With SodaBottleOpenerWala, we give you a concept that is unique to India; the dying legacy of the wonderful chaotic, crowded, bustling, colorful, quirky, cluttered, eccentric and so real world of an Irani café. Our way of reviving the love for the edu and the disappearing race behind the cafes"".
AD, Sabina and RustomSodaBottleOpenerWala
Through SodaBottleOpenerWala, Olive pays tribute to the dying legacy of a Bombay Irani cafe bringing with it - typical Parsi cuisine, some Irani specialties and Bombay street food, in a fun, quirky and contemporary avatar.
SodaBottleOpenerWala first opened its doors in November 2013 at Cyber hub, Gurgaon. At Khan Market, the second outlet is located in the middle lane on first and second floor complete with a bar and an intimate outdoor balcony making it the right spot to tuck away in the heart of the khan market bustle and while away time.
Says AD Singh, as he shares his vision, “SodaBottleOpenerWala is a concept restaurant and bar. For Sabs and me, Bombay is an integral part of the journey of our lives and the Irani cafe is a rich part of that tapestry. We delved deep within its unique world to bring alive the nuances - both for cuisine and its atmosphere. Architect Clement and Sabs then brought that canvas to life"".
He further adds, “I am happy that now the second SodaBottleOpenerWala finds home in New Delhi at the bustling and vibrant Khan market which is the soul of Delhi. As such it’s a perfect spot for this concept, allowing more people to discover its uniqueness and help us to resuscitate the dying legacy of the Bombay Irani cafes. We hope they will grow to love it as much as we do"".
The love for this Bombay Irani cafe has since then spread infectiously indeed. The Parsi New Year in August 2014, also became the occasion for the (un)official video to the official SodaBottleOpenerWala in Delhi NCR. It was released to coincide with the official play in Mumbai by the same name! The SodaBottleOpenerWala track begs you to get on your feet, and indeed: Do the Dhansak. Log in here to watch the foot-tapping anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-0blFvJ7TU
The wave of settlers from Persia gravitated towards opening cafes as a means of livelihood which became increasingly popular and today Bombay hosts the most number of Irani cafes. Gradually the tradition of such cafes died down due to the foray of fast food concepts that flooded the country. Only 25 such cafes are now still in existence.
THE LOOK AT SodaBottleOpenerWala, KHAN MARKET
The attempt has been to be able to walk in the restaurant and experience a slice of Bombay at its Parsi best. Every item seen on the walls and on the menu is typical of Bombay and of what you most likely may find in Mrs. SodaBottlOpenerWala's home and kitchen.
Keeping most original elements of a typical Irani cafe in place, architect Clement and fashion and interior designer Ms Sabina Singh, added a few contemporary touches. Their take of Parsi Style Freddie Mercury meets Monty Python on the large mirrors juxtaposes with a play of graphics all around.
Old world dome lights from Chor Bazaar... some actual antiques, cuckoo clocks, antique framed images of life in Irani cafes and Bombay street life on the wall, barni glass jars bursting with nankatais and typical bakery items sold by the piece on the cash counter, tin boxes, locks, old paraphernalia and bric a brac, armed with the most important ingredient - the Bombay Irani Café menu is what makes it comes alive.
THE MENU AT SodaBottleOpenerWala, KHAN MARKET
They say Iranis don’t feast with their eyes but with their nose!
Irani cafes were famous for their inexpensive food, eccentric owners and distinctive menus incorporating dishes like the stick chai (extremely sweet); bun maska (crusty bread with butter), kheema pao (mince curry with bread) and typical Parsi cutlets, patties, rolls, fruitcakes, and confectionary. Today however Irani cafes serve a wide range of cuisine.
Nostalgia warms your heart as you navigate through the menu, bringing a smile to your lips as you choose from a comprehensive selection. Parsi Specialities include Dhanshak (classic Parsi dish of mutton with lentils and served with caramelized rice and kachumber), Tareli Macchi (Parsi styled fried fish), Chicken Berry Pulao and Mutton Berry Pulao, Prawn Patio (A tangy prawn preparation, sweet, sour and mildly spicy), Parsi Mutton Masala Roast (Roasted mutton served with Parsi style masala) and other old time favourites like Sali Mutton and Chicken, Goan Fish Curry, Chicken Baida Roti, Irani Wrestler’s Omlette and Bohra Keema Pav.
