Parkar’s Biryani House (Dadar, Mumbai) – an inspirational journey of Akshay

I read on facebook about Parkar’s Biryani House and Akshay Parkar’s rising, falling and re-rising from being a 5 Star chef – earning 1,500 rupees per month as stipend during internship and working for one year, to working at an international cruise ship – earning 70,000 rupees per month for 7 years at abroad and then opening a roadside makeshift biryani shop (all due to pandemic/COVID-19) at Dadar, Mumbai.

(Tourism was one of the first to be hit by the pandemic (COVID-19) which made many jobless and many dead)

With the help of Google Maps I reached the lane next to Cotton King (left-hand side) near Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar (West), Mumbai.

After walking approx. 10-15 meters inside the lane, I enquire a shop (on the right-hand side) about Parkar’s Biryani House.

I was told – it’s a makeshift shop next to Shivam Vada Pav (25 years old) – will open at 1 pm. I have to wait.

The current time was 12:30 noon. At least 20-25 customers already in queue waiting for the makeshift shop to open.

Around 12:50 pm, I saw a person placing folding table.

I question him – is this Parkar’s Biryani House?

He said – Yes.

I enquired about Akshay Parkar and a wish to meet him.

The person requested to wait for few minutes.

At 1 pm I saw arrival of a female and a guy covering head and face (due to pandemic). They placed an aluminium pot on top of folding table and one pot nearby. Then they started serving hot biryani to customers in a silver foil Container with lid.

Its takeaway service. And The cost displayed at a pamphlet:

Chicken Biryani Full/Half 140/70, Egg Biryani 130/65 and Veg. Biryani 120/60.

The aroma of the rice, spices along with pieces of chicken was making my mouth-watering.

After few minutes another young guy with face mask and head cover arrived and started customer service himself.

He was Akshay Parkar – a left-handed guy serving biryani to customers with a delicacy (????????).

I remember his face – watching him in a YouTube video/s.

I waited for one hour to talk to him – I do not want to disturb him and his team during business hours.

2 pm – The time and all finished. Though there were still customers in the queue.

Akshay and his team said sorry to people in the queue and requested them to come early in the evening hours.

Now, it was time to talk to Akshay – The owner of Parkar’s Biryani House.

My name is Akshay Pravin Parkar and I am 29 years old.

I have done 3 years apprenticeship and one year job at TajSTATS near international airport, Mumbai.

Then, I joined international cruise and worked there for 7 years.

I came back to India in June.

I was in Philippines during pandemic. Company was giving 50% salary since pandemic (from March onwards). And in June – The contract was ended. We were sent back to India by the company via a charter flight.

After coming back to India I applied for jobs as chef at 3/5 Star hotels but failed. Due to pandemic there was no recruitment.

I had savings during pandemic. Company had also send goodwill ($150). I thought, I will survive for 6 months but our financial condition deteriorated due to parent’s illness. The money saved was spent and I had left only with 10,000 rupees.

I am the only child and the sole breadwinner. I was somewhat depressed, unable to decide – what to do next.

Then one day – my mother suggested to start from scratch once again.

She said – who knows, you will go much far then what was you in the past.

The said suggestion was motivational.

As I was good in making biryani, I thought of starting a biryani stall nearby my home next to my neighbour’s shop.

In the month of September, I started with 5,000 rupees, making chicken/egg/veg. biryani almost the same as 5 Star hotels and selling at makeshift shop. I utmost try to maintain the 5 Star quality no matter it is sold on the road-side stall.

Whatever I am today is because of learnt cooking skills from mother, maternal grandmother and 3 years apprenticeship at TajSTATS.

Earlier, the sale at the stall was very less. Pramod Acharekar – a dear friend put up a post on a facebook page called �Being Malwani�. The post went viral and now-a-days the sale is good.

My day starts at 6 – 6:30 am.

I start serving biryani to customers at 1 pm and then at 7:30 in the evening till 9 pm.

Harshada and Shubham – two friends, helping me immensely in my biryani business.

We use basmati rice and for fresh chicken – I myself go to butcher. My wish is to open my own restaurant to sell all types of biryani such as Chicken Biryani, Egg Biryani, Vegetable Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Lucknowi/Awadhi Biryani and Afghani Biryani. I also know how to prepare Tikka Kebab.

Today, I made 10 kg biryani in the afternoon and within one hour it was sold though today is Saturday.

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I prepare 14 kg biryani in the afternoon and 14 kg in the evening hours.

Currently, there is take-away only. Home-delivery we have yet to start via Swiggy/Zomato – conformation is yet to come.

We undertake all events & party-orders and also prepare Mutton Biryani on order per kg.

