Zaika-E-Lucknowi Kalyani Nagar, Pune

A somewhat Lucknowi experience!!

Alright so here we were after rather a torturous 130 odd minutes of “Katti Batti”. I was now in a mood to have some real “Boti” 🙂 and we happened to stumble upon this newly opened Lucknowi food joint (around 2 months old)

As we entered we couldn’t help but notice the walls emphasizing historical monuments of Lucknow and also details about some of their special dishes ranging from Biryani to Kormas and Galawati kebabs.

We went ahead and ordered Galawati kebabs and Mutton Biryani.

Galawati Kebabs – 4/5, the texture and the melt in the mouth tenderness of the kebabs almost did full justice to its name barring the fact that I have had slightly tastier versions of this in Agra and Lucknow.
However it’s the best so far in Pune and you would do well to serve it in your plate without breaking it in pieces as it’s that tender 🙂

Mutton Dum Biryani – 3/5, this was a pakka Biryani variant wherein unlike the kacchi Biryani, the meat and rice is cooked separately and then mixed together in layers for a session of “Dum”. Biryani wasn’t dry and the meat that came with it was again very very tender.
However the flavors in Biryani were extremely subtle that it tasted almost bland at times, I made good use of Kebabs and the Biryani tasted better with kebabs.
The Biryani strictly needs to have more flavors to make it more authentic experience for sure.

Service was quick and prompt and the ambience was basic but clean.

In the end I am definitely a bit impressed and can say that they know their stuff and I would definitely be back to taste the Kormas and other gravies soon with a hope to taste authentic Lucknowi recipes.

I called this as somewhat Lucknowi experience because our entire experience was not outstanding, the kebabs were very good but the somewhat flavourless Biryani affected the experience to an extent.

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Bagban Restaurant East Street, Pune

Quite a decent place though requires overhaul in terms of the waiting staff !

Rating – 3.5/5

This place is always buzzing with people and someone or the other is always in the queue to go in. On one such afternoon I noticed a queue of eager people and we decided to give this place a try.
First things first, they don’t accept credit or debit cards so make sure you have enough cash to clear the dues.
Secondly don’t expect a world class service experience while you wait for a Table or getting your food on the table. They are a bit unpredictable with the service part so I suggest if you like their food which is the first reason you’re there then enjoy that and take the service experience with a pinch of salt if you may:)
With the usual “Gyaan” on service done let’s concentrate on the food they serve – it’s largely good whatever I have ordered here and have seldom been disappointed with quality or quantity.

Mutton Biryani – 3.5/5, mutton is tender and the quantity of both meat and rice is sufficient for two people with moderate diet. Where it misses out is in its authenticity as you can’t classify it as a Hyderabadi or Lucknawi style of Biryani but it has a got a taste of its own but yet not as good as the Hyderabadi or Lucknawi variants. Thankfully it’s not dry and that’s always a good sign for a Biryani.

Chicken Afghani – 4/5, nice juicy tandoori Ichicken preparation, medium spicy and always good to have.

Chicken Malai Kebab – 3/5, as you would expect it was mildly spiced but it lacked flavor somewhat as well. I wouldn’t term it bad but it was average at best.

Mutton Rogan Josh – 4/5, it was spicy and good and had all the flavours going for it. We loved it.

Chicken Kadhai – 3.5/5, it actually literally gets served in a Kadhai and we ordered it only because we saw someone else ordering it and we were not disappointed. Though when you first see it the gravy has a blackish color to it but it tastes just fine. Even a half portion is more than enough for two persons.

Butter Naan – it’s nice and crispy and comes with three pieces per order so two are more than goof for a meal.

Indoor seating is recommended as the outdoor one may not look very hygienic with flies giving you ample company. The outdoor has a separate menu with the same dishes but slightly lower prices on an average by 20 bucks or so.

The place doesn’t have its own parking so you’re dependent on the public parking slots of East Street. The vacant slots are extremely difficult to locate over the weekends and the waiting time for a table increases many folds so I seldom visit it during the evenings on weekends.

Full marks for food and is decently priced for the quantity. However the entire staff including the Manager/Owner have to go a long way to look after their customers and give up their rather snobbish behaviour and it will only serve them good in the long run.

Another annoying point are the folks who usually take down your names as you wait to be seated, c’mon guys you’re not doing a favor to humanity as you talk to your patrons, have some humbleness and politeness that will only increase your reputation.