In the vegetarian section Jardaloo Ma Tarkari (Parsi style vegetable curry with apricot), Veg Berry Pulao and Bharuchi Paneer Akuri (Parsi style scrambled cottage cheese with cashwenuts) and Vengna no Patio, to name a few.
One of the key signatures of SodaBottleOpenerWala is its extensive BOMBAY SPECIAL MENU that serves an extensive selection of 22 picks. Be it Bun Maska Pav, Kanda Bhajji, Bombay Rasta Sandwich, Breach Candy Awesome Okra, Eggs Kejriwal, Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Parantha and Bacon Keema Macaroni or Tardeo AC market Mamaji’s Grill Sandwich, Cheesy Masala Fries and Mushroom on Khari – the truth of Mumbai life and its soul is reflected in this menu.
The Irani Bakery Menu serves everything freshly baked in the morning and sold by the piece. The selection includes delights like Khari Biscuit, Ginger Biscuit, Nan E Badami, Berry Nan Khatai, Shrewsbury Biscuit, Mawa Cake, Lagan nu Custard, Toblerone Mousse, Five Star Brownie and Apple Pie with Custard.
A selection of 18 drinks from the Irani bar leave you spoilt for choice. Irani Special chai, Mewa Nu Chai (brewed..not boiled), Pheteli Coffee onto tempting coolers of MrsSodabottleopenerwala’s Cold Coffee, Gannu Nu Ras, Sekanjebin (Persian dried plums and mint cooler), Raspberry Soda, Irani Falooda (A super tasty combination of ice cream, saffron, strawberry flavour and milk) and Parsi Choy (Straight from inside a Parsi home, tea flavoured with lemongrass and mint).
SodaBottleOpenerwala offers an interesting range of cocktails like Daaruwala Vimto (A very tasty mix of five berries spiked with tequila), Bawa ji ka Thullu (A potent yet very well balanced combination of Rum, Vodka, Gin and Tequila flavoured with Parsi Choy), Brandied Bawi - (Delightful combination of Brandy with Raspberry) and Dikra-kiri (Rum with fresh sugarcane juice).
THE TEAM AT SodaBottleOpenerWala, KHAN MARKET
Mohit Balachandran, is a passionate food blogger “Chowder Singh” devoted to celebrating street food of India and has been with the Olive group for many years. From Olive Mehrauli to launch of contemporary Japanese restaurant ai, Olive Bistro in Pune and Hyderabad, Mohit has rich experience in the group and is currently leading the kitchen and food production at the SodaBottleOpenerWala
The head chef for SodaBottleOpenerWala is Chef Kulbeer who has lived six years in Mumbai and has long years of experience in working in leading hotels and restaurants in India. He is aided by the unique talent of cuisine authenticator, Parsi Chef Manager Anahita N.Dhody. After studying at IHM – Aurangabad, Anahita worked in four different hotels in three different cities before she took off to pursue her dream to gain the Le Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Blue. Bakery and confectionary is her passion and her adventurous journey with food gets a home coming with SodaBottleOpenerWala to be close to her Parsi roots.
Says AnahitaN.Dhody laughingly, “We Parsis are a hard lot to get. I’ve been confused most of the time as I’m still pretty young, but they are complex characters, with highly developed senses, from humour to food! Parsi cuisine is simple as its complex. I could go on and on, but simply it comes down to “say a small thank you every day’ and ChaloJumwaChaloJi! – (come let’s have a meal). It has become the most important and popular chant at any Parsi celebration–we look forward to serving you”.
Watch out for the jovial and cantankerous Parsi gentleman closely guarding the cash register with a beady eye and follow the ‘Rules of the Establishment’ propping yourself on an Irani chair gobbling up a bun maska, as the member s of the British Royal Family stare down at you.