Friday, February 8, 2013
While Madras did have its share of Parsis and Zoroastrians, they were certainly not as numerous as those of Bombay. Yet, there were enough of them around for these kind of cafes to be recognized as a distinct niche - the Irani cafe.
They were probably the first 'chain' of cafes. The red-on-white lettering, with nothing else on it but 'Irani', was used by all such cafes. I remember just a few of these in Chennai. There were a couple on Mount Road, one near the Thousand Lights mosque and another near the Wallajah Road junction. There was one on General Patters Road. And then this one Thambu Chetty Street, George Town.
Though I remember them from school / college days, I can't for the life of me think about what unique cuisine they had. I don't think I've ever had dhansak or bun-maska at these places. But there is a faint whiff of those mutton samosas - small ones, deep fried.... or am I just dreaming? Does anyone remember what their favourite was at these joints?