Because We Invented the Sizzler

January 2, 2012 8:30 am by

Photo: Sheena Dabholkar.

If you look up the origin of the sizzler on the Internet, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time with no conclusive results to show at the end of it. We speak from experience. But, we have good reason to believe that the birthplace of the popular albeit not terribly sophisticated dish is in fact Mumbai, where it was created back in 1963. The invention can be attributed to a certain Firoz Erani, a Mumbai resident who opened a garden restaurant by the name “The Sizzler” near Excelsior Cinema in Fort, to showcase his culinary experiment.

It occurred to Erani to serve a hunk of meat, most commonly chicken or beef, cooked as you would a steak, on a hot iron or sizzling plate with boiled vegetables and house fries as accompaniments. Once plated, the dish let off billowing steam and in that spectacle of steam lied its big appeal. Soon after opening The Sizzler, Erani relocated to the Isle of Man in the UK, where he launched the second outpost of the restaurant. In 1967, after Erani passed away, his son Shahrookh Erani, who had trained and worked alongside his father at The Sizzler in Bombay, opened Touche in Breach Candy, where he kept his father’s culinary legacy alive. In 1971, Shahrookh Erani moved to Pune, taking with him the restaurant, which he renamed The Place Touche The Sizzler. Four decades hence, the restaurant continues to be the ultimate sizzler joint for residents of Mumbai and Pune. If you have already visited the restaurant, you might also be familiar with a concise version of this history printed on their menus.

On the web, Japan and America are debated to be the birthplaces of the sizzler, but in Mumbai, Erani paved the way for this dining trend, which is still going strong. It was Touche, in fact, that inspired Kailash Seth to set up Kobe Sizzlers at Opera House in 1975. In addition to three Mumbai outposts and several others across India, Kobe Sizzlers currently has branches in New Zealand, Muscat and Dubai. Though their menu offers a large selection of vegetarian sizzlers, most with a slab of paneer as the replacement for steak, Seth said that the sizzler was intended to be a non-vegetarian meal. Unlike The Place Touche The Sizzler, which has undergone several menu changes since 1971 to include Chinese and Indian style sizzlers, the Kobe menu is the same as it was in 1975. “The popularity of sizzlers is hardly surprising,” said Seth. “It’s a wholesome meal and a tasty one; we’re grateful to Erani for it.”

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Comments (12)

  1. Sumit |

    The sizzler was invited in 1958 in America, at Del’s Sizzler Family Steak House by Del and Helen Johnson in Culver City, California. The chain is composed of more than 270 locations throughout the U.S.

    Who copied it and brought it in India, that’s another story!

    BTW, now the latest copy cats in India are after KFC, just check out the no of Fried Chicken brands out there! Indians are only good at copying!

  2. xyz |

    Actually Gola Restaurant, now called Gola Sizzlers in Connaught Place, Delhi, claims to be the inventor of ze Sizzler…

  3. Pingback: What is the origin country of the dish "sizzler? - Quora

  4. the other K |

    what crap! everyone knows, like all good things, this one also comes from Kolkata!

  5. If you really want to know Sizzlers & how authentic sizzlers tastes than visit Ikobo Sizzlers in Ahmedabad. This is a fantastic restaurant at Drive-in Road with excellent food & great ambience. I’m a regular to this restaurant & have understood Sizzlers from here & they made Sizzlers as my favorite dish. I have even seen some Gujarati serial actors visiting this restaurant at times. In fact I can say that Ikobo is the first authentic Sizzlers restaurant & Ikobo actually brought authentic sizzler taste to Ahmedabad.

  6. ARYAN CHOUDHARY |

    yes……….really true. I must say that YANKI SIZZLERS in Ahmedabad is the ideal place to have sizzlers. One can say that it’s a paradise for sizzler lovers. Because they have many verities in sizzlers…………….veg, chicken, mutton, fish & prawns…………lobsters as well. The huge fish tank in the restaurant is also an added atraction & well maintained. My kids love the place very much.

  7. jitendra giri |

    ………..it’s all history now. If you really want to enjoy SIZZLERS, the right place is ‘YANKI SIZZLERS’ in Ahmedabad. They serve the excellent Veg. & Non-Veg. sizzlers. Though they don’t serve Steaks, their Sea-Food Sizzlers, Mutton Sizzlers & Chicken sizzlers are really too good. I think at present in Sizzlers serving restaurants ‘YANKI SIZZLERS’ is number ONE sizzler joint………..i must say!

  8. RAVI NARAYAN PALAN |

    You are 100% right. After the closer of “The Sizzler” near Excelsior cinema fort, “Touche Sizzler” at Breach candy opened and the chef was Mr.Kalappa and the manager was Mr.Kamat. It was doing well, always crowded in the evening. They use to serve fabulous sizzlers. After it closed, then came “kobe Sizzler” at Opera house………..after some time “yoko Sizzlers” opened at Santacruz. Then it went on and on…, now there are plenty of “Sizzler Restaurants” in all over Bombay, in fact all over India. Many of them don’t even know what a “Sizzler” is.

  9. Arvind |

    hahahahah… K’s story was better! :D

  10. mister mister |

    What is the basis of your story, K? This navvari saari story and the ‘ey shizzl re’ phrase sounds cool and all but that’s where it ends, unfortunately, at least for us readers. Unless you have any established facts to prove your theory, it remains a story. A good one, though.

  11. Enkay |

    “Shizzl” sounds like something Snoop Dog would say :)

  12. K |

    sorry to pop your bubble, but the sizzler was invented in Pune.

    It happened when a couple of locals, Shivajirao Mulik and Dadarao Kondge, in the bylanes of the old city were cooking on an open tawa, and, distracted by the passing bevy of nav-vari clad beauties, they forgot all about the meat and veggies that were cracking in their own fat. When the last beauty passed, she looked at Shivajirao and uttered a little “Ishh”, which only served to anger Dadarao and snapped him out of the spell. He realised that the food was burning, and yelled out to his cooking partner, “eyyy Shizzl Re!” (it’s cooked). This little mistake, as it turned out, turned out quite tasty, and to hide his mistake Shivajirao served it on the pan, claiming this was a new ishtyle of food.

    Eventually, that grew into a cooking style, which was soon adopted by the Parsis (who ran ‘Touche – The Place’ on MG road and ‘Zamu’s’ on Dhole Patil road). Of course, the Parsis, as anglicised as they are, insisted on calling it by what was now the accepted name for the dish in the Shaniwar Peth area – Shizzl Re. Eventually, though, they found their customers, mostly Parsi, or affluent non-maharashtrians, couldn’t pronounce this strange word (Shizzl), which seemed to end in half a syllable, and it slowly became the ‘Sizzler’.

    So, please, get your facts straight. Next you’re going to tell me that Britannia on Ballard pier has the best Biriyani in the country, or some shizz like that?

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