B Merwan and Co: Closure of an legendary Cafe
The iconic Irani Cafe is going to shut its shutters after treating the customers to Brun Maska, Mawa Cake, Custard and Omelettes for a century. It is one of famous Irani bakeries which were popular in Mumbai.
The cafe is situated in Grant Road and is popularly known as Merwan. It was set up in March 1914 by Boman Merwan Nasra. It is the third generation of Iranis now in running. Cousins Sarosh and Bomi were running it. They have said quits.
And unlike in the case of other old-time city restaurants that shut due to dwindling business, drawing customers has never been a problem for Merwan. Located right outside the eastern side of the railway station, the café still has long-time customers ambling in for their daily fix of mawa cakes and brun pao, from as early as 5.30am. It also operates a provision store on the premises.
The hectic schedule and the stress of running the place, coupled with the fact that the next generation cannot take over the business, though, has made the Irani family decide to shut shop. Fourth generation are all daughters content with their families. They are not even living in India.
The cafe is so famous that there is rush even at 5.30 in the morning. The owners are in the cafe at 3.0 am in the morning. Regular customers which included taxi drivers, students and office goers are dismayed at the closure.
The cafe is so popular that even today, whenever anyone is in the (Grant Road) area, or visiting Mumbai, people tell him ‘Merwan se cake leke aao’,” says city historian Deepak Rao. “It is an iconic place.”
The cafe has chairs made of Czechoslovakian wood, marble topped tables and signboard with the familiar lettering that are as old as the café.
The homegrown website has a very beautiful entry on this cafe with photographs in the closing off days.