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RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT: SodaBottleOpenerWala, Noida is an impressive ode to Parsi cuisine and Mumbai.

Delhi is not exactly the city that you’d think would treat Parsi cuisine as one of its own, but Olive Group’s SodaBottleOpenerWala seems to have dispelled that myth.

From their first restaurant at Gurgaon in 2013 and their ever-crowded joint at Khan Market to their recent foray into Noida with an outlet at DLF Mall of India, SodaottleOpenerWala and its food is hitting all the right notes.

We decided to take an afternoon detour to the two-week old SodaottleOpenerWala, Noida to find out for ourselves if they’re doing the dhansak justice.

FIRST THOUGHTS

2The restaurant is located on the 3rd floor of DLF Mall of India, the country’s largest mall and is bang opposite H&M, which works out perfectly in the favour of SodaBottleOpenerWala as almost everyone coming out of H&M end up heading to the restaurant.

Mohit Singh, the manager of the Noida outlet echoes this thought, adding that this exact spot is a blessing in disguise when being around popular restaurants such as Cafe Delhi Heights, Chili’s and Mamagoto.

The restaurant which opened its doors to the public barely two weeks back, starts its day at 12 pm and shuts its doors at 12 am. They do not take reservations and on any day, you are bound to notice a long line of people waiting patiently for their turn inside- an evidence to their popularity.

We arrived at 12.45 pm and were escorted to our table by the manager. About 20 minutes later, the restaurant started filling up like a stadium before a cricket match

Naturally, the view outside was the familiar sight of a long queue of people waiting their turn.

LOOK AND FEEL

3The Noida outlet has a modest space that can sit about 90 people at a time.

Undoubtedly, the old Irani cafe charm dominates every nook and corner of the interiors which is done up beautifully in bright colours aided aptly by the trademark red and white table cloth, lighting, the 70’s playlist and the wall decorations that are a throwback to the legend of Irani cafes. They’ve even managed to throw in a cute little Irani bakery amidst the space that makes you want to skip to dessert altogether.

 

 

 

DRINKS

4The Drinks menu of SodaBottleOpenerWala is a delight to read, and as we found out, even better to taste.

Apart from a variety of inhouse ‘chais,’ the menu feature unusual accompaniments to a meal such as Gaane nu Ras, Mawa Shake, Irani Falooda, Sekanji Bin and ofcourse the usual at every Irani cafe-Raspberry Soda.

Our nostalgia for the city that never sleeps was at its peak once we saw ‘Ganne nu Ras’ (Rs 130) on the menu but unfortunately, we were told it was unavailable at the moment Not worried by our minor setback, we instead went with Mrs SodaBottleOpenerWala’s Cold Coffee (Rs 130), which with its distinct flavour was one of the best cold coffees we’ve had, a Nimbu Soda (Rs 80) that arrived in a cute mason jar and was more than enough for two people and the delicious Raspberry Soda (150), which is undoubtedly the best in town. It’s time to say goodbye, Duke!

Highly recommended: The Sekanji Bin (Rs 150); a Persian drink made from mint and dried plum, is refreshing and fairly equipped to beat the Delhi heat.

STARTERS

5It is only when you go through the list of starters that you realise the true intentions of SodaBottleOpenerWala.

It not only wants you to relive the Parsi goodness, but also indulge you in the comfort of the local snacks of Mumbai, and thus a quick scan of the menu will reveal how Mumbai favourites (Kanda Bhajji, Grill Sandiwch, Vada Pav) are thrown in good measure amongst the Parsi offerings. (Kolmi Fry, Chicken Farcha, Bun Maska, Tareli Macchi)

We started off with the Vada Pav (Rs 60 per piece), which was undoubtedly better than what we’ve sampled in Delhi, but nowhere close to how it is in Mumbai.

Next was the Kolmi Fry (Rs 395), a preparation of fried prawns with onions which was the star of the meal. Cooked to perfection, its delicious taste lingers on. (Be warned, it’s on the oily side.)

We moved on to the Boneless Chicken Farcha (Rs 250), a classic Parsi style fried chicken, which was given a modern twist and served to us in the form of mini-cutlets of four. Unfortunately, it didn’t stand out as expected.

Highly recommended: Eggs Kejriwal (Rs 175). Don’t ask questions, just go ahead and order it. SodaBottleOpenerWala’s version of it is an absolute stunner.

MAIN COURSE

6If you’re aiming for the big guns, like us-order your heart away. We tasted the Salli Chicken (Rs 330), a traditional Parsi style chicken gravy with potato fries on top and were blown away with how soft the chicken was. Pairing it with Maska Pav (the softest we’ve ever had) is a good idea as it makes for a memorable meal.

If you’re confused between the Dhansak (Rs 360/475) and Berry Pulao (Rs 425), choose the Dhansak. You won’t regret it. It’s quite close to the ones you get in Mumbai.

Highly recommend: The Patra Ni Macchi (Rs 610). This dish is bound convert anyone into a fish-lover.

DESSERT

7Deciding to give the freshly baked goodies a miss, we settled in for the Toblerone Mousse (Rs 125), which could’ve done with a little bit more of toblereone, but maybe we’re being greedy.

Highly recommended: The Parsi Dairy Farm Kulfi (Rs 180) to wrap up the Mumbai nostalgia.

 

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT SPEAK

Mohit Singh, SodaBottleOpenerWala Noida’s restaurant manager tells us that in two weeks itself, the outlet has received overwhelming response, serving approximately 500 people on weekends and 300 on weekdays. The number is huge for a restaurant that caters to a niche audience with just one type of cuisine

He admits that though people show initial apprehension when they learn that they serve only Parsi cuisine. “We tell them to just come inside and taste one dish and if they are still not convinvced, then go. Most of the times, they end up staying,” Mohit adds.

The only drawback of the restaurant, according to Mohit is the fact that they don’t have an alcohol license, yet. “That kind of restricts us, because we do amazing cocktails. But, just last weekend, we took a day license and served complimentary drinks to our patrons. They loved it.”

Don’t worry though. They’re getting one so0n.

INSIDE INFO

The Noida outlet has a new item on the menu in the form of the Bambaiyya Potato Fry.

ROUND UP

SodaBottleOpenerWala is every Irani cafe’s 21st century makeover- it’s their cousin that returned after a stint abroad.
Eating here is an experience you must not miss.

Rating: 8.5/10

Address: SodaBottleOpenerWala, 3rd Floor, DLF Mall Of India, Noida Sector 18.
Meal for Two: Rs 2000+ approximately (without alcohol)

 

Published on Business Insider

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