Britannia and Co. is an iconic restaurant – to say the least. It’s one of the must-dos in Mumbai by every possible travel guides – especially the international ones. No wonder that foreigners flock this dilapidated café without fail during their visit to Mumbai. Is it really worth the hype – Yes & No.
The restaurant dates back to many decades and probably hasn’t been renovated since then. The walls are falling off, there are bags of Atta next to tables and the management is probably as old as the place itself. That’s actually the charm of the place that they just don’t bother to do anything and still you will have people queueing for hours to get in. The old & older gentlemen sitting in the counter are quite oblivious of how the world has moved on and the sign on one of the boards summarizes their feelings best – “Do not argue with the management”. Priceless
The food is good – is it the best, not really. The Berry Pulao is the signature dish followed by Mutton Sali Boti. Berry pulao is excellent. The sourness of the berries (apparently imported from middle east) compliments the rice and the meat therein perfectly. Servings are decent and the waiters attentive (except for peak hours). The keema, dhansak and fish dishes are very popular here as well. Majority of the patrons are regular Paris from SoBo and scores of office goers in suits & ties, getting down from the Mercs and BMWs. A few facts:
• They only open for lunch, that too Mon – Sat. Sundays closed
• No Credit Cards – keep cash handy. No printed bill either nor Service Tax / Charge included
• No air conditioning
• Have unique drinks like Ice-cream soda and aerated Raspberry drinks (please avoid) not found anywhere
• The old 90 yr gentlemen might drop in for a chat with the menu cards, sharing stories about how he scolded Abhisek Bachchan for not coming with Aishwarya or showing a picture of Kate and Harry who have never been to India !!
Hygiene is frankly sad although the tables are decent. The kitchen is frankly out of a Charles Dicken’s novel and don’t even think of using the washroom – which is a walk through the kitchen with bare bodies cooks and well, not so clean.
The food here is surprisingly expensive – actually crazy for the kind of infrastructure they have. A plate of Mutton Berry Pulao for Rs. 550, Chapati’s for Rs. 30; Mutton Sali Boti – Rs. 350 … not really worth repeat visits to be honest. There are newer and better Parsi joints that serve excellent food nearby and in Bandra… but this one is a must visit for old time’s sake. Just once …