The Irani Cafe, Kalyani Nagar
I like it when I see, old concepts maintained and renewed; with vigour of the new but the warmth and reach of the yore.
It is difficult to maintain the standards set by the old Irani cafes. Specifically, with the likes of Vohuman café still existing and kicking butt of a lot of new age breakfast places. Starting and growing an Irani café, in this age was probably tough but The Irani Café does stand out on this count.
It was a pleasant surprise to the see the interiors following the standards of all irani cafes. Almost the same as I had described in one of my earlier blogs on Irani cafes of Pune. The same wooden chairs, the red & white table cloth, the glass counter with cookies and cream rolls. Run by Mokhtar Yaveri with his brothers, they are born and brought up in Pune and frankly, I felt like I was talking to a Punekar. The difference though is the tone of “We from Camp” attitude 😊.
A unique chat
It was interesting to chat with Mokhtar about how his grand parents started some of the older cafes of Pune like Café Palace and Café Paris in the 1950s. (of course, I was not there during that time). What he is trying to do is, continue the legacy. The talk about Café Sunrise and Café Yezdaan and Kohinoor café took me a long way back to nostalgia.
The Irani café was started in 2015 and already has the buzz of a well settled café. Groups of people coming and having their favourite Irani chai, bun maska and cheese omelettes.
My attraction towards this café came from the name and my love for eating the food that the classics serve and also knowing that they have grown to 4 cafes in 4 years.
The Irani Chai and my love story, as usual
Believe me, the chai here comes right on top. They have put in the effort to maintain a good quality of tea. The flavour comes very close to that of Vohuman’s and Mahanaaz (cannot help but compare). Their black tea is something which I would say is unique.
To repeat what I wrote about the Irani Chai:
Irani Chai is special for a few reasons. The chai gives you a slightly burnt and minty flavour and a special blend of masalas which the Irani Café owners keep it secret.
The tea is also boiled long enough and is strong. The concoction is kept separate and the milk is always boiling. When ordered the taps of the concoction are opened straight into the cup and topped with creamy milk.
To come back, for me the chai at The Irani Café is compared to the best. Not only the tea, the chicken samosa, the veg samosa and above all the mutton kheema. As you can see from the photograph, I had already started the kheema before clicking the picture. The flavours are distinct, and the cardamom stands out in the kheema masala. Not spicy and surprisingly not oily. Must try.
They did not have the lamington cake but surely had the beautiful coconut cake. Again, something which every classic Irani café has.
For me, it is the classic bun maska with a plain omelette and a couple of cups of chai which still make my day.
He mentioned that they are planning to open-up on the western side of Pune soon. That would surely give me an option to indulge in my favourite breakfast on a regular basis. Although new age, but The Irani Café also gets added to my list of “must frequent”irani cafes in Pune.
Interestingly, we also spoke about some old bakeries of Pune, like Husseni and Ramsar bakery. This gave me a topic to write on for later.