Irani cafés are Iranian-style cafés in the Indian subcontinent. They were originally opened by Zoroastrian Irani immigrants to British India in the 20th century, fleeing Islamic persecution in West and Central Asia. Hyderabad, India boasts a number of Irani cafés, which are very popular for Irani chai (tea). In the 1950s, there were 350 Irani cafés; today, only 25 remain. Karachi, Pakistan, was also home to many Irani cafés.
Writing for the Hindu Business Line, on "Mumbai's Irani hotspots", Sarika Mehta stated, "The classic format of these cafes is basic with a subtle colonial touch; high ceilings with black, bent wooden chairs (now cane in some cafes), wooden tables with marble tops and glass jars that allow a peek into the goodies they hold. With huge glass mirrors on the walls to create a feeling of space, visitors are greeted with eagerness and a whiff of baking. The speed of operations is impressive and service quite hassle-free."
Mumbai cafés may serve bun maska (bread and butter) and paani kam chai (a strong Iranian tea, lit. 'tea with less water'), or khari chai (very strong tea), mutton samosas, and kheema pav (minced meat served in bread rolls), akuri (scrambled eggs and vegetables), berry pulao, vegetable puff, vegetarian/chicken dhansak (a spiced lentil dish with meat and vegetables) and biryani, cherry cream custard, cheese khari biscuits, plain khari biscuits, coconut jam and milk biscuits and Duke's raspberry drink.
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- India's Iranian cafes fading out by Jayshree Bajoria for BBC News, Mumbai
- Mumbai's Irani hotspots – Sarika Mehta in Hindu Business line
- AOL News Blog - Sunanda Sudhir
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