Cooper’s at Lonavala to open a Parsi-Italian restaurant soon

Cooper’s, the 90-year-old fudge brand that is synonymous with Lonavala, will soon open a swanky, two-floor eatery.
The legendary cooper's of lonavala has a new outlet, plus a spacious restaurant in the works. Image: ismat tahseen.
The legendary Cooper’s of Lonavala has a new outlet, plus a spacious restaurant in the works. Image: Ismat Tahseen.

For anyone visiting Lonavala, it’s a must-do to make a stop at Cooper’s for some good ol’ homestyle chocolate fudge. The quaint shop is almost synonymous with the hill station and foodies and travellers always cart back a box or two of the delicious sweet treat. But something is set to change in its 90-year-old history — Cooper’s is going the restaurant way. Yes, you heard that right! Cooper’s will open doors to a Parsi-Italian restaurant, come June! We have all the exclusive details…

The fudge counter on the ground floor of the new cooper's outlet is already operational. Image: ismat tahseen.
The fudge counter on the ground floor of the new Cooper’s outlet is already operational. Image: Ismat Tahseen.

If you’re wondering where the new restaurant will be housed, it’s not too far from the nondescript little shop on the market’s main road which is the flagship store. The new Cooper’s is near Rye Wood, and is a contemporary two-floor place which will house a Parsi-Italian restaurant, terrace and a bell tower for private gatherings.

The bell tower, available for private gatherings, is the high point of the new cooper's in lonavala. Image: ismat tahseen.
The bell tower, available for private gatherings, is the high point of the new Cooper’s in Lonavala. Image: Ismat Tahseen.

The restaurant is the brainchild of the new generation of the Cooper family — Marzia Irani and her brother Kaizaan Irani. Marzia shared her plans and why they thought of something like this after so long. “There’s a huge demand for this as we don’t see standalone restaurants in Lonavala. If you want a good restaurant or a bar, you have to go to a resort. We want to change that,” she says.

Large space, great views

The first and second floor of the restaurant will have 120 covers each, besides 50 on the terrace. It’s going to have a menu with Parsi and Italian fare, so expect the traditional faves with a view of the hills. “The menu will have salli botikeema pavpatra ni macchi (fish steamed in banana leaves) and some good, wood-fired pizzas,” says Marzia, “We’re looking for a good team for everything.” While Marzia has completed her pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu, London, Kaizaan has a degree in business studies from Podar School, Mumbai, and together they bring their own strengths to the table.

Marzia irani shows the new restaurant space. Image: ismat tahseen.
Marzia Irani shows the new restaurant space. Image: Ismat Tahseen.

Marzia took me on a quick tour of the place and the first thing that grabs you is how spacious each floor is. There are large windows so expect an airy, bright meal with a great view, especially in the rains. The bell tower promises an elegant dining experience at the top.  

The fudge secret begins at 5 am

But so far, only the ground floor has opened doors on March 21, selling their fudge varieties, chikki and chocolate. And the first weekend already saw a packed house, though they didn’t create any buzz on social media over it. “That’s because mom (Rashna Phiroze Irani) is old-school. She told me, ‘People will just come’ and when it was packed, she said, ‘Didn’t I tell you?’,” says Marzia.

Apart from the original recipe, which is a family secret, the fudge at cooper's now comes in a variety of interesting flavours. Image: ismat tahseen.
Apart from the original recipe, which is a family secret, the fudge at Cooper’s now comes in a variety of interesting flavours. Image: Ismat Tahseen.

Dedication fuels the success of Cooper’s. Rashna gets up at 5 am every day and heads to the factory nearby to mix the ingredients for the gooey, delicious fudge herself, using a system of old weights and measures. Perhaps that’s because the recipe is a family secret, we wonder. “Could be,” smiles Marzia, adding, “The recipe was actually by my great-grandfather, Noshir Cooper, and nothing has changed with it, not even a gram.” From chocolate and chocolate walnut, the varieties have moved on to almond, strawberry, coconut, apricot and mango!  

But for now, they’re focussing on the new restaurant. Get set to drive to the hills with an appetite to match.  

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