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Restaurant review: Step in for a taste of Bihari cuisine

June 01, 2013 09:51 IST

Restaurant review: Step in for a taste of Bihari cuisine

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Harnoor Channi Tiwary

Potbelly moves away from the run-of-the-mill mughlai cuisine. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.

Familiar flavours on the palette are so satisfying that we often do not step out of our comfort zone. Mughlai and South Indian restaurants are the most popular picks anywhere in the country, more so, in the capital.

Though a few restaurants experiment with unique international cuisines like Spanish and Russian, not too many try to explore the plethora of Indian cuisines, which is a shame. India, in all its diversity, is an amalgamation of tastes and flavours. Every state has a unique set of ingredients and techniques and it is virtually impossible to savour all of them in one lifetime.

Thus, it is commendable to step out of the box and do something different in the restaurant business. Which is what Potbelly excels at. Bihari food is perhaps one of the most underrated and unexplored tastes in the city and Potbelly makes it their business to change that. Started by the very talented designer Puja Sahu and Vivita Relan, the restaurant is hardly two years old but has already gained quite a strong foothold in the gourmet scene of the city.

Shahpur Jat is not an obvious choice for a restaurant. The tiny maze of lanes may sound romantic but in reality, are dusty and uninviting. But that does not deter patrons from driving all the way to visit the restaurant. Perhaps, in deciding not to be located in the now-popular Hauz Khas Village area, Potbelly creates yet another niche, at the same time as keeping overheads low.


Image: Potbelly in Delhi serves some mean Bihari cuisine. Seen here are a plate of chops
Photographs: Courtesy Potbelly

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Restaurant review: Step in for a taste of Bihari cuisine

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Harnoor Channi Tiwary

A narrow staircase seems to go on forever as you climb your way to the rooftop. The decor is simple but not simplistic. Artfully done up with various hues of green and yellow dominating the room, the antique look reflected in interesting frames and benches, the effect is bright and cozy. It is equally inviting on a sunny winter afternoon as on a balmy summer night. Co-owner Puja ensures that the customer experience is paramount, the service is prompt and food delivered hot and fresh.

But the proof of the pudding is in its taste. Which is where Potbelly knocks it out of the park. The menu lists items that haven’t been seen in any menu in the city, yet look familiar enough to get one drooling. The golden crispy pakora basket comes highly recommended (veg and meat basket available) but it is the Keema Golis and Fish Phingers (yes, that’s how they spell it) that we finally decided to order for appetizers.


Image: Fish Phingers
Photographs: Harnoor Channi Tiwary

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Restaurant review: Step in for a taste of Bihari cuisine

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Harnoor Channi Tiwary

The Keema Golis were spiced meatballs served with green chutney but it was the unassuming fries that came as an accompaniment to the Fish Phingers that had us licking our fingers. Tossed in a tomato chunky salsa, the fries and the lehsun chutney on the plate were unlike those served elsewhere. And the delightfully spiced Apple Cinnamon Iced Tea was the surprising icing on this cake.

Where the appetizers set the tone, the main course delivered as promised. It is a cardinal sin to go to a Bihari Restaurant and not order Litti Chokha.

I confess, I am not a fan of the tasteless ones I have sampled at roadside stalls till date, but Potbelly’s version has me as a convert. The Mutton Litti came with 2 large littis (round balls of dough stuffed with sattu, roasted on a pit and doused with ghee), a small portion of chokha and a huge bowl of mutton in thick brown gravy. The mutton was succulent and the gravy so delicious that we just couldn’t get enough of it


Image: Keema Goli
Photographs: Harnoor Channi Tiwary

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Restaurant review: Step in for a taste of Bihari cuisine

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Harnoor Channi Tiwary

The Jhinga Machli was a spicy mustard based prawn curry served with rice and boondi raita. The medium sized shrimps were juicy and the gravy addictive. Each dish in this restaurant came with an interesting range of new flavours, some which reminded one of Bengali food (due to the use of mustard and poppy seeds).

Though the prices are not on the lower side, with the main course dishes priced between Rs 250 and 350, the generous portions more than make up for it. For desert, we couldn’t resist ordering the Apple Cinnamon Cake and the Pineapple cake but ended up packing most of those huge slices.

In a city where new restaurants are popping up every few days and shutting shop just as often, Potbelly is here to stay. The concept is unique, the decor inviting and the food downright delicious. Don’t take my word for it, go have a taste yourself.

Meal for 2: Rs.1200

Rating: 8.5 on 10

Timings: 11:00 am to midnight

Ph: 011 4161 2048

Potbelly, The Rooftop Cafe
116 C, 4th floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, India


Image: Litti Chokha
Photographs: Courtesy Potbelly

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