The other day, I read an article carried out in a local newspaper about a hundred year old Iranian café shutting down business. The café in discussion here is B.Merwans in Mumbai serving foodies since 1914.
I do not feel proud to say, I was not aware about the existence of a heritage café like Merwans until I read about its shutting down in the newspapers. But I was quick to recover from my ignorance and I looked up the internet to locate this lovely little Iranian joint.
I have to mention here, anything that is unusual or nearing extinction has always caught my fancy; and Iranian restaurants in Mumbai fall under the latter category.
So the weekend that came by, we (3 of my friends and myself) headed to Merwans. We arrived for breakfast at this old-world-charm cafe, of course, after researching that their breakfast is their USP. Every dish the cafe put on our table was demolished within minutes. More on that later, Let me discuss the ambience first…
Located just opposite the Grant road (east) railway station, Merwans is always bustling with crowd. The cafe feels straight out of the 1920’s and this is a laudable fact because it has not tried to become someone else over the years. Merwans continues to stick to its basic principle which is pocket friendly delicious food; Nothing more, Nothing less. The cafe does justice to the term “No frills” restaurant.
The marble table tops and wooden chairs at Merwans seem as old as the café itself. Do not expect a waiter to offer you a menu card so you can leisurely decide what you shall order. In fact chances are, you won’t even find a table for yourself to eat. The mornings at Merwans are so busy, visitors share the table with random strangers who turn out to be like minded foodies present there for the same reason as you are.
Yes! We went there for the famous Mawa cakes.
No! We did not get the opportunity to eat them because they were sold out even before we arrived.
Nonetheless, our spirits were high and we were optimistic about the other items that were going to come our way. Here is what we gorged on:
6 Maska Jam Bread (Maska is butter in local language)
4 Bun Maska
1 Brun Maska (hard bread with a spread of butter)
1 Caramel custard
1 Mawa puff
8 Irani chai (tea)
The mawa cakes in the above pic are from my second visit to Merwans (Yes! I went there again the following Sunday)
One of the reasons Merwans is a popular food joint is because of its pocket friendly price for homestyle delicious food; Food that is unpretentious!
The dent in our pocket for demolishing all those items was negligible and comfortably under Rs. 300 (Did I mention we were 4 of us?).
Should you visit or SHOULD you visit?
Merwan’s has a special place in the hearts of many (now, including myself). Its one of those places where you just come, sit, eat, watch, absorb, experience and let it sink in. It’s like a time machine, taking you back into an era gone by.
Too bad it may shut down sometime in March 2014, but there are also speculations that it may be for renovation. Who knows? Wait and watch.
The picture below is from my Re-visit to Merwans, where I bought home a dozen of these Mawa cakes.