MUMBAI'S OLD PARSI CAFES
Let's walk back in time.
Peeling walls, chipped ceilings and old, kitschy furniture, Mumbai’s grand old Parsi cafés haven’t changed much in over 100 years. Parsi, means Persian, a once thriving community in Mumbai that emigrated to India in the 19th century to avoid religious persecution in their homeland. Many of the settlers opened Iranian cafés, family-run businesses which became a symbol of the city’s diverse cuisine and culture. Once all the rage in Mumbai, at their peak there were 500 across the city, but today, with less than 20 cafés still in operation, they are slowly dying out, in danger of disappearing altogether.
Ageing café owners who took over their family businesses as early as the 1930s and 40s, are now struggling to see a future for their businesses as next generations are uninterested in taking over and more concerned with going abroad and seeking better careers elsewhere.
Once the perfect place to take shelter from the monsoon with traditional Persian snacks and the old-world ambiance, lovers of Persian food– and of time capsules– can only hope that the remaining cafés will keep serving their specialities as long as possible, before they truly become a part of history.
Clancy's comment: I still recall the magnificent old restaurants and cafes in Europe when I first visited. Magnificent, and so different to what I was used to.