Precious little is known about the Indian state of Bihar and even lesser about their cuisine. Fortunately, in New Delhi, we have The Potbelly serving us carefully planned and prepared Bihari dishes. We have been postponing a visit to The Potbelly because of the location and the distance to travel in Delhi traffic. It is by sheer chance that we came to know, there is a second branch of The Potbelly and perhaps better than the main one.
Location of The Potbelly
The second outlet of The Potbelly is located at the most likely of the places, Bihar Niwas. Bihar Niwas is a state govt run guest house. The Potbelly has been established within its premises. You have to follow Google Maps very carefully as this locality is a maze and everything looks same. Nearest landmark is Yashwant Place Commercial Complex. The restaurant has a separate entrance, but you can also use the main entrance of Bihar Niwas. Ample parking is available, plus you can park on the main road too.
On Google maps it has been wrongly marked as The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe. It is supposed to be only The Potbelly and it is not on the rooftop, but the main outlet is.
About The Potbelly
As soon as you step inside, you are taken to another world. State Bhavans, many of them proudly display their state cuisine. But The Potbelly takes it a step further. Interiors are done up with great care and lots of fine tuning. Each inch of space is well utilized. The room is oddly shaped, but the placements of the tables is such, that you have a cosy place to sit and enjoy your company and your meal. Two raised platforms give you a sort of private space, outside seating is facing a lush green lawn and rest of the central place is occupied with round or square tables. Furniture is very interesting. I was ready with my DSLR, but as I entered, I was totally floored and could not stop clicking photos.
About the food at The Potbelly
Now frankly speaking we are part of the larger majority who have not eaten Bihari food earlier so cannot comment on the authenticity of the same, but whatever was prepared was very very good. Bihari cuisine uses commonly available ingredients but the recipe is different and so are the names.
The menu card is as interesting as the food, it is pleasing to read as well as hold. Each item on the menu is accompanied with a description. Menu mostly is consisting of two part, the starters and main course, divided between veg and non veg. There is an equal emphasis on the Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian dishes with a limited but focused range. of items on the menu. And before we talk about portions, remember, it is presentation to Bihari food.
We started off with the snacks, Meat Pakora Basket and Veg Pakora Basket. They consist of assorted Pakoras or Bhujiyas or Bhajji made of potato and onion mix and brinjal. The non veg variant also contained meat balls, which literally melted in the mouth. The pakoras has the right amount of crispiness and the chutney accompanying them is awesome. Dont miss the Kheema Ghoogni which is a mix of minced meat and channa or black gram. This is different combo again since traditionally minced meat is mixed with green peas, most of the times. This preparation is laced with green chillies and at the bottom are crispy rice flakes.
From the main course, we were only able to order Khada Masala Chicken. It is named as a platter, but is actually a thali which consists of the curry, rice or paratha depending on your choice, curd boondi raita and salad. Portions are good enough for one person. Preparation and presentation is good. Chicken is tender and fresh and the balances of spices if correct to the last bit.
One the sidelines, range of drinks are available, but watch out for the surprise, Mirchi Masala Lemonade.
Service here is very very slow and for that this place gets a full five out of five. Sounds strange, well suffice to say that there are places that you food came fast, you had a quick bite and left, but not this one. We enjoyed the waiting, as I said earlier, the best place to relax for a meal in Delhi. And the place to eat authentic Bihari cuisine, let them take as much time as they want.
Now before this review starts sounding like sponsored, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Compared to other eating places in Delhi, where the emphasis is huge, portions here are small.
- Service is very slow, so a planned meal is good options and so is lots of discussion with your waiter prior to ordering.
- Dishes are expensive, again considering that this is located in a state govt guest house on govt premises and also considering the portions which they serve.
And to finish off here is a video by Rocky and Mayur. The video covers their main branch, but as I said earlier, this one at Bihar Niwas is better than that one.