SodaBottleOpenerWala – Nostalgia. Heritage. Bhonu.

Disclaimer – This is not a review. It would not be fair to review places or things that are sentimentally close to your heart.

Being a Zoroastrian Irani, I feel proud of my community’s contribution towards evolving the cultural landscape of a city back then known as ‘Bombay’. Irani cafes or restaurants are what initiated the dining out concept in colonial Raj. Irani restaurants were among the first community spaces that threw open their  doors to people of all caste, creed, religion and socio economic status alike, and served them copious amounts of chai with bun maska. You could be a British Army cadet, stock market babu, or a roadside vendor – an Irani restaurant would serve you equally and generously.

The journey of the Irani restaurant has been beautiful and colossal. What started off as a single Irani gentleman selling chai to office goers from his ‘sigdi’, which later culminated into restaurants that served Parsi dishes and bakery products in addition to the humble chai. And then there is SodaBottleOpenerWala (SBOW) which is attempting to redefine the Irani cafe experience, without altering the sanctity of what an Irani cafe should be. Modern yet quirky, idiosyncratic, and nostalgic – dining at SBOW, which has just launched at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), tugged at my heartstrings because it is a beautiful attempt at trying to preserve the dying legacy of Irani restaurants.

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Three Reasons to Dine at Olive Bistro, Goregaon

It’s sad how scarce the fine dine options get once you travel past Andheri. The launch of Olive Bistro in Goregaon’s Oberoi Mall serves as an oasis in the middle of a scorched desert. It is a breath of fresh air to Mumbai residents who live beyond the Andheri Line Of Control. Why should SoBo-ites have all the fun?

Olive Bistro (OB), is the modern, casual bistro version of Bandra’s Olive Bar and Kitchen that arrives in Mumbai after making a mark in Pune, Hyderabad and Delhi. The vibe here is fun, quirky and a contrast of colour as opposed to the white washed older sibling, that is Olive. The food here is comforting, deli fare with modern elements. I spent a Sunday afternoon there leisurely checking out the place, tasting the menu, and enjoying what Olive Bistro has to offer. It was a perfectly beautiful Sunday brunch – how Sunday brunches should be. Here are three reasons why you should consider checking out Olive Bistro –

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An Open Letter….

Blogging For Kids Under 13: Advantages and Disadvantages

I have been wanting to write this letter since a while. But the fear of getting embroiled in controversy – which I seem to have a knack of doing so – kept me quiet. But experience has taught me one thing, for every ten people who support you and love what you do, there will be that one person who will try and pull you down. You’ve got to take in in your stride, learn from the criticism and walk on.

It seems to have become a fad to hate food bloggers, diss what they do on social media, and criticize their work in private. Some of the stuff out there deserves to be criticized, but some bloggers work hard to do what they do. This is a heartfelt letter, but in no way am I representing the community. 

Blogging For Kids Under 13: Advantages and Disadvantages
(Image Courtesy

Dear haters/ trolls,

Anyone who writes for a living, or as a hobby, will tell you one thing…writing isn’t easy. For every good post that is churned out, there are hours spent staring at a blank screen not knowing what to put out there. Some of us work hard to generate content. For some of us writing may not come easy. But we try.

It is your decision to read what we post. Feel free to click on the red cross on the top right hand of your screen. Feel free not to click on the link that I post on social media to gain readership. I will write what I like, it is your choice to read it or not.

Yes, the food blogging situation has become dismal. But not all of us are free loaders. Not all of us are doing it for one free meal at a restaurant. For some blogging is their career. They make a living out of writing on their blog, or for other publications. For some of us, including me, blogging is simply a hobby. A hobby that thrills us to such an extent that we stay awake at night pondering over what to write next. And sadly for some of us, blogging has become a means of making a quick buck, attaining a fast road to fame. From the latter part of my community, a sincere heartfelt apology. 
Yes the free meals are a perk that comes with being a food blogger. Similarly are free branded clothes, free beauty products, free gadgets, free travel. You get what I am hinting at.

Dear upcoming food bloggers,

For anyone who has just started to blog, I only ask one question, ‘why do you want to do this?’ If you are getting into this because you think it’s going to be an easy road to becoming a celeb on social media, or for free meals at restaurants that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford….then it saddens me. Write about food because it’s a passion. Reading about new cuisines, trying new dishes, experimenting in the kitchen is something that gives you a high!