Our Contact Numbers: 0-98693 61451/90826 21436

The message is: Don’t be depressed in life or during pandemic. Keep patience. Do hard-work. Believe in you and your skills. Success will happen.

Thanks Akshay for sharing this inspirational journey and the wonderful message – said I.

I will visit again very soon to take-away hot, delicious, aromatic 5 Star biryani from chef Akshay Pravin Parkar.

I hope your journey will motivate many and people visiting Dadar will surely visit your stall to taste/have 5 Star biryani for self/family/friends. Wishing you and team, lots of love & luck for the coming 2021. May you soon have your own restaurant. Thanks again. The journey continues…

Pick a Date & Time for The Darshan at Mumbai’s Shree Siddhivinayak Temple via Mobile App

After months of State lockdown and places of worship – closed gates due to COVID-19, finally, opened on 16th November, 2020. I too planned to visit Mumbai’s Shree Siddhivinayak Temple (two-century-old).

Knowledge was enhanced by sister that one can visit only if one is having prior appointment and having a darshan ticket which can be decided by Shree Siddhivinayak Temple official App (for iOS & Android) available on Google Play or App Store.

I immediately downloaded the Siddhivinayak App and was ready to proceed.

(With this App, one can perform Live Darshan, Online Video Pooja bookings, Donate money and much more..)

First you have to select language (English or Marathi or Hindi) from the app.

Then you have to enter your details as required by the app.

Once you SIGN UP, a One Time Password (OTP) you will receive on your mobile for verification.

After verification, you have to pick a date and a time slot available for the darshan.

All done?

You will be given a Darshan Ticket (for FREE) which will be a QR Code to be shown/scanned at Shree Siddhivinayak Temple gate along with your Government Recognized ID to enter the temple for darshan.

Note: Children below 10 years, Elders above 65 years, Pregnant Ladies should avoid visiting the temple. Only one person is allowed per booking. Flowers, Coconut, Sweets are not permitted inside the temple-area. Only mobile is allowed to carry. Wearing a face mask is mandatory, and one has to follow social-distancing rules.

New appointment date & time are now open for January, 2021.

Please book your appointment and have the blessings of Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati in Mumbai, Maharashtra for the upcoming New Year.

Update as on 01.01.2021

Today, 01.01.2021 was our appointment at Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, Dadar, Mumbai in the afternoon hours.

We reached a little before our appointment time.

We parked our four-wheeler (almost opposite Shree Siddhivinayak temple) at Twin Tower Lane.

Four Wheeler parking charges – Rs. 100/- for two hours. Motorbike parking charges – Rs. 20 for two hours.

There was a long queue outside the temple-area.

I saw many devotees present in the queue not having knowledge about Shree Siddhivinayak Temple official App. We tried our best to help/guide them about Shree Siddhivinayak Temple official App. Few immediately download the app and fill in their details to have an appointment in coming days for the Darshan of Shree Siddhivinayak.

Though there was a long queue, but within half an hour we had blessings of Shree Siddhivinayak.

Very nice disciplined arrangement by the temple authorities and the Mumbai police. Appreciated.

Social distancing was maintained. Sanitiser was present. Flowers, Prasad was available but was not allowed inside the temple-area.

You have to show QR code provided by Shree Siddhivinayak Temple official App at the temple-area entrance gate. QR code was scanned by the person present and the locked-gate opened automatically for the devotee to enter the temple-area.

Laptop, Camera is not allowed. You have to deposit Laptop for Rs. 50 and Camera for Rs. 10 outside the temple-area.

Timings: Temple opens at 7 am and closes at 9 pm. All days open.

After Darshan each devotee was given Mahaprasad (for FREE in a sealed plastic pouch) as a blessings of Shree Siddhivinayak by the temple authorities. We received Laddoo.

I had it just now before writing. It was delicious.

Hope you too will visit soon in this New Year (especially after 2020) for the blessings of Shree Siddhivinayak. The journey continues..

Oldest Traditional (Banana Leaf) South Indian Restaurant in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Yesterday, I visited one of the oldest South-Indian restaurant in Mumbai – Cafe Mysore, situated near Kings Circle, Matunga East but the restaurant was closed – since last two months – as told by nearby shopkeeper.

Today, I decided to visit another one of the oldest South-Indian restaurant – A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, situated next to Matunga Central Railway Station, Mumbai.

Yesterday was too tiring. I was driving Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. There was lots of traffic-on-road. I almost lost way to reach Kings Circle but today, I decided to park motorbike nearby Matunga Road Railway Station (western-line) and walk via Z-bridge. It was definitely easy to reach. Google Map on mobile was very helpful.

A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding as said is next to Matunga Central Railway Station, on the first floor, above the market. The entry to the restaurant is from the building side-lane.

