Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sodabottleopenerwalla - Parsiana in Gurgaon

I had been really curious about a place called Sodabottleopenerwalla that opened a few months back at Cyber Hub in gurgaon. Reviews I read told me that the place served authentic Irani Café/ Parsi food along with a bit Bombay street food as well.

Though I visited Cyber Hub a number of times for one reason or another I never did walk into Sodabottleopenerwalla. My stay in Bombay had given me some idea of what to expect in an Irani Café. Reading popular novels based on the city as well as following Kalyan,  Kurush and Rhea Dalal on FB and on blogger ensured that Parsi food would never be too far away from my mind.

Since a chance visit to the restaurant had not worked out I made a plan to ask Parry to take me there for my birthday. So with much anticipation I waited yesterday for evening to arrive so that I could go and check out the place for myself.

The interesting but non eye catching signage
We walked into Cyber Hub, walked around the whole place and couldn’t find the place!!!
Parry said they must have shut shop (he keeps no track of food outlets so has no clue about how well a place might be doing) I couldn't believe that. We asked around and then finally found the outlet tucked away next to Hard Rock Café whose huge, lighted up signage had helped vanquish SBO to invisibility. We had walked right past without figuring out that the outlet was right there. Couldn’t help thinking of the similarity with Parsis as a people also similarly disappearing.
My Retail Consultant mind crept in and I gave the ushers some gyaan on what to do to catch people’s eye and then we stepped into Sodabottleopenerwalla .and were straight away transported to a different world and time.

Old tea kettles right at the entrance
 A quaint space with décor which seemed taken from Parsi homes and not messed with at all. Crockery, cutlery, table linen all reminiscent of a different era and ethos. A reminder that good food is about honest stuff and a no nonsense approach to it.  Posters that reminded that a Bawa peg is five fingers (spread) and that nothing comes between a Bawa and his eggs unless its raspberry.

Each of the lampshades was different, yet came together beautifully

I looked up the menu to see if all my favorites were to be found sadly Dhansak wasn’t on the menu but then since its considered funeral food its non-inclusion in a way made sense. The Mutton Berry Pulao, the fried chicken, kheema pav, Goan sausage pav, patrani machi were all there and so was the laganu custard and my favorite the raspberry soda I love it enough to forego alcohol for it and that should tell you a lot.


Do notice the Bawa stirrer
Apart from this, the place also had a fair share of typical Bombay street food like vegetable sandwiches,
I think my grin said a lot about how delighted I was to visit the place and the staff caught my glee and were such smiling people that for a moment I thought they had mistaken me for someone else and were therefore being so cordial.

We ordered the egg on potatoes and tomato with bacon on the side, Goan Sausage Pav and had a Parsiana( A vodka, mint, sugarcane juice cocktail) and Raspberry Soda to go with it. Since I don’t eat eggs I looked on expectantly as Parry dug into the food. Since potatoes are his favorites I thought it couldn’t go very wrong, the way he quickly dug in for the second bite showed I had chosen well.
My Goan sausage Pav was yummy with a lovely smoked flavor in a spicy tomato base topped with thinly sliced onions and a hint of lemon.
The eggs and the sausage Pav ready to be devoured
We ordered a fried chicken next which came with a coriander chutney and was awesome. I wish KFC would learn a lesson or two on how to fry chicken from these guys. The chicken was crispy on the outside and spicy and succulent on the inside without being chewy.
Do notice the no nonsense crockery

I had initially wanted to also try the pulao and custard but was quite filled up by this time so chose to call it a day for the time being. I am pretty sure I will be going back pretty soon for more.
To sum up let me just say that I totally loved everything we had, the ambience and the staff. Parry found everything familiar yet different. I think he will take another visit or two to fall in love but then he is usually cautious. It’s an absolute must visit for all those who want to know more about Indian food than just tikkas and tandooris.

Sodabottleopenerwalla gets a thumbs up from me for a beautiful balance between great food, signature ambience and really nice staff.

An unique reminder

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