The popular SodaBottleOpenerWala brand has launched a new menu which goes beyond the classic Mumbai and Parsi-Irani flavours to make it more encompassing of different tastes and cultures
Recently when we were invited to taste the new menu of SodaBottleOpenerWala, one of the diners asked Chef Irfan Pabaney if the dishes were free of calories, to which he replied in the affirmative. “Yes, actually the menu is calorie-free and diners will get free calories from it,” he quipped. Everybody burst into laughter. Surely the new menu does not qualify for calorie-free but the diners will now get to see a whole new range of delectable dishes that have been added to the menu, which reflects the quintessential spirit of a Mumbai and Parsi food culture, along with the unique signature dishes of Pabaney, who has recently joined the brand as its country head. He informed us that the number of dishes has been increased and that’s a pleasant surprise for the regular comers.
“We were going bananas over fitting all these in the menu, which simply kept evolving. I have been with the company for seven months now. For me this is the first time I have been able to change this kind of menu and it was a challenge for me because I love Indian food but it never has been my forte. I have been with restaurants where food was fairly western. I studied in Singapore and did a course in pan-Asian food and I grew up in Philippines; so for me the Southeast Asian influence has been huge,” he said.
Chef Pabaney was born in Bogota, Colombia and lived the first four years of his life in South America, thanks to his father being with the United Nations. He moved to the Philippines in 1970, where he lived till 1979 – hence his love for Southeast Asia – before moving to Nigeria, and subsequently back to India in 1980. He has been at the helm of some of the most notable restaurants in the 27 years that he has been in this sector. Under the Over, Seijo and the Soul Dish, Indigo and Hakkasan have been some of the restaurants that he has been associated with.
About 20 years later he finally decided to branch out on his own along with his partner and co-owner to start their dream restaurant, The Sassy Spoon. This was his last stint before joining SodaBottleOpenerWala. This particular menu in which he has infused much culinary creativity, in fact, goes beyond the classic Mumbai and Parsi flavours, encompassing dishes from other parts of the country, which have been inspired from those communities living in Mumbai. As for instance, Mutton Pepper Fry and Egg-Wrapped Kheema Pulao, which are inspired from the local bars of Mumbai.
Sharing his trade secret on what triggered the idea of creating this new culinary outlay, Pabaney said, “My focus was to make the Parsi-Irani and Mumbai street food spread even more exciting at SodaBottleOpenerWala, which is why we are reflecting dishes inspired from communities living in Mumbai along with a lot of new vegetarian options too.” While the most loved and popular signature items such as Berry Pulao, Dhansak, Salli Chicken, Chicken Farcha and the Bhendi Bazaar Sheekh Paratha will continue to be a part of the menu, some new additions are set to tickle your taste buds.
These include bar snacks such as Kundapuri Prawn, Staff Pickle Achari Murg, Methi Fish Tikki, and Meatless Baida Roti. In the sandwiches and bread section they have the Bombay Raasta Sandwich and the Classic Egg Sandwich being bought back into the menu due to popular demand from their regular patrons. The main course has some new additions like Egg-Wrapped Kheema Pulao, Papeta and Gobi Nu Bhaji, Coconutwala Daal, Dhai Ma Bheeda, Chicken Ghee Roast, Dahi Ma Gosht, to name a few. A few more exciting ones include the Khari Pizzas and the restaurant’s all new take on the Patra Ni Macchi with Sol, a river fish, served with lemon rice.