My great-grandfather, whose name was Saarvi, took over this place in the 1940s, though it existed in a smaller form before that. He arrived in India from Yazd in Iran with his family as refugees. Escaping from famine and drought, they came on horseback struggling through the deserts and hills of Persia and Afghanistan.
Persian food is bland by nature, so the recipes that came with them were modiﬁed to suit Indian palates. The locality was hep then, with Anglo-Indians, Christians and Jews, and it was
BUTTER CHICKEN CHICKEN BIRYANI
CHICKEN RASHIDA PAYAA SOUP
green and beautiful (the extras in the movies would be picked from here!). However, with time the Jews and Christians moved away, but our restaurant’s popularity has not dipped.
We haven’t got into social media except our alignment with Faroma, though we have top ratings on other apps like Burrp. We’re more old-fashioned in that we focus on our dishes: seekh, kheema, paya, masoor pulao, chicken biryani, mutton soup. But with social media, more people have heard of us and we are getting many new customers.
IRANI SEEKH KABABS
while our dishes may not sound different from others, the taste is distinct: butter chicken at Sarvi tastes like butter chicken nowhere else. We have our secrets, do’s and don’ts. Some customers may complain that our tastes have changed, but most say that nothing has changed, even the tables and chairs. Food is always made fresh twice a day, nothing is kept for another day.
Raj Kapoor, Mehmood, Jackie Shroff have been famous visitors here. People come from abroad, like Dubai, US & Singapore, and even take kebab parcels to take away back to their countries. Many people come and tell us about the prices in their parents’ or grandparents’ times, like paying Rs. 5 for kheema (it’s Rs 50 now!). While our business has gone through some ups and downs, we’re thankful that our customers have stood by us.