With Its Long History & Best Berry Pulao, Mumbai’s Brittania & Co. Is Winning Hearts Since 1915

Boman Kohinoor is as old as Brittania & Co. Both the owner and his restaurant share the same birth year and have witnessed an equal number of memorable moments. At 95, Kohinoor is still full of enthusiasm for his restaurant and has many stories for the customers who visit the eatery.

It was around 1915 when the construction of Ballard Pier began, around the same time when Brittania was established. In an era when Bombay as we know it was at a nascent stage of slowly flourishing into a larger business hub than anyone would have thought back then, Kohinoor shares that Brittania was one of the oldest restaurants in the vicinity, and had its reputation as good as a Taj or a Trident have today.

“I remember working for 12 to 15 hours a day and the people wouldn’t stop coming,” Kohinoor tells us.

It is no secret that Kohinoor is an ardent admirer of the written to Queen Elizabeth II, inviting her to his restaurant and even received replies from Her Majesty. He asks one of the waiters in the restaurant to bring his pictures with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: William and Kate.

He is rather enthusiastic in showing us all the pictures and describing how the meeting was. “They came here on a Sunday when the restaurant remains. Then they called me asked to meet me. I told them that they should have told me they were coming so I could make arrangements,” he says, visibly still bothered by the fact that he could not do much to cater to the Royal couple’s needs.

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Kohinoor is the eldest son in the family, and that obviously came with a lot of responsibilities. Expressing his initial reluctance about taking over the restaurant, he said, “after three elder sisters, I am the eldest son. Therefore I had no option but to look after my family and continue what my father started. If I had a choice I’d be a lawyer.”

britannia-2For a couple of years, things were perfect for Kohinoor and Brittania. Businesswise, everything was fine as Kohinoor informed us that Brittania once had the reputation as high as a Taj or a Trident has today. His father had even gotten the restaurant renovated once he took over. But things began to get a little tricky once World War II began.

“There were British forces here, especially all around this area. One day, a British gentleman walked in. I do not remember his name anymore, but he came into the restaurant and asked me to hand it over to him from the first of next month. I disagreed,” he says with the same vehement expression of denial that we imagine he must have given the British gentleman.

Published on Indiatimes