The Parsi Way or the Highway.
If you’ve driven past it, you would have noticed it. Inside, olive walls, woody, serviceable tables and pale floors lead to a more eccentric upper level. Everything is strikingly pink: fuchsia glass tabletops against ornate rouge window grills, everything clean, new, and attractive. You hope the food is as good.
No Parsi accompanied us on this trip. This was a taste-trip for outsiders; to gauge not how ‘authentic’ the food was – because that is subjective – but to weigh how acceptable it is to the local palate. So we begin, to just give ‘taste’ a chance.
Appetisers: Raspberry Soda jumped out of the menu, and so we tried it. One word: Roohafza – a blast from the past – a quencher, not a filler. The rose-flavoured lassi was thin, and even our fresh-from-Delhi-phirangi could tell…but there was more to come.
To eat we asked for brain cutlet. Oh no? Oh yes! If you want to gently introduce yourself to the weird wonders of eating offal, this is a good start. The egg batter ensures a crisp crust to the mildly-flavoured, soft fare inside. Pity they had only one left.
The Patra Ni Macchi was soft with a beautiful chartreuse-green chutney, fragrant with coconut and coriander, and just a lovely sight against the fuchsia table. Khara Papeta, our vegetarian starter was a bowl of thinly-sliced potato mild onions, garlic and coriander. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed by its predecessors and bypassed by us obligatory carnivores. But the tangy, thick, sweet Dahi Bhindi found applause.
Sali Boti as a snack was an indulgence. Matchstick-thin, potato crisps on soft mutton cubes in a spicy, jammy gravy in which I tasted date (and hoped it was the sweetener), served with pav on the side. We would have gone home happy but duty called and we HAD to eat more.
Mains: We were advised to have three mains between six people so we chose the Dhandal Patio. The waiter sweetly explained this was rice (dhan), dal, with a prawn (patio) side… or was the prawn the main? Debatable. This was the star at the table – everyone dug into the sweet-and-spicy, viscid gravy, with simple dal and rice; even with the ‘no-rice- for-dinner’ ones.
The signature dhansak (mutton with dal and vegetables in smooth harmony) did not disappoint, but wasn’t better than the patio. But for the mutton, it barely appealed to our table. Blasphemy, I know. The drumstick curry was another hot-sweet thick affair and was a hit with our foreign guest who’d never tasted this excellent vegetable before. That said vegetarians have a healthy share of options on the menu.
Afters: From the six desserts on offer, we chose cheesecake, kulfi and caramel custard. Lagan nu Custard was too eggy for some, and the caramel custard, standard, no-fail…silky with a bitter-caramel top. One helping with two spoons disappeared quickly. The cheesecake, on the other hand, was mostly odd. It was salty with a silky, rather than crumbly texture. “I think the salt pot was used instead of the sugar pot,” offered a brave partaker after an uncomfortable silence. The kulfi was outstanding, though. Rich and nostalgic of old-fashioned dense, original, desi ice cream, with that characteristic spiced-malai flavour.
In all: My Way did well. Parking can make you sweat, though. We parked on a miraculously empty side street, though the staff suggested we park near a ‘no parking’ sign across the road…super convenient. And illegal. I’m curious to know what breakfast here is like; definitely one to try when in the neighbourhood. Good or bad news, this place closes around 9pm, and if they run out of food before that, you’ll have to miss seconds on… say, that Brain Cutlet. All day Irani chai and biscuits might take this joint to the next level. The Parsis call it ghudeeyal chai peeyech (the clock’s taken a tea-break) days. I do hope the spunky 75-year-old owner would add this to the menu. Come here for a warm, realistic Parsi meal – even if your pockets are shallow. This Parsiwalla isn’t overpriced.
Bangalore Mirror reviews anonymously and pays for meals