Furnishings: B. Merwan & Co. (1914)
Frere Bridge, Grant Road.
Folks if you thought PM Narendra Modi’s PR campaign was clever wait till you get a hold of this. B. Merwan & Co., the 100-year old Irani café that announced in January that it was shutting down and caused a sensation
– frenzied last visits to the café, a spiral in the sales of Mawa Cakes, global media coverage, hourly updates on the health of the ailing institution by two young photographers, a Facebook page dedicated to the café –
has decided to reopen after a months closure.
Photo by Hashim Badani, who witnessed the closing and opening ceremony at the cafe.
Signage: Express Restaurant (1965)
Ground Floor, Adi Mansion, Grant Road (presently Maulana Shaukat Ali Road).
When all castes and all native converts to Christianity could finally break brun and maska (bread and butter) on a round table in a restaurant together, Bombay was its cosmopolitan best.
Converts had fallen out of caste with their original community when they had converted to Christianity and were eventually, grudgingly accepted back into the community’s fold.
Partner: Café Military
(1933) Ali Chamber, Medows Street, Fort (presently Nagindas Master Road).
Back in the 1960s, riding his Triumph Tiger 100, Behram Khosravi was so tough that even Bombay’s local roughs- Mahim’s Alex Dada, Matunga’s Narayan Papaya, Shivaji Park’s Bhaskar Rao and Dadar’s Mania Surve- all kept a safe distance. Behram would cruise around Bombay and beyond supervising his father’s bakeries and restaurants spread across the city as well as manage the family’s vadis (orchards) located in the hinterland.
Today at 76, wearing a red Budweiser tee, his mean machine is a black and yellow taxi which he takes from his home in Mazagon to his restaurant Café Military at Medows Street.