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PARSI BHONU

Saal Mubarak! The Parsi New Year was on August 18 and Chowder Singh decided to check out Parsi Bhonu i.e. Parsi meal. I was given the reference of a new restaurant in Kondhwa on the outskirts of Pune called 'Cafe Mocambo Grille' by my friend Khodu Irani. The restaurant’s an offshoot of Mocambo in Mumbai with chef and owner Rustom Ariyanfar at the helm. I’ve not been to the Mumbai one but heard quite a bit. The Pune one’s nicely done up and serves Continental stuff with a focus on steaks. Though the menu was well priced, I didn’t bother and went straight for the bhonu.

The bhonu was served as a thali with a banana leaf base. The first item was the gajar nu achar which took me by surprise. I didn’t expect the pickle to be fermented. It had a well balanced taste and was brilliant.  Followed by the Saria Papad, which were strips of fried rice papad and then whole wheat chappatis. Then the Marghi Na Farcha, which is the Parsi answer to KFC. Very simply, it’s chicken pieces with a light ginger-garlic-cumin-coriander flavoring, coated with eggs and flour, and fried. Awesome stuff! Then was Sali Boti... mutton cooked in onion-tomato gravy and fried with matchstick potatoes sprinkled on top.
 
The Pulao Dal was a lightly spiced mutton pulao served with dal. They had made their pulao more like a biryani; layered with fried onions as garnish, but it tasted more like a Parsi pulao than a biryani. The dal had an unusual texture and was more like a liquidy paste. Together, they tasted nice. The dessert was Malai Kulfi which is one of the better ones that I’ve tasted. Overall, this was a very good Parsi meal. The restaurant was packed with mostly Parsi and Irani families celebrating the New Year. Not everyone ordered the Bhonu, but quite a few did. Service was a bit harried, expectedly as it’s a fairly new restaurant and I guess they had a full house. But its still something they need to work on.
 
The Parsi Bhonu was priced at Rs.600 per person for non-veg (mutton or chicken) and Rs.520 for vegetarian. Compared to their regular menu which was reasonably priced, I thought that the Bhonu was expensive. But hey! The definition of a poor Parsi (I read this in Times of India a few weeks ago) is someone who earns less than Rs.90,000 per month. Well then, 600 bucks ain’t too much, even for a poor Parsi, eh!
 
The Parsi bhonu’s not part of their daily menu as of now but they plan to start shortly. You can call ahead and gorge at Cafe Mocambo Grille: Shop no.1, Rahul Residency, Salunke Vihar Road, Kondhwa, Pune.
 
Parsi Bhonu
 
Cafe Mocambo Grille
 
Malai Kulfi
 
22-AUGUST-2012
 
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