Medley of flavours

When we were politely informed that SodaBottleOpenerWala follows a strict ‘no reservation’ policy and they make no exception, we knew the only option we had was to reach before busy hour (read lunch time) hit the clock. So, on a sunny afternoon we headed to the sixth outlet of the popular cafe which, as the name suggests is a tribute to the dying legacy of Bombay-Irani cafe culture, before 1 pm.

We managed to get a table, without waiting. The interiors are same as the Khan Market one — warm and cosy as traditional Irani cafes. Coloured glass lamps, vintage photographs and old paraphernalia adorn walls that are washed in bright hues of blue, orange and yellow. Seating is comfortable and service, quick.

And then arrived the menu, which looked familiar, but it was the low pricing of dishes that left us surprised. Inquisitive, we asked restaurant manager, Mohit Singh, if prices of Noida cafe differ from other outlets. The answer was in affirmative, and frankly, we weren’t surprised.

Noida has earned a notorious reputation of being a location where experimental restaurants fail to break-even, resulting in an inevitable shut down. So to test the waters, the Olive group has played their cards right —to first attract, introduce and educate consumers about what they are offering.

Considering rent price in Noida are comparatively less than Delhi and Gurgaon, smart pricing could be a potential game changer—especially when you are competing in a mall.
In-between these deliberations, we were served Raspberry Soda and Sekanje Bin. While former had a tangy flavour, with crushed berries adding freshness to the drink, the latter one stuck to its traditional zing, with dried plum giving it right amount of sweetness.

The menu is vibrant and not restricted to Iranian food: traditional Parsi dishes, popular items from Bombay and a few offerings from the financial capital’s club culture also find their way in the cafe.

Our next dish was Kolmi Fry, Bombay style fried prawns with onions. Don’t be mistaken if you think prawns will come alongside onions. The juicy prawns are enclosed in onion fritters and this typical street food item found its way to our hearts.

This was followed by their signature dish Eggs Kejriwal, which has nothing to do with Delhi’s chief minister, and is instead inspired by Devi Prasad Kejriwal, a member of the Royal Willingdon Club. The dish comes on a bread slice, topped with a mix of mushroom and cheese and covered with half-cooked eggs. The beauty of the dish is the creaminess of mushroom and cheese mix with egg yolk and, we had a match-winner.

Then we headed towards mains and what we really wanted to try was Paatra Ni Macchi which is pomfret flavoured with coconut, coriander and mint chutney. We loved the marriage of delicate pomfret with these simple flavours. It was easy on palate and stomach, too.

We also tried Brinjal Patio and Parsi Mutton Masala Roast. These two dishes gave us that right flavours of Parsi food that we were looking for. The first item might come across as your usual baingan ka bharta but it has this beautiful sweet and sour flavour, which according to Anahita N Dhondy, chef manager, comes from ‘sugarcane vinegar’ and jaggery.

Similarly, Parsi Mutton… too has distinctive taste which it gets from traditional Parsi masala. We loved both.

We skipped dessert and opted for Parsi Choy tea flavoured with lemongrass and mint to let the ecstasy of this gastronomic adventure settle in.

Published on Deccan Herald