Dhu'l-Qa'dah / Zil-Hijjah 1423 H
Volume 16-02 No : 194
Camps \ Workshops
With their determined will, courage of conviction and personal touch, Jameela and Zakey have today made "Zaks" the best restaurant in the State offering Arabian cuisine!
Indians, back from Saudi Arabia, either after a visit there for the pilgrimage or just a holiday, return back with pleasant memories of the delicious Arabian food. And the tasty Shawarma Roll is of course an unforgettable dish. When you are back on the Indian soil, make sure you head straight towards “Zaks-the Young Café” in Bangalore, the first and only restaurant in Karnataka that offers a range of Arabian cuisine. Migrating all the way from Coimbatore to Bangalore, Jameela married Zakey from Syria. For Jameela who hails from a Kutchi Memon family, it was easy to merge into the Arabian culture and the household. Zakey’s grandparents owned the Egyptian Confectionery which was the first company to introduce chewing gums and chocolates in India. “The chocolates manufactured by Egyptian Confectionery were the best. Today sadly, people do not remember this. My in-laws and my husband were the driving force who kept encouraging me to learn the art of making Arabian dishes and “Zaks” was set up 12 years ago on Haines Road and later shifted on the posh Coles Road”, says Jameela.
With her two sons now in school, Jameela, with her dynamism, has transformed Zaks into the best restaurant offering pure Arabian cuisine. “ You know, it was my father-in-law who told me, that if you respect yourself, nobody can stop your from achieving success. That inspired me and I developed confidence to speak to people. With my husband as my backbone and the moral support from my in-laws, I am today able to dream big and make Zaks the best in town,” says Jameela.
Though there is a team of 12 at Zaks, Jameela personally spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking the dishes and supervising the menu for the day. “ All the spices are sourced from abroad and we are very strict about hygiene and quality control of the food. Since most of the Arabian dishes are cooked in olive oil, so the food is healthy and balanced. Soon I plan to set up a salad bar and a family room downstairs as Arabian salads are the best in the world,” explains Jameela. Just walk into Zaks at noon and it is packed with youngsters, most of them students from abroad, families and newcomers who want to have a taste of Arabia. “ The hectic hours begin right from 12 pm onwards and go on till dinner time around 11 pm. Even during Ramadan, we worked around the clock as the Sehri and Iftar orders kept pouring in,” says Jameela.
What makes Zaks unique? Apart from the delicious Arabian cuisine which is not oily or spicy, it is the ambience that is the winner-simple, yet elegant, with the homely air around. Infact, one set of young students wanted a roasted stuffed sheep. And Jameela and her team spent hours cooking up this dish. So it is not just what’s on the menu that can be ordered. Jameela undertakes party orders, special orders for specific Arabian dishes and a variety of cakes and other goodies on order too.
While the Arabian Dips, Fatoosh, Kabus or the Samak Salona can be relished at Zaks or packed up for eating at home, there is one fact that is thought provoking and that is - with their determined will and courage of conviction, an enterprising couple like Jameela and Zakey have today made Zaks into a patented brand where customers get a royal treatment. With the food business turning into a commercial venture these days, where quality takes a backseat, Jameela and Zakey have shown the world that in this business of hospitality and service, personal touch matters the most. It is no wonder that when their customers arrive at Zaks and do not find the familiar faces of Jameela and Zakey, they call them up and pull them out of the home!
You can meet Jameela and Zakey at Zaks, 68/1/ Concorde Plaza, Coles Road, Ph: 5301307.
Remember Shamsuddin Ahmed, 36, who mobilised a small group of volunteers and started the rescue operations for those trapped in the ill-fated Kacheguda Express that derailed? While the media-shy Ahmed did his best to stay out of the spotlight, sincere efforts do come to light some day or the other. Ahmed was bestowed with the Karnataka State Governor’s Award on January 26th, 2003. The award was in appreciation of his selfless service to the victims of this gruesome train tragedy. Making use of his mobile, he had contacted families of those passengers who were injured and not just that, he took the initiative to mobilise a team of volunteers and began the rescue operations. While the apathetic railway officials remained passive observers, Ahmed motivated a team of children to go around requesting people for pain-killers so that the injured could receive some temporary relief till such time they were administered medical aid. “ All I did was for Allah’s sake, I ask no rewards from anybody except from Allah,” says the soft-spoken Ahmed who can mesmerise anyone with his tips on “ disaster management”.