Few steps for the first floor. You will see display board mentioning 1942 and platinum jubilee year – 2017 and finally the entrance of the restaurant.

At the entrance – an important Covid-19 slogan:

No Mask, No Entry - Covid-19 slogan at A. Rama Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga Central Railway Station, Mumbai- 19

I reached the token-counter and enquired about the lunch.

The person at the token-counter first took temperature to be sure I am not having fever.

250 rupees – He said for the lunch.

Paid. I received a hand-written bill mentioning temperature and table number, where I have to sit and lunch will be served but before that I was requested to wash hands.

I followed the advice and then walk towards the table number.

Note: Hand-wash area was neat and clean with liquid soap available. Restaurant and its tables were also very very clean.

A. Rama Nayak Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga (C. R.), Mumbai - 19

Banana leaf was placed on the table and then the menu was served.

I requested the serving-person to enhance knowledge about the serving items.

Dahi, Sambar, Rasam, Kakdi sabzi, Chana Subzi, Banana Subzi, Pappad, Puri, Roti, Rice (Pure Ghee on top), Achar, Namak and Chaas.

That’s it? May I start eating now? – I question waiter.

No. More three things to come.

Ok-� said I with a smile.

Chawli, Bhindi, Aalu was served.

Before starting lunch I decided to click the photograph of the served food items on banana leaf – for you – the website visitors.

Lunch (11.12.2020) at A. Rama Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga Central Railway Station, Mumbai- 19

Mount-watering? Isn’t it?

I observed – Waiters were very courteous. Numerous times they visited and asked – anything else sir.

Anyway, I started lunch and a voice behind – I will give you soft-copy of today’s menu. Don’t worry.

And below is the today’s menu:

Lunch Menu (11.12.2020) at A. Rama Nayak Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga Central Railway Station, Mumbai - 19

That was not the end. In the end sweet dish was served with varieties of option. I selected – Rasgulla (two pieces).

I was happy with the lunch specially because very rare in big cities you will find traditional South-Indian way of serving food. Maybe this is a indication from above to start South-India journey in coming months.

Anyway, after mouth-watering lunch, time was to meet the owner to know the History of A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding.

A. Rama Nayak (born: 02nd May, 1902) at the age of 11 years sailed from Mangalore to Mumbai leaving his village Akkar, nearby Mangalore in Karnataka (known as Madras province during those days) and settled down in Santacruz, Mumbai. He started doing jobs in couple of Mumbai restaurants and finally in 1942 decided to open his own restaurant because he saw – you can get omelette pav, vada pav, misal pav but hardly one can get sambar rice specially if the tourist is from South-India. Thus, he started South-Indian food at this very location by serving on banana leaf.

I question: From where you get so much of banana leaf on daily basis?

He said: Jalgaon (Maharashtra) and Kerala are two places from where banana leaf arrive in Mumbai and then we purchase. 4 Annas was the cost of the lunch or dinner at that time. Now-a-days the cost is Rs. 250/-.

I question: Menu items – Today the same as it was in your father’s time?

Yes, no change. The only change is the cost with the time. And please note: The menu also changes daily. for example: Friday we serve Chana, Sunday is Aalu..like this since father’s time.

Covid-19 has affected the restaurant business very hard. The sale is now 25% only in-comparison with business before Covid-19. Earlier, the restaurant was open from 10:30 morning till 3 pm and then from 7 pm till 10 in the night but now-a-days it is open only from 10:30 am till 3 pm. Earlier, Monday was closed but now from October 1, all days open. We have started home-delivery recently. 15% is home-delivery (within 5-6 Kms. by our staff) business now-a-days and 10% is walking visitors.

Tough-Time – said I.

For home-delivery download Wefast app. Wefast boy delivers to your address.

We do home-delivery only in nearby areas such as: Matunga East/West, Dadar East/West, Sion, Shivaji Park, Mahim, Wadala, Dosti Acres, Bhakti Park, Prabhadevi.

Our work starts at 6 am. By 10 am everything is ready.

What’s your name sir and the person at the counter? – I question.

Myself -Satish Nayak and he is my son – Shashank Nayak.

What about spices? You buy from the market or you self-prepared it?

Our spices are different from the market. It is self-prepared by us.

Is this your only restaurant? You never thought of opening more branches? – I question again.

My father opened eleven restaurants in Mumbai from 1942 till 1955 but now only four are functioning – Cafe Mysore (Kings Circle), Udipi Air-Conditioned Restaurant, Udipi Idli House (Kings Circle) and this one. Father was titled “Father of Udipi Hotels” by late M. V. Shetty, Gen. Secretary, Federations of Hotels and Restaurants Association.

