Scattered across the quaint corners of Pune city, Irani cafes present a slice of history which serves to remind citizens of the city’s mythos, a melange of cultures which would create a mesh of social regalement. These Irani cafes, sprouted up in the late 18 and early 19 centuries due to an influx of Persian immigrants. Though the high-ceiling cafes, with bentwood chairs and glass top tables reveal part of the city’s iconic culture, they are soon dwindling in number. We visit the ones that have managed to survive the global cafes and fast-food joints, still serving their famous bun maska whilst one can sip on their Irani chai. We list out 10 Irani cafes that should find itself on every foodie’s to-do list.
- Cafe Yezdan
One of the earliest cafes Pune has seen, the exterior reminds you of a dainty tearoom. But, as you enter the quick service yet peaceful ambience will keep you asking for more of the bun maska and chai. “Our broon maska is the speciality of Cafe Yezdan, and gets sold out in the first few hours of the morning,” says Narayan, manager of the cafe.
Where: Sharbatwala Chowk,Camp Timings: 6 am-8 pm
- Vohuman cafe
A place that has been Pune’s iconic food legend, one must pay a tribute to its simplicity and ability to maintain quality despite the many years since its inception in 1978. The cafe is always bustling with college students to business people, and managing to secure a place on the weekends is monumental, but the extra cheese oozing out of the omelette and extra butter lathered between the buns makes it worth the wait!
Where: Near Ruby Hall Timings: 6.15 am-6 pm
- Cafe Goodluck
Established in 1935, Cafe Goodluck with its traditional decor and mirrors creating an illusion of space adds to its old-world charm. Considered a landmark of the city and is a one stop for all Iranian delicacies as well as Parsi food. The aroma from the open kitchen makes you want to stay on for lunch and dinner.
Where: FC Road Timings: 7 am-11.30 pm
- Cafe India
A new kid in the block, this cafe boasts of a menu that combines traditional recipe with a modern twist. Started by two brothers who create a menu based on their customer’s wishes, unique and exciting options such as chocolate tea and chicken omelette are a treat. Adorned with artifacts from Iran, the cafe has a rich history which the brothers will be happy to share over a cup of Irani chai.
Where: Opp Amba Vatika Society, NIBM Road Timings: 7 am-9.30 pm
Must-try: Jelly bun maska and black tea
The almost run-down interiors may not give a clue about it being an Irani cafe, but the goodies placed in glass jars of cream rolls and patti samosa more than make up for it. Easy on the pocket, this place proves to be a good place to stop for a quick bite of bun maska while sipping on the refreshing Irani chai.
Where: Near Rosary School, NIBM Road Timings: 6 am-11 pm
- Cafe Olympia
One of the oldest running Irani cafes, this place promises you quick service no matter what time of the day. Seen very rarely now, the legacy of Irani cafes is managed by the owner or his family who are always ready to share a story or two with a warm smile.
Where: Near PMC building, Shivajinagar Timings: 9 am-10 pm
- Cafe Garden
Located at a bustling corner of Camp, the cafe is busy throughout the day serving customers from shopkeepers to young college crowd. Maintaining somewhat of the Irani cafe architecture, the cafe serves authentic Irani chai that easily re-energises you and the sweet treats to finish the experience is worth a try!
Where: Camp Timings: 5 am-10 pm
- Diamond Queen
Mixed with the aroma omelettes and the usual banter, this cafe does not compromise on its quality in any way. The freshly baked buns are got at regular intervals brought from the bakery situated right opposite to the cafe, served with butter and jelly will make your hunger pangs disappear.
Where: Next to Silver Jubilee Petrol Pump, Camp Timings: 8 am-10 pm
- Cafe Alfa
A tiny cafe nestled between shops on either side, provides ideal snacks for working people in the area. The afternoons are the busiest as a lot of crowd comes in and enjoys the peace it has to offer, and “Throughout the day orders for bun maska keep pouring in,” says the manager of Cafe Alfa.
Where: Opposite PMC building, Shivajinagar Timings: 9 am-7.30 pm
10. The Irani Cafe
Vimanagar ‘s got a brand new, hold your breath, Irani Café. In an era when the tradition is dying, two daring young things have taken it themselves to re-launch a trend that had kickstarted lives of Indian greats like M F Hussain and Dev Anand! Mohammed Reza Deqhanpour and Kasemali Kajehnoori are bringing back the mojo with the same vibe, energy and warmth of their forefathers ! Get to know what a genuine Irani cafe and bakery used to be with the authentic taste of the Irani Chai ,Bun Maska , Omelette , Kheema Ghotala , Cream rolls , Lamington cakes , Khari . Sounds good! Tastes even better!
Where: Viman Nagar, near Phoenix Market City Timings: 6 am-11 pm
Pictures by Apoorva Lele
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