Meheraboon Rashib Gourabian aka Meherwan Kohinoor, one of the friendly faces who would greet customers at the entrance of the iconic Irani restaurant Britannia and Co. at Ballard Estate in Mumbai passed away in the wee hours of Tuesday, May 1, 2018, after succumbing to a long time illness. The Facebook page of the Parsi community weekly, Parsi Times, was the first to inform patrons about the 87-year-old’s untimely death. As reported, he is survived by his wife Pervin Irani (Tafti), son Kuresh, daughter Farzana and two grandsons.
One of the nine children born to Rashid Kohinoor, a Zoroastrian immigrant from Iran who set up Britannia in 1923, Meherwan came to Mumbai at the age of 21. Having worked at Sailor Restaurant, a popular Irani cafe on P.M. Road for a couple of years, he went on to become a partner at Bastani & Co., another landmark café at Dhobi Talao. When Bastani shut in the early 2000s, Meherwan moved to Britannia. From serving only officers and a menu that comprised mainly of a western affair to serving authentic Parsi food influenced by the family's Iranian and Parsi roots, this café has come a long way and how.
Britannia Café, a testament to Mumbai’s once-thriving Parsi culture, is one of the few places credited for popularising the cuisine in the city. And as one of the few remaining restaurants of its kind, in spite of its peeling walls, chipped ceiling and old Polish furniture, the eatery continues to draw loyal customers who keep coming back for the lip-smacking dhansak rice and berry pulao. As the Britannia slogan goes, “There is no love greater than the love of eating.”
While we’ll surely miss Meherwan’s smiling face, we wish the family well.
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