home gifts from the restaurant.

That evening I dipped the Khari in milky ginger tea and enjoyed at home with my husband. The box also had assorted 'pepes' kissme, melody, poppins that delighted the child in me as well as AC. The wrapped plum cake that we returned with was a little more moist and we liked it.

Reminiscing about a day well enjoyed with old blogger buddies and new friends.


  1. Very nice post Anjali. What is Ravo?

    1. Ravo is Parsi style rava made with where fine semolina. The consistency is somewhere between a kheer and sheera. Its not roasted like in the Maharashtrian sheera but kept white.


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