The Parsi Cafes including Britannia & Co., the last one that is left in Mumbai, India, were introduced in India during the 1800s by the Zoroastrians, who were fleeing from religious persecution in Persia, their native homeland. It did not take much time to gain popularity, as it became famous over the years as it provided an open and free platform for different caste members to interact freely.
Years have passed and the several generations witnessed the amazing Paris Cafes but sadly most of them have died over this change in time. By not, the cosmopolitan cafes have almost touched the stage of reaching their deathbeds, more so, because of the introduction of the modern franchise Cafes.
The modern cafes attract a greater number of people than these traditional ones, making the survival of the latter difficult.
Britannia & Co is the last and only Parsi Cafe in Mumbai with an age close to 100 years. The brown walls of the Cafe are already peeling at all ends and the ceiling is nearly damaged. In fact, the cash register is also made of a number of old wooden drawers.
However, talking about the dilapidating conditions of the Cafe, it owner Romin Kohinoor says that the interiors are seen as an element of attraction.
Parsis are known to have a long and deep connection in the history of India. Before India gained independence, the cafe offered mainly lighter European meals, but after independence, it changed the menu, including a slew of Iranian comfort food. Most of the dishes included the original recipes of the owner’s wife.
The 27 year old daughter of the owner Diana says that she would not let the Parsi Cafe’s go extinct and dreams to continue the Parsi legacy for long.