Mumbai’s Historic 100 year Old Parsi Dairy Farm Goes High Design

Designed by Shahen Mistry Architects, a bright red door and inviting vintage windows will surely make bystanders turn their head to lurk into the treasure trove of lip smacking sweets and confectionaries arranged artistically only to be savoured.

Nariman Ardeshir, the Parsi gentleman, opened the iconic Parsi Dairy Farm at Princess Street in South Bombay in 1916 with a single can of milk. The fourth generation of the family — Zeenia and Parvana’s mother, Meheru K Patel and Sarfaraz and Bakhtyar’s mother Shernaz K Irani, are sisters, who grew up listening to tales about their great grandfather and how he started the business, which continues to be one of the few single family-owned brands in the country.

As per Principal Architect, they wanted the people passing by to pause in awe of the shop façade and feel invited to step in and explore the store. They had to add contemporary flair and youthful vibrancy into a space while honouring its rich 100-year-old legacy. This delicate work of striking a balance between the past and the present was not only demanding but also necessary to preserve the legacy of the dairy farm.

From the fridge to the counter, the space serves as an elegant art gallery with a wall dedicated to PDF’s oldest advertisements, sepia toned family photos, the iconic blue uniform of the milk delivery men, earliest coupons, et cetera.

One can skim through the range of Sweets   like  mithais—peda, khaja, piped jalebi, pag laddoo, milk cake—put inside display fridges, which are decked up aesthetically in old-style wooden counters. The cafe-like space on its left has a small seating area with a handful of tables, chairs and modak-shaped pouffes.

According to the owners, the products are still the same, the recipes remain intact and so do the ingredients. Our sutarfeni is still handcrafted, our ghee is golden and danedar and we still hand-churn our malai,” shares Parvana S Mistry. An alumna of Le Cordon Bleu, London, the 35-year-old is involved in the production and operation. Her sister Zeenia K Patel handles branding and marketing while their cousins Sarfaraz and Bakhtyar K Irani handle sales and accounts, respectively.

But the revamp is not limited to just the appearance. There are serious expansion plans in store. The plan eventually looks at expanding the dairy to other parts of Maharashtra, then to Gujarat, Delhi, Bangalore and other parts of India.

Images by Manan Surti

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