Your blog is your identity. Please put up content that you’ll feel proud of. It is okay to make mistakes. Hell, even the best of bloggers have done that. It is okay to not know everything. If you did, you would be a judge on Masterchef Australia. But try and gain the maximum that you can. Read up recipes and cuisines on google. Travel and eat new dishes to understand world cuisine. If you cannot, the city of Mumbai has enough to offer. Experiment in the kitchen. Only when you cook, you will realize how difficult it is. It will make you humble, and think twice before criticizing a cook at a restaurant you go to review.

Please do not blackmail restaurants into giving you a free meal. Do not force them to pay you to publish a review.  If they say no plus ones allowed, respect that. Write consistently, and write well. There will be a time invitations will flood your inbox, and you’ll have to refuse more invites than you accept.

Most importantly, let us support each other. Help each other to grow, cherish and learn.

Dear PR Professionals,

I honestly have no major grouse from you guys. I have met some wonderful folks, and made some lovely friends among the PR companies I have worked with. We must remember one thing though. Respect. We share a symbiotic relationship. We bloggers must respect you, but only if you’ll respect us back,

Do not address mails to me with the incorrect name. (I know there are a lot of Bawi bloggers, and the confusion tends to arise). Do not invite us for events with less than 24 hours notice. It makes me feel like I am a last minute filler in your guest list. Give us time to write a blogpost. Some of us are balancing multiple careers and we may require time.

I apologize on behalf of some members of my community who go back on their contract and do not adhere to the terms that were decided on. Not all of us are like that.

Dear Readers,

For any blogger, the greatest joy they can have is watching a post they have worked hard on gain mileage. Thank you guys for reading what we churn out and loving what we write. In case you don’t love what is written….tell us. Feedback – positive or negative – is what keeps us going. Appreciation or criticism, both help a person to learn. 

If some of our posts are promoted, or via invite it is our duty to inform you so that you are not misguided. Your trust and readership is very important to us. We are, because you are.

Lastly, this letter comes from the heart. In no way was it meant to offend anyone. Blogging has given me so much. It provided me direction and passion at a time when I was down in the dumps. The joy and elation when people know you as ‘Branded Bawi’, and not as ‘Zenia Irani’ cannot be described. By writing this open letter, I am only trying to give back.

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Burgundy Is The New Black. Burgundy Box – Review

Welcome to the dawn of the intelligent, well-read home chef. A cook that wants to experiment with different cuisines, innovative dishes, and newer concepts in today’s fast paced age. Which explains why gourmet recipe kits have flooded the market today, each one offering different dishes, but demonstrating the same underlying concept of empowering the home chef.

What is a DIY gourmet recipe kit? A box that contains the exact measured ingredients, a step-by-step recipe, that helps you create a restaurant quality dish at home. It completely eliminates the hassle of scouting for recipes, narrowing down ingredients, purchasing those ingredients from your nearest market – your personal shopper cum cooking teacher – all packed in one box. Having reviewed and ordered from a number of companies that provide this service – I must say I am hooked! It works perfectly for a career woman like me, who loves cooking but somewhere falls short of the time to do so.

I recently got to try the Burgundy Box , another DIY meal kit that recently hit the market. They sent over a Chettinad Egg curry kit that I whipped up. What really excited me about this one was that the recipes were curated and created by Chef Ajay Chopra, who believes that ‘AnyBody Can Cook’. The Burgundy Box experience was lovely in every way – an exciting recipe, easy to follow directions, excellent quality ingredients and a delicious end product. Here are five reasons why you should consider ordering from the Burgundy Box. And why I most definitely will order again.

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Chocolate and Oat Cookies – The Lazy, Easy, and No Bake Version

I was recently inspired by an interesting article I read on one of the social media platforms, which listed beautiful chocolate desserts that could be made in under ten minutes. That very same evening I came home, experimented, and improvised on a beautiful chocolate oats, no bake cookie. I loved the recipe for two reasons:

1. It is the perfect lazy and easy recipe. It requires basic cooking skills, and if you can mix ingredients in a bowl – you can make this! Also it does not require baking. So major win win for people who do not own an oven, or are skeptical about baking.

2. Secondly, and most importantly it is a comparatively low fat cookie version. I’ve used dates in place of sugar, dark chocolate instead of regular chocolate, and increased the quantity of oats. 

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