For a place that’s basically famous for being a watering hole for artistes and art-lovers, Zaga ‘Art Cafe & Bar‘ sure has a lot going on the ‘& Bar’ front. Six floors of artsy stuff going on and just as much going on in the kitchen, too. But that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about a rare breed of an all-black badass game bird that’s famous among enthusiasts for its low cholesterol, high protein-content delectable meat. The Kadaknath, or ‘kaali maasi’ as it’s alternatively known as. This chicken is so black that its bones are black too. As are the eggs. This chicken is so black that when it went to night school they marked it absent. Okay, I think you get the point. So onwards and upwards then, Zaga has taken to be the only restaurant in central Pune to serve a Kadaknath Chicken Thaali on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The frequency may increase in the near future, but for now, this is what you’re gonna have to plan around. And plan you should because the novelty element alone is enough reason to make that trip even if you’re not as enthusiastic about high quality, slow-cooked meat as I am.
Anywho, the main course isn’t something you jump into – so a first course was had, of
Vietnamese Rice Rolls – Delicately rolled crunchy pickled veggies with a smashing sweet chilli dip on the side. Oh and some salad too that I didn’t have. They had me at the rolls 😉
Honey Chilli Crispy Chicken – sweet, sticky and aptly spiced, these crunchy chicken morsels were exactly what I wanted to wash down my cocktail with. Speaking of,
Basil Whisky – Potent Thai Basil dominating even the whisky as you sip it; the whisky doing its boozy warming thing as it goes down, this one’s a beautiful thing to have by itself, and even better with the chicken.
And finally, the visit’s raison d’être – Kadaknath Chiken!!
The chicken itself has bite despite the near-8 hour slow cooking, has its own red-meat like flavour, and the dark, heavy gravy it was soaked in, was unbelievably delish! My only gripe (if any) was that I couldn’t have more of this! Served with chapati, fragrant rice and a very interesting koshimbir (salad) on the side, this is a meal in itself and worth the wait. All good things in life come to those who wait, yaknow!
All in all, a great experience in the heart of the city to pair with 5 other floors of experiences, Zaga Art Cafe and Bar is something you really should experience if you’re in the neighbourhood. Or even otherwise.