“Mildew covered Strange old buildings”, are the words that come to mind each time I’m in Ballard Estate. The reason for today’s visit - food, more specifically a type of food , even more specifically a restaurant and to be honest one particular dish - Berry Pulao . What am I talking about you say ? - good ole’ Britannia of course. At the corner of this hugely commanding wonder of oxidation, the War Memorial and opposite New Customs House, where “new” is a tag the building has long grown out of is “Britannia & Co.” A restaurant who’s philosophy “There is no love greater than the love of eating," puts everything into perspective for me, another self affirming moment in my short life.
Even though you count the Parsi joints in Bombay[well in India] on you’re fingers, Edward VIII, Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy, Paradise, Piccolo just to name a few, but out of all these places Britannia & Co is pretty special. I’m not taking about their fabulous Dhansak which I would count as the best dhansak I’ve ever eaten after Dorabjee’s Poona of course - it’s their Berry Pulao. A dish that makes them unique. As BusyBee famously said, “If it’s Berry Pulao, it must be Britannia.”
Equally popular is the restaurant's berry pulao, Rs.60 [NOW 160 RS] for mutton and chicken, Rs.45 for veg [NOW 90]. They are the Barberry Berries, at least, I think so. They grow wild in the Middle East, on spindly shrubs, a red berry. In Iran, they are used with rice, in restaurants and in homes, and Britannia's berry pulao comes from Iran. The late Mrs. Kohinoor, though a Parsi, meaning not an Iranian, spent seven years in Teheran as legal assistant to Iran Airways, and brought back with her the berry pulao.- Eating out with Busy Bee
In Iran, the berries are known as zereshk, and the pulao as zereshk pulao. The berries are dry, like raisins, but sour and with a sweet aftertaste. Mr. Kohinoor compares them to dry pomegranate. I would not know, I have not seen a dry pomegranate.
In any case, the berries are cooked with the best quality of basmati rice, then the marinated and masalaed meat placed between layers of the rice. And there is a garnish of cashewnuts and fried onions. Plus, a few kababs. Note: This is the only place in India that you get berry pulao.
So if you’re looking for some great Parsi food - Salli Boti, Dhansak & daily specials and not to mention their famous Berry Pulao, Britannia is the place to be.
What did we Order ?
My family lives by this simple moto when we’re at a Restaurant - It’s better to over order than under eat. We are not afraid to carry doggy bags back home.
1 Mutton Dhansak [Comes with rice]
1 Chicken Dhansak [Comes with rice]
1 Berry Pulao
1 Bombil [Bombay Duck] Fry
1 Salli Boti
2 Caramel Custurds
Note: Everything was Brilliant.
Address in Full : Britannia and Company Restaurant, Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16, Ballar Estate (Pier); (91-22) 22615264. Open for lunch, snacks and drinks Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but lunch only 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Closed Sunday. No reservations or credit cards.