Monday, September 8, 2008

Parsi Food : Parsi Anjuman Delhi


Parsi food in Delhi !! I heard about it in the early 90s, discussed about in early 2000, Dilshad Master the only other Parsi I then knew in Delhi talked about this place. It kept bothering me. I made two unsuccessful attempts to find Parsi Anjuman, the Parsi rest house at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg (erstwhile Fleet Street Of Delhi)

First successful recce and sighting was done in April 2008 (target identified) and in depth recce was done in September 2008, met Mrs Dhuni Bagli she invited us over on Sunday 7th September or on Monday the 8th. She did mention, Dhansak, Patranee Machi, Farcha, ummm. Started reminiscing about my first time (i meant parsi food), at Sarosh in Ahmednagar in the interiors of Maharashtra in the mid 80's Dhansak, brown rice (Ahmednagar has ACC&S Armoured Corps centre and school and is often referred to fondly, as Paris for the roughnecks from the hinterland of Nabha, Suratgarh and Pathankot in the Armoured Corps). Then remembered eating Ava Sethna's, food, who's 5500 sq ft house at Queens Apartments at Pali Hill Mumbai, I had lived in 2000. Of course, the berry pulao and sali boti at Cafe Britannia at Mumbai Fort, washed down with a Dukes raspberry soda. The Cafe Mocambo and Jimmy Boy again at Mumbai with nice and interesting Parsi food.


Delhi has no luck to savour Parsi food, one can be lucky with knowing the the 40 odd families including Dilshad and Vispy Saher (my first boss at Times of India). Usually I haven't been lucky with invitations. So like Hannibal, decided to make my own way through the proverbial Alps and find my own parsi food. We were all set, I reconfirmed on Sunday, we are coming for lunch on Monday at the Parsi rest house. Called a few like minded friends, 2 out of three confirmed.


Alex Shantanu and I got into the clean and serene Parsi Anjuman (houses the fire temple), said my pleasantries to Mrs Bagli and sat down in the dining hall of the rest house. It was medium lit with 6-8 tables for six, with a fireplace and mantelpiece with black and white photos in old frames, curtains drawn. The other table was occupied by a distinguished looking family with clipped accents and the gent wearing a vintage golf cap. Food was already flowing on their table. We did not know how to order. We waited and said food for three.



The waiter came and placed a large platter of brown (caramelised rice/ pulao), garnished with 8 potato dumplings, a plate of banana leaf wrapped fish (I guess river sole), Patranee Machi. A small gap, Binoufer the daughter-in law steps in, orders the waiter to place the dining plates and spoons, they get activated, bring the crockery and cutlery with three portions of chicken Dhansak. Strangely all the portions on our, and every other table have only chicken legs. The food is as good as home made parsi food, wholesome. Its not chilly hot, its delicately flavoured as five star hotel menus would like to call it. Enjoyable.



Magically three portions of dessert Laganu Custard appear ( caramel custard, crusted with resins). We polish off everything we are served, Alex and I dive into the food, Shantanu is circumspect, slowly our infectious enthusiasm catches on and he dives in headlong as well. We all love and enjoy the experience and we walked it from work.The price, we are served with bill it mentions 3 lunches rather cutely, for Rs 450/-. Ooops we missed the under Rs 100/- mark for local exotica. But, this is not local exotica its imported exotica (Parsi in Delhi). It was a nice meal.



I could write treatise on my tryst with parsi's the genealogy,the anthropology, the taxonomy and their mood swings and the inconsistency in behaviour. Or their sterling qualities as philanthropist. It suffices to say as William Sacket, the cowboy in Louis L'Amour westerns would say, the parsis and definitely Mrs Bagli and her crew know how to put groceries together.



So Long




11 comments:

saurjyesh said...

How does one get to this place? Where is it exactly? Do we have to call before and confirm or just walk in?

piyush said...

Samil very intresting to note this.Aftèr your lastblog i was looking forward to another discovery.Now that tou have been thère,done that do take me nèxt time around.Last when i was in delhi i did try to pick info on parsi joints from thère agiyari near Khan Market. I was wondering where to get parsi food in delhi,now that have moved from mumbai,Jimmy boy,britannia and my own home cooked ones by my wife.
Infact i tried my hands on cooking the mútton palav and the salli ghost under the divine guidance of my late dear father in Law's recp.bòok(which i guess hê left for me knowing my love for everything parsi)and the able supervisiòn of Khushnoor my wife.The result was awesòme and súddenly i figured in my son's composition writings on "My father" with special ref like,hê is a very good Cook.Till the süch writings and special ref was limited only to mom.
The way you showed me places around in mumbai let me have the pleasure in delhi only.
Bye

piyush said...

Samil very intresting to note this.Aftèr your lastblog i was looking forward to another discovery.Now that you have been thère,done that do take me alòng nèxt time around.Last when i was in delhi i did try to pick info on parsi joints from thère agiyari near Khan Market. I was wondering where to get parsi food in delhi,now that have moved from mumbai,Jimmy boy,britannia and my own home cooked parsi delicacies of my wife.
Infact i tried my hands on cooking the mútton palav and the salli ghost under the divine guidance of my late dear father in Law's recp.bòok(which i guess hê left for me knowing my love for everything parsi)and the able supervisiòn of Khushnoor my wife.The result was awesòme and súddenly i figured in my son's composition writings on "My father" with special ref like,hê is a very good Cook.Till then süch writings and special ref were limited only to mom.
The way you showed me places around in mumbai let me have the pleasure in delhi also .
Bye

jayant said...

It is sad that good old home recipes are dying. There are few to carry on with such precious grandma's recipes. Thanks to media-cooking has been taken to a glamorous level. So the effect is that now people are taking interest in cooking. But it has some downsides also. We are cooking italian/french etc etc...
people take pride in cooking some exotic foreign dish but not so with the traditional desi ones.

Anonymous said...

Pure Nostalgia: I remmbrd abt my childhood days whn we went to the Sarosh Canteen, Ahmednagar to Have the Yummy, Mutton Pattis, Pastries, Egg Sandwitches, ice-creams, plain cakes, fresh bread and cream rolls.
Ever since thn, have never had that lovely taste even in the most expensive and popular eat-outs.
Hats off to Sarosh Canteen!
Mini.

Samil said...

Thanks Mini,

We loved Sarosh, I hope its still around. Would love to go there someday.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

Harnoor said...

Hi, Is there a number where I can call and ask when we can drop in for lunch?

Deepak Sharma said...

Thanks for sharing...
here is one of the good Online Food Deals site in india: Online Deals in Delhi at Khaugalideals.com.
Best Restaurants in Noida

Rajesh Kumar said...

This article, it was really informative. I’ll be looking forward for your next, visit Restaurant in satya niketan delhi for Your Delicious Order.

chowringhee said...

The food looks awesome and am sure, the taste must be heavenly as well.
home delivery