jumjoji Biryani


After a morning chatting away with a fabulously entertaining Parsi family, a Parsi meal has to be had. Jumjoji, the chosen spot, I am embarrassed to admit, is only the second Parsi place I’ve ever eaten at.

On a hot summer day in Bombay, it can be hard to get up the desire or the nerve to eat curries of any sort but the minute we step into Jumjoji, an overpoweringly delicious aroma sets my stomach rumbling. Mildly spiced, savory smells surround us while the famous Parsi charm takes over. While nothing like the traditional Irani Cafes that Bombay is famous for, Jumjoji is still lovingly Parsi. From the staff to the walls to the menu to the waiting area outside, everything is by turns, funny, intelligent, and elegant. An elegant little restaurant by an elegant people.

‘everything is by turns, funny, intelligent, and elegant. An elegant little restaurant by an elegant people.’

Jumjoji is a small place but packed at 2PM on a Wednesday afternoon with just one empty table. The happy bustle of a busy restaurant, clink and clatter of cutlery and china mixed with sounds from the kitchen make the place buzz with energy. And the menu is a thoughtful one, appropriately filled with stories of a community that is at once open and friendly yet private and proud. With every dish named after the person whose recipe it supposedly is, the menu is filled with names like Zenobia Satarwala’s Chicken Cheese & Onion Sausage and Gul Shiavakasha’s Mutton Pulao.

We had Gul Shiavakasha’s Chicken Curry Rice and her Mutton Pulao and heavens that woman, whoever she is, knows her food! A quintessential and bright Cucumber Kachumbar (Katy Dalal’s recipe) rounded out our order.

The chicken curry was smooth and loaded with sweet onions, a mild curry flavor and was surprisingly, a coconut curry. Not as rich as north Indian creamy curries and richer but milder than Southern curries.

The mutton pulao sang with the smooth flavors of garam masala, ghee, and hearty, succulent, tender mutton. Every mouthful was a meaty morsel, flavor rich and well rounded with spice.

There was a rather nondescript daal along with the pulao which honestly was a bit of letdown and a slightly sad accompaniment to such a star dish. It tasted too much like either a pav bhaji or a sambhar from a corner Sai Sagar. But that is a very easily forgivable sin when the rest of the meal is memorable for months after.

A very generous meal for two or for three normal people will set you back around for Rs.960 without alcohol.

ONGC Colony, Near Lilavati Hospital, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West), Mumbai    

Tags: Parsi, restaurant, Mutton Pulao, Zeonobia, Sausage, chicken, non-vegetarian, meal, food eat, Indian, Lunch, Dinner

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