Bandra’s hidden Parsi gem… Snack Shack, Pali Naka, Mumbai

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I realised that when people ask me about Parsi restaurants I talk about Ideal CornerCafe Military, Britannia and Jimmy Boy in South Mumbai but never about good old Snack Shack which is in my backyard at Bandra’s Pali Naka.

A case of ‘ghar ka murgi daal barabar’ the Hindi equivalent of the English proverb, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, or, in this case, ‘dhansak barabar’ if you will allow me the PJ.

Snack Shack was set up by Minoo Pavri about 16 years ago as I wrote in the Legends of Bandra Finely Chopped Walk announcer. Minoo didn’t have a catering background but wanted to set up a restaurant where he could serve the food that he loved to cook.

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Snack Shack is located bang on Pali Naka opposite Punjab Sweets and 5 Spice. It is a little cafe with about 4 or 5 tables where you can sit and eat surrounded by the cacophony of the traffic around you. Alternately you could call for food from there which is what we have been doing for about a decade now.

Snack Shack has a few daily items like the sandwiches and my late father in law loved their club sandwiches and chicken mayo sandwiches. The sali boti is available everyday too and I would often take this for my late grandmother in law who was fond of this as well as the patrani machhi which is available on weekends.

K loves the chicken cutlets and occasionally has got them to serve to guests at our place too and they used to be quite popular in our parties. K is also a big fan of the salli par eendu here which is a fried egg served on a bed of potato straws.  Apart from being a hit with K the Bawi, the non Parsis in the Bandra Legends Finely Chopped Walk loved it too.

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That evening the sali boti was quite a hit too. Folks in the walk just couldn’t get enough of this Parsi mutton dish with potato straws strewn in it.

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I am a big fan of the dhansak here. Last Sunday Bunkin Banu was doing her thing and was bunking so we had to call in for lunch. I suggested calling in from Snack Shack.

I had a chicken dhansak which was absolutely delicious and they gave a leg piece as per my request. The meat was juicy and the dal interestingly spicy compared to other dhansaks that I have had and I quite enjoyed the chilli hit. K, who is a big dhansak daal lover, took a bit of the daal and broke into a big smile of feeling completely at home. The way I feel at Bhojohori Manna or Arsalan (which has recently shut down).

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For K we ordered a patrani machhi. They sent a whole fish or chhamna as the Parsis call it. It cost five hundred bucks but K absolutely loved it. I tasted a bit and liked the fact that the chutney was not overtly sweet. The fish was quite fresh and pretty big in size. I think it used to cost about Rupees two hundred when we used to take it for K’s granny. This time K ate it for both of them and I am sure Mamma gave a bit single toothed smile up there seeing the banana leaf steamed pomfret.  

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So you don’t always have to head to South Mumbai if you want a ‘cheap and cheerful’, as Rashmi Uday Singh calls it, Parsi meal. Ashmick’s Snack Shack in Bandra is quite a good option too.

Or you can head to Jumjoji for a more modern version of ye olde Irani cafe but for a romantic at heart like me, Ashmick’s Snack Shack is closer to the real deal. (March 2017: It is now shut)

In case you wondered if the dhansak at Snack Shack was authentic, the fact that I snoozed for three hours after the Sunday lunch should settle all doubts.

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