Those who enter Zaks for the first time may be excused if thoughts of Arabian Nights, Scheherazade and her 1,001 tales come to mind. Surely King Shahryar was served a platter of Mushakal (a bed of rice with an assortment of kebabs) and Baklava for dessert as he listened to her tale, thus granting her life for yet another day? Did he and Scheherazade eat from the same platter as is traditional in the Middle East, dipping their fingers into bowls of gravy and sipping mint tea, or even the Ghawa (Turkish coffee)?
It's all things Arabian at this basement eatery, one of the oldest on Coles Road. The blue décor, paintings of date palms, oasis and dhows, conversation in Arabic floating in the air — all of it transports you to the mystic of the Middle East.
Hystam Zakey, son of owners Zaks and Jameela, calls the Mushakal “heaven for meat lovers”, but points out that Arabic food doesn't mean just meat. “There is nothing Arabian about Arabi Khana without vegetarian starters,” says Hystam.
There is much history to Hystam's ancestory. His pioneering great grandfather left Syria for Bangalore and set up a factory producing pickles, spices and preserves. His grandfather opened a chocolate factory before starting out with Zaks, originally in Haines Road. This generation of the family, apart from expanding to a centralised kitchen in Kamanahalli that caters to large clients, will soon be opening a sweet factory.
The smoky takeaway section, redolent of the Shawarma wrap and its variants, is a popular hangout. With the costliest dish being just Rs. 200, Zaks is easy on the wallet.
Call Zaks at 9343093389