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A PARSI feast on home turf



Great, authentic cuisine that is something to celebrate

DO YOU feel nostalgic about the sumptuous Navjote spread you last shared in Mumbai? Do you wish you could feast on dhansak, sali-boti, patra-ni-machchi, dhaldar patio, and lagan-nu-custar more often? If the answer is yes, your prayers have been answered. For each of these signature Parsi dishes is now available at the home-style Daddy's Deli in Richmond Town.

The brainchild of Zarine and Nozer Daroga, the two-year-old venture was initially a café that served submarines, tea sandwiches, and desserts to the area's office crowd. Their six-inch subs were chock full of chicken, tuna, chicken hot dog or roast beef (Rs. 60) or Russian salad, egg-potato, or cheese-celery-tomato (Rs. 40). Other choices included sumptuous meal-in-one club sandwiches or open-grilled sandwiches.

But since January 2003, they decided to add on Parsi speciality dishes to match Bangalore's eternal quest for new cuisines. At either yellow-green benches in the porch or an upstairs balcony, or the pale wooden tables indoors, each with its bright red runner replaced after each meal, Zarine looks after diners with unusual graciousness. As she chats about the Parsi fondness for eggs, their fish-based culinary fare, or the snippet-rich wall plaques containing the community's cultural lore, the appetite is well stoked.

The fare that follows is delightful. Take the traditional dhansak with brown rice and a kachumber salad. The medley of lentils and vegetables, delicately spiced, evokes scenes of Sunday afternoon lunches in Mumbai, teamed with perfectly-ground, succulent mutton kebabs that melt in the mouth. The sali boti or boneless mutton cubes in a sweet-sour gravy flavoured with apricots, topped with potato straws, proves a superb accompaniment to soft rotlies nestling within a screen-printed serviette.

Though Parsi fare favours the non-vegetarian, Daddy's Deli ensures that vegetarians have wide-ranging options. Their dhai bheeda of crisp bhindi in a sweet-sour yoghurt-based curry makes the diner reach for a second helping within seconds of a first bite with hot rotlies. The vegetarian dhansak is a connoisseur's delight, easy on both the digestive tract and the pocket. For non-vegans, the papeta-par-eeda, or beaten eggs with green chillies cooked over a base of potatoes, is a treat to begin the meal with.

But what of the fish? The restaurant's patra-ni-machhi, or green chutney-coated pomfret steamed in a banana leaf, is delicate and flakes easily within its lip-smacking delicate masala. The menu also boasts of dhandar patio, or rice and yellow dal, served with prawn curry or brinjal pickle, and leela kanda ne colmi no pulao of mildly spiced prawns in spring onion transformed into a festive rice dish.

Vegetarian fare from the 1,300-year-old cuisine spans crumb-fried pea and potato cutlets, a sweet-sour vegetable stew, the famed scrambled eggs or akoori, a red-gravy curry chawal, and khichri masoor. Most non-vegetarian dishes are priced between Rs. 90 to Rs. 120, while the vegetarian variants are priced at Rs. 90.

The dessert menu offers the traditional nutmeg-crusted, brown-topped rich lagan-nu-custar (Rs. 40), served either hot or cold. The other options are kulfi, vanilla-lemon cheesecake, and a dark, delicious chocolate mousse.

Are the Parsi menu and the quick bites all that Daddy's Deli woos the diner with? Not quite. From early February, they will offer a parquet-floored dance space upstairs with golden oldie music, where desserts and coffee will be served for a post-dinner time out.

This decidedly different restaurant offers an experience of home dining minus the labour, served on blue Khurja pottery to the tune of easy-listening music. Apart from the quick bytes (oops, bites) that the techie crowd love it for, their Parsi menu is worth a visit or more.

Daddy's Deli is at 12/3, Alexandra Street, Richmond Town. Phone: 2294594/ 51144937. It is open from 12 noon to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on Monday.


Ambience: Home away from home.
Service: Warm and family-like. A bell at each table makes waiter-access easy.
Wallet factor: Eminently affordable.
Specials: Authentic Parsi cuisine, served with a smile.

ADITI DE

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