Yeh EMU EMU kya hai!?

Emu is like a little smaller version of an ostrich. I have been real close to an ostrich during my trip to South Africa and god are they scary when they run around! I very happily decided that I’d ride an ostrich because you have to pass a weight test to do so which I passed, so then I was too delighted to think of backing out. To ride an ostrich you need a ladder to climb and sit on it and while doing so the ostrich’s head is covered with cloth cause else they will just knock your head off!! And then you are supposed to lean your back a little and hold the rear part of the wing lightly (I mean why lightly!?? It runs so fast you need to hold it with all your strength). Basically you shouldn’t hold it so tight that you snap its feathers. I do have a well deserved(in my opinion) certificate for riding an ostrich! I do feel proud 😛

So yes, why am I talking about ostriches and emus…it’s all because me and my friends decided to head to Toni daa dhaba on the old Mumbai Pune highway, it’s pretty close to Kamshet.

This dhaba is unique because it serves wild rabbit, emu and guinea fowl. As soon as you enter the parking area of this dhaba you’ll see an Emu pen and ducks waddling around and a jalebi wala making hot hot jalebis which are not the regular saffron color.

The place was crowded and I’m guessing it was so because it was a Saturday. I really did wonder whether the diners were there for trying these rare meats or just to eat the regular dhaba fair.

We decided to try emu so we started asking our server various questions like how is the meat, red meat or no, which dish should we call for and so on. The menu is too vast and you can easily get confused so it’s better you consult your server for some help in deciding your meal. We didn’t wanna take a big risk and end up with a lot of food that would go waste so we picked Emu tikka, as it had just 8 pieces, chicken banjara, some rotis to go with it and end the meal with jalebis.

While waiting for the food to arrive we were served really nice tad spicy green minty yogurt chutney, chili pickle, onions and mogri (radish pods) ka achar.

The emu arrived – looked like mutton, had masalas like any other tikka you get but was surely chewy, stringy and not as juicy as the other mutton kebabs we get. It was served with two types of kachumbars – one which was onions and cabbage tossed in red chili powder and chaat masala and the other was sweet curd with shredded cabbage and carrots. Stick to the spicy one I’d say…it goes well with the tikka. After asking the server why the kebabs were so tough to eat we were informed that emu meat is 97% fat free and low in calories. Despite the stringy texture of the meat the flavor was there!

Next up was the chicken banjara and it didn’t disappoint. Juicy succulent pieces of chicken in nice creamy flavorful yellow gravy went perfectly with the tandoori roti and onions on the side. The quantity here is a little too much so please think before you order especially if you have to drive back after that…drowsy drivers are a big no no!

The jalebis came next and as I mentioned earlier they were not the regular yellow/saffron color we get, they were off white in color, hot, not too sweet and a bit crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. So well I was a bit torn as I am a fan of nice crisp piping hot jalebis which are not too sweet…so I didn’t know whether I liked it or no…

Toni daa dhaba was not too disappointing…it’s a place where you can try different meats, the regular food is good but it does not qualify to be a dhaba. It’s a bit polished for that…and the prices clearly do not match dhaba standards.

So try this place if you fancy a fancy meat!

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