Motorcycles, food and wine. A carefree and happy sounding combination. And the mantra by which Pervez Patel lives his life. It’s no surprise then that he converted a motorcycle garage for those ‘50s Czech classics, Jawa and Yezdi, into a café.
And what a place to reinvent the wheel! Located in an art deco building, Ideal Corner has an enviable façade. Blue columns greet you outside and the bright and chirpy feel inside is inviting. So is the food.
As a teenager, when Pervez wasn’t hanging around motorcycles, he would be in the kitchen, eagerly watching his mother and aunts conjure up delectable Parsi cuisine, taking in every little detail keenly.
Then 26 years ago, he thought it was time to put his skills to the test. Pervez began by serving Parsi snacks – chicken rolls, cutlets, kebabs and biscuits. As the popularity grew, he included one main course dish daily. Encouraged by the response, he expanded his menu to include all the traditional Parsi staples.
For the uninitiated, Parsi cuisine is a tantalising mix of Persian food influenced by the Gujarati style of cooking. The curries are spice laden and flavoured with nuts and apricots. The food is primarily non vegetarian. Vegetables, when they make their rare appearance, are topped with eggs.
And at Ideal Corner, it’s served the way it’s supposed to. I love their Jerdaloo Salli Gosh (tender mutton in a rich gravy with apricots, garnished with deep fried slivers of potatoes). And I once remember eating many portions of their Patra Fish (pomfret marinated in a green chutney and steamed in a banana leaf). And on many occasions I’ve sneaked a quick nap after devouring their Dhansak (mutton cooked with spiced lentils, served with browned rice and kebabs). And I have survived the rest of the day without any sustenance after eating their Bharuchi Akuri (eggs scrambled with cream, raisins, cashew nuts and finally tossed with salli).
And the food hits the spot every time. That’s because Pervez cares about what goes in. The masalas and spices he uses are lovingly hand pounded by a Parsi family in Nagpur, central India, whose speciality it is. The vinegar he uses is made from natural sugarcane juice.
No wonder then that he travels the country, invited by Parsi families, to personally cook for special occasions.
So, “Chalo jumva avoji” … Come, let’s eat. Again.
Ideal Corner: 12/F/G, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort, Mumbai 400001, India. Tel: +91 (22) 22621930. Breakfast: 9 am-11.30 am. Lunch: 11.30 am-4.30 pm. Sunday closed.