B Merwan (Ali Bhai Remji Road, Opposite Station, Grant Road East, Mumbai)


In a nutshell:
In my right mind – A 100+ year old legendary Parsi Bakery that sells awesome food at unbelievably rock bottom prices.

After going thru 30 minutes of roller coaster at B Merwan early in the morning – A must visit, unmissable, foodie’s heaven, (almost) madhouse* that serves outstanding breakfast at century old (exaggeration) prices.

facade
facade

A very informative & good article on this subject – Live mint

Address & other details:  B Merwan

Meal for 2: 60 onwards

Cuisine type :  vegetarian, non-vegetarian

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give an honest account of the same to you.

Day 1 we spent Rs. 100, Day 2 we sent Rs. 115. No bill.

I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.

Short description – in case u r in a hurry:

We had heard about B Merwan from many foodies. We remembered someone mentioning that by 7 am their dishes start getting sold out.

Mawa cake
Mawa cake

We thought we were smart movers – so reached there at 6.30 am to find a sea of people outside and inside. We entered the restaurant to realize that it had many interesting things inside.

The ceiling was high with beams running across it. A part of the restaurant, near the entrance was a provision store.

inside the restaurant
inside the restaurant

On the right side there was a delivery counter – people taking home breads/ cupcakes / Pattice etc. the guys at this counter were super-fast like programmed robots and were listening to the order, packing it in jet speed, handing over the parcel and telling the amount.

Plating counter
Plating counter

Customers were then carrying the parcel to the payment counter, saying the amount, paying and going off. No tokens, no waiter accompanying, no screaming of amount etc. Now, that is called trust.

The walls had huge mirrors with wooden frames with small hand written notice boards on them – like ‘no smoking’ etc.

One pillar in the center had photographs of I guess the founder & the next generations. A menu card was written below it.

Menu card & photographs
Menu card & photographs

Day 1 we got an entry to ‘ladies and family’ section thanks to lady Yummraj’s presence. It was a different place altogether as compared to the ‘stampede for food’ happening outside. The family room was empty, nice, spacious (on a relative scale).

'ladies and family' section
‘ladies and family’ section

Day 2 the same ‘family room’ entry did not work inspite of Lady YUMMRAJ’s presence as we reached at 6am. We were told that the family section opens close to 7 am. So we had to wait at the general section.

A view of kitchen from Dining HAll
A view of kitchen from Dining HAll

The dynamics were very different in the general section. Customers come to the dining floor, looked around, guessed which table is almost done , they did go and stand near that table and pounced on the chairs as soon as it wud get empty.  No one was bothered about who is sharing their table.

Guy at delivery counter separating veg Pattice from its mould / plate.
Guy at delivery counter separating veg Pattice from its mould / plate.

First half of our breakfast we shared table with 3 daily wage earners and second half of our breakfast we shared table with 3 young girls and a middle aged man, all of who seemed to just have come out of a Hindi movie that was depicting a ‘dance bar’ plot.

first time customer standing confused, trying to figure out how to get a seat.
first time customer standing confused, trying to figure out how to get a seat.

The waiter we got in day 2 was an old man with a short term memory loss. He wud take orders 3-4 times for the same thing and wud forget and we wud keep reminding. So we saw few items come from kitchen & by the time the guy wud remember, it wud finish.

Mawa cake
Mawa cake

Then I came up with this trick – I was keeping an eye on the kitchen. Whenever something new wud come out, one tray wud go to the takeaway section and the other wud go to the plating section from where the waiter was getting our food.

Mawa samosa
Mawa samosa

So I started going to the takeaway, buying the food, return to seat and eat it. This trick made sure I was not dependent on the forgetful waiter any more. Innovation, U see.

Our waiter & other waiters I cud see were having ups & lows in their dealings. Violent mood swings from a very deep frown to an ear to ear smile in a span of 5 minutes was just unbelievable. At one moment they spoke with the authority of a Royal butler & the other moment they pleaded like a human ‘4 baje se daur bhag chal raha hai’.

huge mirrors on the walls
huge mirrors on the walls

We saw the Owner, an elderly Parsi gentleman get into fights with bunch of young boys and finally he asked them to get out of the restaurant. Again at another time I saw him helping people get a seat or get the order delivered fast. He was personally welcoming people to the family section. I was amazed at how he was constantly keeping watch over all matters, at this age – I hope I am as active at his age.

It was not just an early morning breakfast any more but watching what was happening around was highly entertaining.

Mawa samosa
Mawa samosa

We realized that here People eat what they r given and not necessarily what they have in mind when they came here.

pudding
pudding

If food is the reason u usually go to a restaurant, this one is a must visit. If u r low on patience, do not go here. Nothing else – service, ambience etc shud b given importance when going here. Ur tastebuds wud thank u for taking them here.

Omelet Pav
Omelet Pav

Inspite of all the madness that was happening, in hindsight I see a method in madness*. An institution that has so successfully maintained its standards while charging very low prices surely has greatness inbuilt in it.

another corner
another corner

Food is outstanding, at absurdly low prices (compared to the taste and quality).

Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

Mawa samosa – This was the first item we took a bite into – and was almost shell shocked in disbelief!!!! Crispy outer layer filled with mildly sweetened mawa. Lack adjectives to describe it. Rate it 4.95/5.

Mawa samosa
Mawa samosa

Mawa cake was a revelation as well. The cake was kind of crisp on the outer side and relatively soft on the inside. It was not soft but not hard as well. The flavour of the cake was unique and I cud feel it with all my senses. The mawa ensured that the cake was less fluffy and had a mild daanedaar effect. Super loved it and rate it 4.75/5.

Mawa cake
Mawa cake

Omelet Pav was an omelet served with super soft sliced Pav. The omelet was as good a simple omelet cud get – nothing exotic, nothing out of the world. It had perfect seasoning. Rate it 4/5.

omelet served with pav
omelet served with pav

We were kind of disappointed to hear that they were left with only veg Pattice. When it came on the plate, it was as unpressive visually as it cud b.

veg Pattice
veg Pattice

However a bite into the Pattice changed our perception. The outer was a culmination of millions (exaggerated in excitement) of layers of super crisp flakes. The inside had the most unimpressive looking carrot cubes that tasted outstanding. Again it was unbelievable how good the dish was. Rate it 4.75/5

veg Pattice
veg Pattice

We tried pudding that was served to us in a aluminum foil box. It had developed a thin layer on top during baking. The dish was low on sugar and had good flavour. Rate it 4.25/5

pudding
pudding

In house baked Biscuit was excellent. Mildly sweet, daanedar, crisp and moist at the same time. Just too good. Rate it 4.5/5

IMG_9322

Brune  Maska was a bun shaped bread with a hard outer crust and soft inside. Was very enjoyable with just plain Amul butter. Rate it 4/5.

broon maska
broon maska

The chai was Ok. Rate it 3/5. Olympia Chai was so much better.

Overall rating of food averages out to 4.5/5

Overall rating of food & beverages averages out to 4.3/5. Look forward to many more visits.

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