In a line– Authentic Bihari food served in a quirky ambience.
Price for two– Rs. 1000 (approx)
Must haves- Khada Masala Chicken, Baggia Basket, Litti Chokha
Nearest Metro Station– Hauz Khas
Are you willing to try some ethnic cuisines of the world ? Chances are that you have already tried Mexican, Japanese, American and the most common, Italian and Chinese.
With changing trends, most of us have got influenced by what the world palate is offering, forgetting what our culture has in store for us.
One such cuisine that we as Indians are not aware of(as much) when it comes to selecting the best of Indian dishes, is the humble and wholesome, Bihari Cuisine.
So if you’re aching for a departure from the butter chicken and paranthas, then Bihari food can be given a shot, and what better place to gorge onto some lip smacking bihari delicacies, than The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe.
Located in the narrow by-lanes of Shahpur Jat, this one-of-its-kind cafe was the first one to introduce Bihari food to Dilliwallas palate and is here to stay(this can be testified by its second branch opening up in Bihar Niwas, Chanakyapuri).
Somewhere between the myriad boutiques, you’ll find a spiraling staircase, that’ll take you up to this cafe. Choose either the very narrow staircase or the spiraling stairs, a certain amount of effort is involved to walk till the fourth floor.
Enter and you’ll be moved by the sense of vibrancy and warmth. The interiors, though simple, with the lashing of pastel colors, have added onto the quirk element. The hanging cane lighting, simple white chairs with pastel hued cloth, teracotta napkin holders, are some of the many little details that this cafe has. Choose to sit either inside, overlooking the long trees and lanes of shahpur jat from the big glass window, or experience the true rooftop experience in the evergreen balcony seating which is surrounded by trees outside.
The menu is as interesting as their decor(the soft watercolor paintings on every page of the menu are worth an eye) and is not long, hence, be assured that you are not going to get confused. However, if it’s going to be your first time with Bihari Food( i.e. beyond litti chokha), just leave it upto the owners to decide and you wouldn’t regret it a bit.
A few days back my tryst with Bihari food at Potbelly began with Baggia Basket(Rs 165) and Phish Phingers (Rs 330). Baggia basket, dish prepared with rice flour, stuffed with chana dal, tasted great with the tomato chokha that came along with it. The name for fish fingers, itself was the motivational factor to order this appetiser which had crisp fish fingers, battered in bihari spices, served along with spicy potato fries. I paired these with a glass of simple and refreshing Rhododendron and Tulsi Ice Tea(Rs 120).
The Keema Aloo Chop(Rs 220) had fried minced meat and potato cutlets, served with a butter toasted bun, making it a mini-meal for small hunger.
Makhana Thali (Rs 250) would be a complete meal for one. It comprised of a simple flavoured makhana and pea sabzi with spinach pooris. The kick to the dish was given by the pickle and chutney.
Coming to Potbelly and not trying the Litti would be no less than a sin, one which I didn’t comit. While the veg Litti Chokha(Rs 250) came along with chana dal, the Litti mutton(Rs 340) came with khada masala mutton and aubergine chokha. Both delicious in their own decided goodness.
For the love of seafood, the Sarson Machli (Rs 330) cannot be missed. Perfectly cooked Fish in a flavourful mustard gravy, served with basmati rice.
The show stopper dish at Potbelly is the Khada Masala Chicken(Rs 330). Chicken pieces in deep crimson gravy arrived with a laccha parantha and raita. The gravy had an explosion of spices in my mouth, making it my pick of the day (This was not only a treat for my eyes, but a treat for my tummy too).
Cold winter winds combined with hot and delicious food and good company made my lunch at Potbelly an experience. While I felt that the service can be honed over a bit, the food and the ambience made up for the lag.
Overall, I believe that Potbelly has filled the void of a Bihari restaurant in Delhi in a successful and interesting way.
Value for Money- 3.5/5