A couple of years back I was saddened by the fact that the Iranian café were dying a slow death. I was thinking of all the delicious Iranian goodies that have been cherished over the years. But before I knew it, Anaida and her team are slowly and surely resurrecting the famed Iranian Café back again! Two years ago Sodabottleopenerwala saw the light of dawn at its branch in BKC. With rapidly spreading fame and growing business the chain has opened two more outlets in the city.
All in good stead, I was graciously invited by Anaida Art to visit the Sodabottleopenerwala at Powai. The ambiance is inviting and casual; as they have successfully managed to retain the typical Iranian café feel. The food is simply delicious, and what is even better is Anaida herself cooked the meal for me without any help at all. She accommodated all my fancies with a smile on her face. She stirred up the most delicious Iranian delicacies ever. The staff was ever accommodating. I observed the same even as they were serving other guests too. the inner smile radiated from each one of them, and they were indeed quick on a heel and ready to serve.
We stared with the Fesenjan, generally served as an all-chicken version (original) however Anaida especially whipped up a Shiitake Mushroom version (Anaida’s veg version of the same dish). The dish comprises of a slow cooked stew of walnuts and pomegranate and imparts a delicious texture and flavour.
The Iranaian Haleem is the next dish I tried. This is a staple Iranian breakfast porridge dish. The primary ingredients are all involving of wheat and meat (largely beef).
My meals were accompanied by some delicious Iranian style ‘Raita’s’ (A sweet and salty yogurt dish) . I quiet enjoyed the unique twists added in the ‘Raitas’. I cherished the Cucumber and the mint and rose petal ‘Raitas’. The Floral notes to the curd was indeed refreshing.
For the very first time I tried the famous rice-less Esfahan Beryani (Do note the spelling). Beryani literally means, “roasted in fire” and is a dish from Esfahan, the then capital of Persia in olden days. This dish travelled to India during the Moghul era and was Indianised adding rice to it for the army. The version that we popularly have today is the version that was originally got down from Persia with rice added onto the plate. The Indianized version is differently spelt as ‘Biryani’. SodaBottleOpenerWala, Powai, is the only place in India where one can currently enjoy this dish.
I also took a trip to Persia, as we were introduced to a delicious bowl of crisps made using Red lentils. This dis was simply delicious and can be quite healthy all the same.
I also enjoyed the Vegan bowl. What I really appreciate about Anaida is how she tries to incorporate the modern day trends without having to break through old traditional barriers.
As I jeered toward the end of the meal I was in for a surprise. Anaida has specially prepared the traditional ‘Persian Halwa’. The notes are sweet and floral, as the dish employs the liberal use of clarified butter (ghee), saffron, and rose water.
As I wind up, I will state, that I cannot thank Anaida enough for having me over, and being the perfect host, and making this meal a memorable one indeed.