Khalid Hakim and Rashid Hakim are the third generations running Noor Mohammadi (The Light of the Prophet), which was started in 1923 by Abdul Kareem who migrated to Mumbai from Kutch. “Before it was a small, little joint… no tables, no nothing… Handis were kept outside the restaurant and it was all takeaway.”
The recipes are straight from his grandfather who introduced Noor Mohammadi’s speciality, Nalli Nihari to Mumbai’s food culture. The restaurant has served customers for three generations and even has suppliers going back to the time of his grandfather. They have been few changes from the beginning, but a few are notable: fewer people ask for oil on their curries, and more people are drinking bottled water!
Over time, the restaurant has gotten used to dealing with its fame. They can reel off the names of innumerable celebrities who have ordered from them, but to them all customers, rich or poor, famous or not, are equal. Rashid recalls a customer called Junaid who ordered regularly, and one day said he was coming in person. It was when he turned up that they realised that Junaid was none other than the singer Adnan Sami!
Although modernised under the management of Hakim brothers Khalid and Rashid, Noor Mohammadi still retains its old-timer charm, service and hospitality, the features that make it a perennial Ramzan favourite and an icon of the city.