A Rama Nayak & Sons - Restaurants in MumbaiGreat – said I and Thank you. Will someday visit again this and your other restaurants too for sure. Simplicity – in one word.

It was time to leave but I decided to have a look around.

A statement on the wall makes a customer more happy and i.e.., The Owner of This Restaurant also Eats Here.

Do Not Waste - Notice at A. Rama Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga (C. R.) Station, Mumbai- 19Healthy Habits after Eating - Display at A. Rama Nayak Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga (C. R.), Mumbai - 19Article About - A. Rama Nayak's Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding - dna - Sunday, Mumbai - 16.08.2015And then Satish Nayak ji gave a Handbook About – A. Rama Nayak. Thanks again – said I.

Handbook About A. Rama NayakVisitors, if you want to know more about A. Rama Nayak and his journey, visit the restaurant. The journey continues..

Update

Tomorrow – 14.01.2021 is Makar Sankranti and Pongal in India. There is Sankranti Special Menu at A. Rama Nayak�s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding. Must try -� Pongal Avial and Sakkar Pongal.

Sankranti Special Menu at A. Rama Nayak?s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Not only Sankranti Special Menu, they are having Til Ladu too.Til Ladu at A. Rama Nayak?s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Hope if you guys reading, visit for sure to celebrate Makar Sankranti and Pongal at A. Rama Nayak�s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga (Mumbai, Maharashtra). The journey continues..

Update – II

Today – 14.01.2021 is Pongal & Makar Sankranti. I visited A. Rama Nayak�s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding (Matunga, Mumbai) and had a wonderful lunch on Plantain leaf. The best about them is: we eat with our hands.

?????? , ???????? in-short.

And I saw a Shlok to Recite before Every Meal.

Shlok to Recite before Meal at A. Rama Nayak?s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, Matunga, Mumbai, MaharashtraThe journey continues…

50,000+ km RE Thunderbird 350 Seat Cover Replacement for the Second Time

Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark 350 – I purchased in 2010 from Mumbai.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark 350, Seat Cover Replacement for the First Time, I did in Rishikesh in the year 2013, November.

By that time I had driven solo more than 29,000 km. And how much I paid?

Rs. 300/- only for rexine seat cover and was made within one hour almost exactly the original seat cover design.

Current year is 2020 (almost ending). There was need to change the seat cover again as it was torn and foam inside was also damaged.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 - 2010 Model - Old and Torn Seat Foam

I enquired at Royal Enfield service centre in Mumbai – How much for Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 Seat Cover replacement?

The reply was – somewhere between 550 – 600 rupees. I enquired another seat cover maker and the reply was Rs. 1000.

Big difference – a thought.

Then, I also enquired about brand new complete seat and the price was – approx. 1800 rupees and Rs. 3000 approx.

Again, big difference. Maybe Rs. 3000 is the original Royal Enfield complete seat and Rs. 1800 – The local made.

Finally, I decide to visit (personally) seat cover makers and I found – Salim Seat Cover Works at Juhu Lane, Andheri – West, Opposite: Shri Mahavira Jain Vidyalaya (nearby Navnit Motors) – almost at traffic light junction.

Salim Seat Cover Works, All Motorbike Seat Cover, Juhu Lane, Andheri-West, Mumbai

Salim and his son was busy. Upon query about seat covers availability, Salim showed two types of rexine cover for seat.

One is for 350 rupees and another for 550 rupees.

I selected another one and requested him to give some discount.

Salim said – Last price – Rs. 500.

I told him – last time I replaced the seat cover (rexine ) was in 2013 and the cost was Rs. 300 only. It lasted for 7 years.

He said – Don’t worry.

Salim said – He is having 33 years of experience in motorbike seat cover making. He has spent thirty years at Grant road and then three years at nearby location and now since last four months at this location.

Great – said I.

He started the work. Seat plate was removed. It was too rusty.

Maybe I have to change it completely (*if available), after six/twelve months.

*(I was told by a friend that Royal Enfield has stopped manufacturing Old Model Thunderbird Twinspark 350)

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 - 2010 Model - Old and Rusty Seat Plate

Salim, removed the old cover and found that the foam of the seat was also damaged and torn.

He said – Don’t’ worry, I will fix it. What’s the use of experience, if, I can’t fix it.

He inserted new foam at the damaged torn seat/foam area and fixed it brilliantly. I was impressed.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 - 2010 Model - Repaired Old and Torn Seat Foam

Salim did all the job excellently. The new seat cover was ready and fixed. Problem solved – only for Rs. 500. I was happy.

He completed the job within 20-30 minutes. Remarkable.

Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 - 2010 Model now with New Seat Cover

Isn’t it fantastic? It is.

Thank you Salim & Son.

The journey continues..