"We keep changing the menu, but Indians only ask for bun maska."
( <At Leopold Cafe> by Kalpish Ranta from "Mumbai Noir", collection of short stories edited by Altaf Tyrewala, 2012)
Bun Maska means Bread and Butter, and I am not talking about livelihood in Mumbai.
My first Bun Maska experience was in South Mumbai, when I had a walk in Fort area's busy street, I passed by an old bakery.
Being charmed by its old Bombay style building, I stepped into the shop, where also was a tea salon.
I was led to a seat at a table of four, which I shared with three young lawyers of Bombay High Court who were there for a chai break.
"Please try this", they offered me their bun maska.
Simple and delicious, at that moment I did not know "Bun Maska and Chai" was popular menu.
Homemade bread was served from breadmaking machine in the corner of this 60 years old bakery.
I went back there for bun maska few days later, at that time I had been informed that this bakery was well known irani cafe of the town.
Last month, I made a short trip to London.
The previous day, I learned by chance that there was Bombay cafe in UK capital.
Oh no , I definitely go there!
Dishoom Covent Garden (exist also in Shoreditch, and newly opend King's Cross restaurant) provides not only Bombay Irani Cafe inspired menu, but also its interior is designed in Old Bombay style --- old pictures of wealthy local families, well-turned phrases on the wall. In ladies' bathroom, you can see 1960's bodybuilders' poster (like in Yazdani Bakery !) and even medicine shelves (like in Cafe de la Paix, another irani cafe of Mumbai).
I ordered Bun maska and chai, of course ! (* picture on the top).
I also tried other foods such as Chicken berry Pilau Britannia, or Pau Bhaji (is also a street food).
Happy to find that I can go eat my favorite foods also without flying thousands of miles !
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