I was supposed to meet my friend, Priyadarshini (Priyus, to me), but for some reason I could not make it before my parents came into town for their semi-annual holiday. Meek, innocent ol’ me was threatened by Priyus that I would have hell to pay if I did not catch up with her as soon as my parents left town. I was petrified. What could I do but relent? (Angelic smile for the public – Evil grin from within) When we finally honed in on a convenient date and time, the place we decided to head to was Zaheer Khan's Fine Dine aka ZK’s. I had informed their PRO, Alifya, and she was kind enough to make a reservation for us.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were politely greeted by their Manager, Shoaib, and lead to our table. While we checked the menu card the restaurant sent us a very refreshing complimentary drink. It was made with basil, mint, lime, pieces of cucumber and was truly refreshing. (Of course, I did not eat the cucumber pieces. Yeh bhi kya bolne wali baat hai :P ) Later, we also ordered for a fresh lime soda and a Virgin Mojito, both of which were very nicely made.
As a starter my vegetarian friend chose Dahi ke Kabab and this carnivore, yours truly, chose the Galouti Kabab.
The Dahi ke Kabab were well made but I’m not one for bland food hence it wasn’t a ‘wow’ dish for me. My friend too claimed she had eaten better ones in and outside the city.
Having heard great reviews from friends about their Galouti Kababs I was expecting them to blow my mind. Unfortunately, they did not! I’ve had way better Galouti Kababs. Taste wise they weren’t bad in the least bit and they were very juicy too but the texture was a letdown! As culinary history goes, these Kababs were first made by a Khansamma (chef) for a Nawab who had lost all his teeth and found it difficult to chew on anything. The name Galouti itself suggests “galla hua” as in softer than soft, melt in the mouth. These were not so! :( The mince for Galouti Kabab is ideally a mutton paste that melts on the palate in a jiffy; one simply does not need to chew on it. This was very fine mince, I will definitely grant them that, but, in no Universe was it a perfect melt in the mouth Galouti Kabab. Was I disappointed? Yes!
For the main course we chose Dahi Pakodi Kadhi, Paneer Makhanwalla and Haleem. Please don’t give me weird looks. The vegetarian dishes were chosen by Priyus. I did mention she is a vegetarian.
The Dahi Pakodi Kadhi was very nice as was the Haleem but... but... but... both had a tad more salt than necessary. We had already begun eating hence when Shoaib came over to ask if the meal was okay, we gave him our feedback in regard to the ‘salt’ issue. We did not want the dishes exchanged because getting new dishes would mean wastage of food but we did request him to take the dishes back into the kitchen for the chef to check out. Had the salt content of both dishes been correct, these dishes would have been perfect.
I tried a wee bit of the Makhani Paneer. It was creamy, perfectly spiced and seasoned, and resplendent with soft pieces of paneer. It was a dish that the chef totally aced. The Garlic Butter Naan and the Khasta Roti (served with Haleem) were also perfectly made!
I had them parcel an extra dish for me, Kheema Kaleji. I humbly bow my head to the chef in utmost respect. It was one of the best Kheema Kaleji I have ever had. It was spicy, sautéed to perfection with ample pieces of kaleji (liver). I LOVED it! It was the dish of the day!
Our choices for dessert were, Malai Kulfi and Shahi Tukda. The Malai Kulfi was nice but we both felt it would have been better had it been creamier.
As for the Shahi Tukda, the combination of that fried piece of bread with the Rabdi did absolutely nothing for me but that Rabdi, when had by itself, was out’fuckin’standing! I’ll give the Rabdi a perfect score of 10/10.
The service was attentive without being intrusive. The ambiance was extremely pleasant. With my teenage crush, Kapil Dev, staring down at me, it had to be. ;-) (Sorry Zaheer, I’m from the 80’s era hence it, for me, it can only be Kapil Dev.) Food wise, mostly, everything we tried bordered on ‘quite good’ but had the potential to be much better. The Rabdi and the Kheema Kaleji are, of course, exceptions. I hope Team ZK’s pays attention to the finer points of their cuisine thereby ensuring that the diner truly experiences a ‘fine dine’ experience. Will I return to ZK’s? Yes, I definitely shall. I truly feel they can and will do better the next time around.
Food: 3/5 (for the Kheema Kaleji and Kapil Dev – 5/5)
Address: Ground floor, Winner Court, 23 Sahani Sujan Park, Lulla Nagar, Kondhwa, Pune
Tel: 020 66547788 / 020 26834455
Some extra photographs...