At 60, I Started My Dream Restaurant & Now People Wait For My Parsi Food

Cafe Farohar, an authentic Parsi cuisine restaurant in the town of Udvada in Gujarat is run by a mother-son duo.

Hilla Marolia (60), and her son Shezad have been at the fore of operations since 2017, when Hilla stumbled upon an ad inviting applications for a manager at the dharamshala in Udvada.

As fate would have it, Hilla applied for the post, bagged the role, and was set to start her new position in January 2017.

While working at the dharamshala, she noticed the lack of variety in food options. Pilgrims were served a set menu.

The food lover in Hilla was awakened, and she decided to start Cafe Farohar to serve authentic Parsi food.

This wasn’t the first time she would be heading a food venture. In the 1980s, Hilla, who was barely 18, had started a tiffin service.

She had long harboured the dream of running a restaurant of her own someday.

“We wanted to bring a change in the culinary landscape of Udvada and start a space that would allow devotees to experience true authentic Parsi food,” says Shezad.

He adds, “People began coming here for specific dishes as they knew these would be spot on.”

While the pandemic slowed down business and saw Hilla going back to her tiffin service route, Shezad said it did not deter them from reopening once things had subsided.

Today, guests queue up for their fill of the sali marghi, atheli marghi, boi fish, salli boti, papri ma gosht, and so many other delicacies.

On weekdays, Shezad says, they serve around 40 guests at lunch, but on weekends, “there is a 45-minute wait for lunch and lunch goes on till around 5 pm in the evenings". 

He adds, “We are not doing business here. I’d say instead it is simply a mother-son duo following their passion for food.”

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