The other day, I read an article carried out in a local newspaper about a hundred year old Iranian café shutting down business. The café in discussion here is B.Merwan in Mumbai serving foodies since 1914.
I do not feel proud to say, I was not aware about the existence of a heritage café like B. Merwan until I read about its shutting down in the newspapers. But I was quick to recover from my ignorance and I looked up the internet to locate this lovely little Iranian joint.
I have to mention here, anything that is unusual or nearing extinction has always caught my fancy. Iranian restaurants in Mumbai fall under the latter category.
So the weekend that came by, we headed to Merwan for breakfast; of course, after researching that breakfast is their USP. Every dish the cafe put on our table was demolished within minutes. More on that later, let me discuss the ambience first…
Travelling back in time
B.Merwan is located just opposite Grant Road (east) railway station and it is always bustling with crowd. The cafe feels straight out of the 1920s. This is laudable because it has not tried to become someone else over the years. B. Merwan sticks to its basic principle that is pocket friendly delicious food; Nothing more, Nothing less. The café does justice to the term “no frills” restaurant.
The marble table tops and wooden chairs at B. Merwan seem as old as the café itself. Do not expect a waiter to offer you a menu, so you can leisurely decide what you shall order. Chances are, you won’t even find a table for yourself. Mornings at B. Merwan are busy. Visitors often share tables with random strangers who turn out to be like minded foodies present there for the same reason as you are.
Yes! We went there for the famous B.Merwan Mawa cakes. No! We didn’t get the opportunity to taste them because they were sold out even before we arrived.
Nonetheless, our spirits were high and we were optimistic about other items that were going to come our way. Here is what we gorged on:
6 Maska Jam Bread (Maska is butter in the local language)
4 Maska Pao
1 Brun Maska (hard bread with a spread of butter)
1 Caramel custard
1 Mawa puff
8 Irani chai (tea)
How did it all taste, you ask? Gob-smacking delicious!
One of the reasons B. Merwan is popular with the locals is because of its pocket friendly price and unpretentious food. The dent in our pocket was negligible and comfortably under Rs. 300 (Did I mention we were 4 of us?).
Should you visit or SHOULD you visit?
B.Merwan has a special place in the hearts of many (now, including myself). It’s one of those places where you come, sit, eat, watch, experience and let it sink in. It’s like a time machine, taking you back into an era gone by.
Too bad it may shut down sometime in March 2014, but there are also speculations that it may be for renovation. Who knows? Wait and watch. (UPDATE: B.Merwan is still open to patrons. They had temporarily shut down for renovation. So go… EAT!)
And here’s a pic of the famous Mawa cakes from B.Merwan to have you yearning… (I bought home a dozen of these in the week that followed).
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