Ghelsappo ~ noun:
1. A person who orders a meatless meal.
2. An idiot.
While this TONGUE-IN-CHEEK 'dictionary
extract' from the Soda Bottle Opener Wala menu card may evoke a grin even from somebody with veggie sensibilities, it isn't as much a description of the delicacies on offer as an example of some good ol' Irani humour. A visit to this quaint eatery tickles your funny bone as much as it satisfies your palate - paying, at the same time, a tribute to the dying legacy of Irani cafes.
Enter the restaurant and you find yourself in a rainbow explosion - complete with coloured panels, quippy signboards, and glass-top tables lined with Mumbaiiya tea tumblers. It's a place that spurs you to shed that layer of formality and indulge in pure, unadulterated fun. Shouting is encouraged - the menu says - as long as you aren't doing it at the attendants.
The music? Well, you won't find the jukebox playing ostentatiously traditional tunes here; Soda Bottle Opener Wala believes in Abba and The Clovers.
We start off with a bite into the crusty marghi na farcha, yielding tender meat that drops broad hints on the robust flavours to come. On the other hand, doing justice to some all-time Parsi favourites are the keema baidi roti - minced lamb and eggs folded in a deliciously flaky paratha - and the ubiquitous keema pav, washed down with tangy raspberry soda and the refreshingly mature sekanjeben (plum and gur oozing its sweet-sour essense into chilled lime soda). For veggies, there is spicy mushroom on khari - a medley of melting and crisp textures rounded off with a dash of heat from the cheese. But if I have to pick a favourite, it would be the temptingly fragrant berry pulao (spiced rice and mutton, liberally sprinkled with berries and cashew nuts), paired with sali ma murghi, a tangy chicken gravy topped with potato fritters.
Dessert consists of the lagan nu custard - a delightful twist on the creme caramel - and toblerone mousse, embodying a sinful chocolate high. Delve right in, you don't have to be a Zoro-astrian prince to dine like one!
Mutton berry pulao Sali ma marghi Meal for two Rs 2,000 (approx) Cyber Hub, Gurgaon 0124-6518801