On the days we crave for some comfort food but want it to be easy on our pockets, SodaBottleOpenerWala is something we unanimously agree upon. This Parsi café not only brings delectable food choices to the plate, the warm and inviting atmosphere of this place also draws you to it time and again. Red and white checkered tablecloth, round tables, classic bentwood chairs, walls adorned with black and white photos in gilded golden frames, showcasing their ancestral past and rendezvous with princes and maharajas, every element of this café reflects a vintage charm.
The efforts to preserve and continue the legacy of Irani café culture in Bombay took a shape in the form of SodaBottleOpenerWala that promised to not only bring some finest Parsi food but also evoke a great sense of nostalgia for its people and tantalize the taste buds of food lovers like you and me. They are now open in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. And true to their words, their Chilli Cheese Pav (pav toasted with chilli and cheese), Kanda Bhajiya (thinly sliced onion fries tossed in spices), Bun Maska (bun laden with butter), and mind you, the Staff tea, which is basically a homemade style masala tea are worth the money and some of my favorites. Though, I must admit that I haven’t tried their signature Irani chai, Egg Kejriwal, Berry Pulao yet.
For a moment, let’s go back to the history and thank the Zoroastrian Iranian community better known as Iranis who fled Persia, migrated to India some two hundred years back and settled in Bombay—for opening the door to a new experience of drinking chai over chats and knowing each other. Had it not been for the Iranis who turned their corner shops into a refuge for conversations and hearty meals, perhaps, we would have never known this side of the culture and its people. People tend to confuse Parsis with Iranis. While Parsis migrated from Persia to India during the 5th century and settled in the southern parts of Gujrat, the Iranis established their base in Bombay. While they both are different ethnic groups, ultimately, they are Zoroastrians. Perhaps, the very reason why Iranis and Parsis are interchangeably referred. Their cuisines have blended too. An Irani café could possibly mean they are serving Parsi fares like Sali boti, Dhansak or the famous Patrani Macchi.
SodaBottleOpenerWala is like a whiff of fresh air. In a place like Delhi, where pubs and cafes grow like mushrooms, we need places with character and culinary history, whose walls would echo the love and labor that went into making them, where conversations can be an intimate part of the gastronomic affair and turn into a melting pot of cosmopolitan culture.
And, this Parsi or Irani Café is definitely for the soul.
Price for two: 700-1200 INR
Rating: 4.2/5 (Based on what we have tried so far)
Location: Khan Market, Delhi (this is the one we visit)
DLF Mall of India, Noida
What’s unique about this place?
SodaBottleOpenerWala at Khan Market, Delhi employs speech and hearing impaired people as servers. Such noble work!