This Parsi restaurant dating back to 1923 is a bastion for royalists. Still headed by the sprightly 96 year old patriarch and passionate Anglophile, Mr Boman Kohinoor (like the diamond, the legendary Mountain of Light, the centrepiece of the British Royal Crown.)whose Zoroastrian family immigrated to Bombay from Yazd in Iran in 1905. Mr Kohinoor tells you straight that India was much better under the British.
One reason for this (apart from his fervid devotion to Queen Elizabeth) is probably that under the British the minority community of Parsis were given educational opportunities and thus later did remarkably well financially. Think of the big financial names in India and you’ll find that a lot of them are Parsis: (the Taj hotel chain, Tata Industries to name just two).
Many Indians take the pro British opinions of the Parsis with a large grain of salt. They are notorious for their loyalty to The Crown. Indeed, Mr Kohinoor wrote to Her Majesty asking her to please return and straighten the country out.
We were so overwhelmed that if there had been a piano present we would have launched into a medley of Rule Britannia, God Save The Queen and The British Grenadier, (perhaps followed by the Hallelujah Chorus and, naturally, as you do, bringing it all home with Jerusalem.)
Mr Kohinoor’s opinions and letter writing, his knowledge of politics and events are staggering. He glibly listed the names of the several most recent PMs of Australia, in order, something which we’re sure many Australians would struggle to do. He listed the cities and the population, the main industries and GDP, reflected on the state of the Australian XI then confided to our increasingly astounded selves that he had written to Mrs Gillard advising her to resign as PM, and go home immediately and begin making babies in order to address the issue of our sadly underpopulated continent.
Had we not been sitting we would have reeled.
The founder of Brittania & Co, Rashid Kohinoor, was given his food and beverage license in 24 hours on the condition he gave the restaurant a suitably British name.
Set in the East India Company Port enclave Brittania & Co is surrounded by magnificent old stone buildings.
We opt for the celebrated Veg Berry Pulav. It is light but buttery, fragrant with spices and saffron threads, the vegetables, the potato bhajis, the rice, the bar berries each distinct but working well, flavourwise with each other- think of a perfectly working culinary UN.
I insist on trying the other celebrated dish – the caramel custard – a perfect crème caramel with a nutty rich caramel sauce and a custard that is like velvet on the tongue.
Brittania & Co Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road