It was a dark rainy monsoon day in Mumbai when I walked over to Britannia & Co., a restaurant synonymous with serving Parsi food in the city.
The area of town is heavily populated by old government offices and beautiful drooping trees; The historical restaurant fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the area.
In this blog post I’ll share with you the dishes I tried at Britannia & Co., a cultural restaurant landmark in Mumbai, India.
Britannia & Company (also commonly Britannia & Co.)
Along with the actual food, one of the greatest things about eating at Britannia & Co. is the chance to be a part of history.
Dating back to 1923, Mr. Boman Kohinoor, a Zoroastrian immigrant from Iran, decided to open a restaurant in Mumbai serving Parsi food.
What is Parsi food?
At the end of my meal, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Boman, and this is what he kindly shared with me:
1200 years ago, the Persians fled Iran, and they landed on the shore of India, Mumbai.
And so, the Maharaja (Great King) here, gave them support, gave them help, so they stayed here.
So they adopted part Persian part Hindu culture, and that is called Parsi culture – Persian mixed with Hindu.
They were Zoroastrian, our prophets name is Zoroaster, and we are called Zoroastrians. But when we came to India, the Indians called us Parsi.
[So for Parsi food] You have a combination of Persian and Indian food.
In a way, although involving different cultures, Parsi culture immediately made me think of Peranakan culture.
The owner is an absolute superbly friendly man and is quite an amazing character.
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When you dine at Britannia & Co., he still comes around and has a chat with you, telling you stories as you eat.
I won’t get into more history, but you can check out this post for more. What I will say is that, it’s about as classic as it gets when it comes to restaurants.
On the menu at Britannia & Company (Britannia & Co.) you’ll find an assortment of dishes that range from Iranian influenced, to as the owner explained to me, more pure Indian dishes.
There are even some western dishes available. There are a real mix of dishes.
Despite wanting to order the entire menu, since it was just my wife and I eating, we couldn’t order the entire menu, so I decided to go for a few of the main classic dishes that the restaurant is so well known for.
Prices are not cheap, but portion sizes are good size, and the quality was excellent.
Sali boti (mutton)
I’ll start with the first dish that emerged from the kitchen, the slai boti (this one made with mutton). It turned out to be my personal favorite dish of the meal.
It looked very interesting in appearance, a red brown gravy sauce topped with a heaping handful of little tiny shoe-string fried potatoes.
Sali boti is a classic Parsi dish, and although it’s similar to a curry, it’s more like a meat stew. Our waiter dished it out onto my plate, served with roti, and I took my first bite.
The mutton was incredibly tender, and the blend of spices and the gravy is what literally made my jaw drop in culinary excitement.
It wasn’t a pungent mixture of spices, but it was so well balanced, with ginger, cinnamon, cumin, and lots of dissolved onions. It was literally a perfect blend of spices, and the dish had an almost fruity taste.
It was absolutely exquisite, a gravy so good, I wanted to drink it.
Price – 600 INR
Chicken berry pulav
Before you eat at Britannia & Company (Britannia & Co.), you’ll probably read about their famous berry pulav, or someone will tell you about it.
There are a couple of different choices on their menu, but I went with the chicken berry pulav (by the way, pulav, pilaf, pilau, is a seasoned rice dish).
It was indeed a beautiful dish, the long grain basmati rice looked almost like little noodles, yet it looked fluffy and cottony. On top was a sprinkle of barberries, crispy fried shallots, and cashews.
The chicken, which was wrapped in a stew of spices, was folded within the center of the rice (so from the outside you couldn’t even tell it was there).
It was everything I had hoped for: fluffy rice, the natural sweetness from the berries which tasted similar to dried cranberries, a nutty crunch from the cashews, and spice and flavor from the chicken curry.
The berry pulav at Britannia & Company is legendary for a reason: it’s seriously delicious.
Price – 550 INR
For my final dish, I ordered mutton dhansak, another one of what is considered a standard dish of Parsi cuisine – it’s the daal of Parsi food.
The dhansak included nuggets of tender mutton, wrapped within a very thick mixture of lentils and vegetables all pureed.
What I immediately noticed about it was the smoky flavor it had. The dhansak was paired with a plate of rice that was lightly seasoned and a couple of meatballs.
The dhansak was good, but for me, the other two dishes I ordered were superior.
Price – 650 INR
I’m not really into desserts, but the owner talked my wife and I into having a caramel custard for dessert. Britannia & Co. happens to be known throughout Mumbai for their caramel custard.
It was indeed very good, smooth and silky, and almost like a thick pudding in texture. It was quite sweet and light but refreshing in caramel taste.
If you do enjoy sweets, it’s a must order when you eat at Britannia & Company.
Price – 150 INR
Britannia & Co. is one of the greatest Parsi restaurants in Mumbai, India.
The sali boti, an exquisite braised stew, and the berry pulav, a barberry seasoned rice, were the highlights of my meal there.
But along with the delicious food, dining at Britannia & Co. is a chance to be a part of this incredible historical restaurant and story in Mumbai.
Britannia & Company (Britannia & Co.)
Address: Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai
Open hours: 11:30 am – 4 pm on Monday – Saturday (closed on Sundays)
How to get there: Probably the easiest way to get there is to either take a taxi (or Uber), or if you’re staying in the area, it’s easy to walk there.
Prices: Prices aren’t cheap, but I do think it’s worth it. You’re looking to spend anywhere from 600 – 1000 IDR per person or so depending on how many dishes you order.