[This post is not a food or restaurant review, and has not been commissioned either. It is a place I have eaten at and fallen in love with, at times for the food, at times for the ambience, and often for both. And like me, countless others have been smitten by it too. Such, that it is today part of the very fabric of Bombay’s history and culture.]
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Ninety-three year old Boman Kohinoor comes to our table to take our order. Charming, suave and gentle, he is the owner of Britannia and Company, a Parsi restaurant founded by his father, Rashid Kohinoor, in 1923. His son, Romin, is the chef.
Britannia and Company has remained virtually unchanged from when it was set up 92 years ago. The peeling paint, crystal chandeliers and Polish Bentwood furniture within are evocative of another era; the Iranian flag draped across the side wall a proud acknowledgement of the restaurant’s heritage.
It would be fair to say that the restaurant is driven by emotion rather than profit. The nominally priced meals could easily go for small fortunes apiece, taking the restaurant’s global repute and heritage into consideration, but the Kohinoors are happy selling them for a few hundred Rupees instead.
The family-owned eatery on a quiet street in colonial Ballard Estate opens only for fours every day to a packed house and long queues. If you are not eating you have to leave. Its patrons come from far and wide, from the office crowd in the Fort District to Parsi NRIs on holiday yearning for a taste of home.
I am charmed, to say the least. 🙂
Address: Britannia and Company, Wakefield House 11, Opposite New Custom House, Near Grand Hotel, Sprott Road 16, Ballard Estate, Mumbai
Timings: 11:30 am – 15:30 pm; Closed on Sundays
Payment: Cash only
My favourites: Berry Pulav, Britannia and Company’s signature dish (Rs. 300 – Rs. 450), Caramel Custard (Rs. 120), Rosy Raspberry. The barberries are to date imported from Iran.
Home delivery service is available, but eating sit-in is an experience you don’t want to miss.
Britannia and Company was set up in 1923 by Rashid Kohinoor, a Zoroastrian immigrant from Iran. Now run by the founder’s third generation, nothing much has changed since then
The eatery’s chicken berry pulav—to die for! with barberries imported from Iran
The caramel custard—to fall in love with life all over again for 🙂