It was neatly tucked into a busy by-lane behind Flora Fountain. Knowing my love for Irani Cafes (here’s my piece on Café Britannia & Co.) it caught my attention immediately – A bright red triangular roof and plethora of vintage signs outside. The aroma of fresh bread wafted across, completing the happy sight.
Being the click happy person that I am, I immediately posted a photograph onto my Instagram.
And that’s when the glowing recommendations of Cafe Yazdani started pouring in. “Their apple pie is delicious! I have been devouring them since I was a kid. Go around tea time when they made a fresh batch,” suggested Yesha. Another friend Subhash confirmed that Yazdani truly had the “best damned brun maska, egg tarlets and apple pie around.”
I was sold. I wanted my piece of pie!
The very next day, I trooped right back with Kunal in tow. We had called in advance to ensure that the pie was indeed available (it’s very popular and they often run out).
The Yazdani experience was as delightful as I’d have expected (and hoped). There were only four tables, so we squeezed into a shared table with two young girls. A large blackboard announced Café Yazdani’s specials, but I had already made up my mind!
Cafe Yazdani has a fascinating story to tell. The building originally housed a Japanese bank, which operated through World War II. Subsequent to the war, Meherwan Zend started the Yazdani Restaurant & Bakery in 1950. He named the named after the historic town of Yazd in Iran, considered to be a hub of Iranian culture. For the first three decades Yazdani served dhansak, dal rice, kheema pav, biryani and other such staple Irani fare. It was only in the 1980s that they shifted focus and became a bakery and boulangerie.
Today, Meherwan’s three sons, Rashid, Zend, Parvez and their descendants run the bakery.
I was snapped out of my fascinated reverie by the arrival of the much anticipated apple pie (‘chai and pie’ as Chandni called it). We dug right in – and my, was it delicious. Warm and soft, the apple pie had pieces of plum too. It melted right in my mouth! The portion was large enough for two people to share and we gobbled it up happily.
We also ordered a chocolate cake, but it was terribly average when compared to the apple pie. Despite wanting to try the generously buttered brun pav, I was too full so left that for another day.
Happily well fed, I looked around a little more. I was struck by a wall filled with sepia photographs of the bakery and its history. A shiny metallic plaque (the newest looking thing in the café) announced that Yazdani had been awarded heritage status in 2007.
Is this a place you should visit? God yes. And here’s why:
- Yazdani’s ‘chai and pie’ – A lethal combination.
- It is a place so heavily seeped in history and heritage – you will only fall in love with Bombay a little more.
- The delightful smell of fresh bread
- If you’re lucky, you might be treated to a plethora of colourful stories by the owners, all kind old men with a quick sense of humour
- Irani cafes are fast disappearing in the city. Enough said. Read: Five Things To Do In Bombay (Before It’s Too Late)
- Feel the pulse of the city as people come and go, packing in a brun pao and Irani chai before getting on their way
Cafe Yazdani is located at Fountain Akbar Ally, Saint Thomas Cathedral, Fort, Mumbai. Telephone: 022 22870739
Have you been to Yazdani Bakery? What was your experience like? Tell us!
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