2 July 2016

Mumbai: How Kyani & Co. with its Parsi charm will always be close to my heart!

Kyani is a restaurant that’s very very very close to my heart. Calling it a restaurant doesn’t set the tone right; it’s a bakery, it’s an old Parsi/Irani eatery, it’s the place to hit for a quick cup of tea, it’s the place you will see the maximum cute old people, it’s the place where you will find both kinds of people- those who’re hustling and those you’re relaxing. It’s a place that truly defines Mumbai for me. It’s what will always be on my mind when I think of Mumbai (or Bombay, as we all like to call it). Call it Kyani & Co., Kyani Bakery, whatever. Every dish that I write about here has a memory etched to it in my mind. So this is me opening up to you all, and trying my best to explain why Kyani is so special to me.

Kyani has a beautiful old world Parsi charm to it. Situated in Marine Lines, bang opposite Metro Cinemas, ask anyone where Kyani is and they will know. With checked cloths on tables (typical of Parsi eateries), basic plastic chairs for sitting, tables the exact same size spread across, a counter in the corner for all bakery items, a floor above that was usually operational only on weekends when large groups came for dining here, mirrors on the wall, a wash basin towards the end of the room. The most special thing here- a rope hanging from the ceiling to give support to old people while walking up and down those 4 stairs leading to Kyani. Though it was meant for support and I didn’t need it, I always had the kid in me come out when I visited Kyani and held that rope while coming down. It’s a joy that cannot be described! Enough about the ambience, but it’s the vibe of the place that made it special.

I first chanced upon Kyani in May 2015, also the first time I came to Mumbai. Got some Mawa Cakes packed from here, and some chicken patties for the road to the airport. Love is what this was. The Mawa Cake was like a dream. And imagine a person who has never had Mawa Cake before this in her life. Just imagine the effect on me! Fast forward to July 2015 when I moved to Bombay. Every trip back home meant at least 20 Mawa Cakes being packed for home. Not to forget their biscuits too. So so so good in taste, specially the Shrewsbury! My home in Bombay was hardly 2 minutes walking distance from Kyani, and I crossed it every single day at least twice. By crossing I mean being so close to the place that I could touch the window. Taking a walk back home and stopping at Kyani to grab a piece of Mawa Cake. Surprising my roommates by taking Mawa Cake for them. Friends working at the college fest and taking piping hot Mawa Cakes freshly out of the oven for them. A very prominent place this has had in my ‘eating life’ in Mumbai.

Nobody does better eggs than Kyani. Be it a Parsi Akuri, a Cheese Omelette, a Chicken Omelette, or my most most favourite Scrambled Eggs. Their Scrambled Eggs are beautifulllllll! You would have never tasted anything like this ever before. Their Scrambled Eggs can make me kill people! With crunchy toasts on the side and such yummy runny scrambled eggs, sprinkling some black pepper and salt on them and making my day worthwhile. Indescribable joy! Their omelettes- so damn fluffy that you keep wondering why you can’t get such omelettes anywhere else. Egg Roll- a hot dog bun with egg inside, scrambled but made a little dry. Akuri with tomatoes, onions and coriander- so much flavour in it that you need no seasoning.

People come to Kyani for their famous Khari and Chai. I won’t say much about this apart from the fact that it’s the best in town, arguably or unarguably I don’t know, but it sure as hell cannot be missed. People come to Kyani, have their Khari and Chai, wrap up in 5 minutes and get going again. It’s a way of life for them now. The milkshakes and hot coffee here are no less for me. Days when I didn’t feel like working at all, I walked down to Kyani and had a milkshake to take my milk intake of the day. Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate- plain old simple homemade milkshakes that are so soulful.

My first dinner meal in Bombay, when I didn’t know anyone, was a solo meal at Kyani. They were shutting down in another half an hour, so I thought I might as well eat here than hunt for a place nearby. That was my proper tryst with Kyani. Ordered myself a Chicken cheese egg burger with a Dukes Lemon (how crazy I am about Lemon Dukes is another story). For merely 65 bucks, you get a crazy crisp chicken patty, a slice of cheese, and egg inside a super soft bun that’s layered with butter. You bite into the burger and you hear the crunch. The patty is juicy, it’s flavourful, the burger is filling, and you get unlimited ketchup with it!! This was a first, but I knew I would be back here for more such burger meals. And back I was.. the very next day. The Pollonji’s Raspberry drink is another drink you should not miss at Parsi eateries in Bombay.

Coming to their Chicken Patties- people can estimate the number of times they have had chicken patties from Kyani. I on the other hand have no count. Their patties get sold out by evening, and sometimes by late afternoon too. Extremely soft patties, crisp and flaky, and a with a delicious filling of chicken, they’re easily that one thing that can be gobbled up every day and not get bored of. The mutton patty isn’t the same but. On several occasions I’ve also tried Kyani’s Fried Chicken (which can arguably mean a meal in itself too). Damn flavourful, a nice crisp coating but oily too. The chicken is really heavy and filling; have it for breakfast and you’re sorted for 4-5 hours.

Stay as far away from Kyani’s Keema Pav as possible but. Oily, no flavour, no seasoning, and just very very very bland. Do not try it at any cost! That’s the only thing on their menu I’ve never repeated.

Kyani’s refrigerator is always stocked well. They have all the flavours of Duke’s that are there in the market, and the usual Slice, Coke, Limca, etc. stuff too. But what they also have apart from that is a super well stocked dessert section. Their custard is amazing! It’s set beautifully and isn’t too sweet as well. This is the plain normal custard I’m talking about. The pastries and puddings aren’t that bad too. Their fruit pudding with jelly proves to be a delicious end to the meal!

Kyani is all about the experience and the vibe of the place for me- this is what I thought while starting to write this. But towards the end, I now realise it was so much about the food too. Had the food not been that superlative, I wouldn’t have gone back there. The servers, always sweet but always in a hurry too, the owner who sat at the cashier desk and never ever gave more than one tissue paper, and that too grudgingly, the beautifully stocked fried snacks counter (which was a rare sight because everything got sold out so quick)- it all added up to the super cherished time I had at Kyani. Would go back to Bombay each time, and never fail to visit Kyani. If not for anything else in this review, go to Kyani whenever you’re in Mumbai next, and do come and tell me (if possible, with a picture). You will have my heart sing with joy J

Timings: 7AM to 8:45PM
Contact: 02230150864
Address: JSS Road, Jer Mahal Estate, opposite Metro Cinema, Marine Lines, Mumbai

Connect with me on:
Twitter: @sahibagursahane
Instagram: @thetastingfork
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