Potbelly Café at Shahpur Jat, New Delhi: A Bihari High

Dana Jamarua ThaliA friend and I are at Shahpur Jat. And we see the board of Potbelly café perched on the first floor. At the spur of the moment, we decide to venture in, sprinting our way to the first floor, only to realize that many more floors have to be climbed. Since we are already committed, we huff and puff our way to the roof top. As we enter out of breath, promising to join the gym immediately after the meal, we are glad we chose to climb up. Nestled above the tree tops and giving a great view of the green environs around, the café has been done up in a refreshingly bucolic manner.

Potbelly interiorsWe are met by a charming Puja Sahu, one of the two owners of the place. When asked how this two-year-old café took shape, she tells us that she chose to set it up here because she had a boutique below in the same building. Wanting to popularize the food of her native Bihar, this eatery was born. She has done everything herself, right from the décor to the choice of the menu that captures the taste of Bihar.

Litti ChokhaWe start with the zingy mirch masala lemonade (Rs 95) as we decide on what to order. Since my friend is a vegetarian, we zero in onto baggia basket (Rs 145) which pockets of rice flour stuffed with lentils and spices, served with chutneys. I fall in love with this dish at the first bite. It is spicy, (I quite enjoy seeing my friend who has a lower chilly threshold turn beetroot red) and has an amazing texture.

For mains my friend chooses the legendary litti chokha platter (Rs 240) which is a traditional dish of Bihar. Litti is whole-wheat balls stuffed with masalas and sattu (roasted gram flour), similar to bati in Rajasthan, and is served with two types of Aubergine mash called chokha, and and channa daal. Both the chokha and the daal are very tasty, but the litti is a bit too big and unwieldy for us. I choose the litti mutton platter (Rs 340) which, apart from the litti, has beautifully cooked khada masala mutton in a thick spicy gravy, and aubergine chokha.

Given that there is not much to choose from Bihari desserts, we decide to give the dessert course a miss.

More variety in the menu will be much appreciated though. Given that the Bihari expat population has spread the cuisine not only in South Asia, but also in Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago with their famous mutton curry, I would love to have it here. Having said that, potbelly café is an enjoyable place to visit. I am definitely coming back to try their keema goli and Champaran style mutton.

Ratings (out of 5)

Food: 4.0 | Ambiance: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 |Overall: 4.0

Meal for Two: Rs 900 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timing: 12:30 PM to 11 PM

Address116 C, 4th Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi | Phone: 011 41612048, +91 9811122764

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