Food Fight: Which Parsi Joint Makes The City’s Best Chicken Cutlet?
The cutlet is to the Parsis what khaman is to the Gujaratis – integral to their diet and a common accompaniment with their meals. While every Parsi household and Irani joint has its own take on the cutlet, the snack is essentially a combination of meat (typically chicken or mutton), potato, bread and frequently but not always semolina that’s cloaked in a raw egg wash and deep fried. We chomped on chicken cutlets across eight Irani cafes and bakeries to find the ones with the most perfect texture, the optimum potato to meat ratio, and the best price. Two emerged joint winners:
Belgaum Ghee Depot
Ground Floor, Oswal Bhavan, N. Bharucha Marg, Nana Chowk, Grant Road. Tel: 022 2388 7746.
The hidden gem of a ghee shop also doles out stellar Parsi snacks such as sandwiches, rolls, puffs, patties and quiches, and sweet and savoury bakes. Their hefty and handsomely-portioned chicken cutlets tick all the boxes – they’re well stuffed with shredded (instead of minced) chicken, padded with the right amount of potato, and have the perfect balance of salt and spice.
Rating: ★★★★☆ WINNER
Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, Ballard Estate, Fort. Tel: 022 2615 264.
At the city’s most feted Parsi joint, chicken cutlets make up a main dish as opposed to a snack. Their well-portioned tear-shaped cutlets fill the length of a regular-sized tin foil box and are accompanied by a sweet and spicy plum sauce and salli, neither of which were relevant to our decision. They pack a sufficient filling of chicken minimally seasoned with pepper and salt into the flattened cutlets robed in a thin egg batter. The dish is filling and comforting; however at Rs350 for only two cutlets, it’s not quite value for money.
Dadar Parsee Youth Assembly
Perviz Hall, 800 Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar Parsi Colony, Dadar (East). Tel: 022 2412 9437.
This kitchen and take-away in the midst of the leafy and peaceful Dadar Parsi Colony offers decent Parsi bhonu. Their lacy cutlets, prepared at 10am, usually run out just before lunch time. While the quantity of chicken is generous, our batch of the fried snack lacked salt.
Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort. Tel: 022 2262 1930 or order from Scootsy.
Cutlets are not on the menu at this dependable Parsi institution in Fort, but chicken kebabs are. The Parsi kebab is identical to the cutlet but is rendered as a round, fried, minced meatball rather than a flat and oblong patty. Ideal Corner’s bite-sized and tender kebabs – they serve three to a plate – enclose peppery, ginger-scented mince and are all too easy to pop.
Vikas Building, Bank Street, near Horniman Circle, Fort. Tel: 022 2270 0880 or order from Scootsy.
The all-day cafe strays from the Parsi standard of serving cutlets dipped in egg. Instead our order comprised two sturdy breaded cutlets filled with a spiced chicken mince flavoured with garlic. It’s a delicious appetiser albeit somewhat inauthentic.
Parsi Amelioration Committee
Shashtri Hall, Shop No.3, Ground Floor, opposite Adenwala Bungalow, near Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo. Tel: 022 2386 5868.
It’s worth awaiting your turn for the hot and fresh Parsi goodies retailed at this perennially busy matchbox of a shop in Tardeo. Their consistently tasty and thus best-selling rawa-robed chicken cutlets are plumped with spiced potato and an equal amount of chicken mince flecked with coriander.
Rating: ★★★★☆ WINNER
35 N. S. Patkar Marg, Hughes Road, near Westside. Tel: 022 6623 6969. Also at 788 Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar Parsi Colony, Dadar (East). Tel: 022 2414 8513. Holland House, opposite Regal Cinema, behind Delhi Darbar, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba. Tel: 022 2202 0117.
If you strained one of RTI’s grease drenched cutlets, we suspect it would yield a teacup’s worth of oil. Beneath the oil slick is a measly filing of bland chicken mince.
Bansilal Mansion, Homi Modi Street, diagonally opposite Bombay House, Fort. Tel: 022 2265 4030.
This homely hangout has mastered the chicken dhansak but struggles with the chicken cutlet. We got an overfried potato and onion rather than chicken loaded patty that was entirely forgettable.