India’s diversity is not only reflected in its socio-cultural identity but also in distinctly varied cuisine. The cuisine in a particular region is largely dependent on the local produce, livestock, religious and cultural beliefs.
So we have a Bebinca, a Goan dessert and a Bengali Sondesh, which are different in the ingredients used, cooking techniques and taste. Another example is Kashmiri Gostaba and Mappila Ishtu from Kerala which has similar ingredients but vastly different in taste and texture. Spicy Nellore Chepala Pulusu (fish in tamarind sauce from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh), is again a contrast to Maacher Jhol from West Bengal, which is pungent. Surprisingly both these dishes belong to the same coast!
We Delhiites are fortunate that we have a fair share of eating joints catering to most of the regional cuisines. We have a few restaurants/canteens, which serve Kannadiga, Chettinad, Malayali and fantastic Andhra cuisine in Delhi NCR. We also have access to good Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri, Naga and Gujarati food.
In the last few years several stalls have sprung up in Delhi NCR selling Bihar’s favourite food – Litti Chouka. Though I have tried Litti Chokha at a friend’s place, I was disappointed when I tasted the same from a food vendour in sector 18, Noida.
So, yesterday when I got a chance to visit The Potbelly Café at the Bihar Bhawan in Chanakyapuri, I surely did not want to miss it. Earlier, I had tried to visit The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe in Shahpur Jat and had to abort the attempt failing to locate the eating joint.
The potbelly Café is on the ground floor of Bihar Bhawan and has comfortable seating inside and a few tables outside which one can use if the weather is pleasant. The retro décor soothing with colorful chairs and ample lighting.
We ordered a portion of Pakora Basket and Keema Aloo Chop as starters. The assorted pakoras had brinjal chukkas, golden fried potatoes, saboodana pakoras and onion pakoras served with a delightful coriander and tomato chutney.
The saboodana pakoras were crisp and brown on the outside with a soft heart. The Keema Aloo Chops were also cooked to perfection and served with bread and again saboodana pakoras.
Our next order was a Pudina Chicken Pulao, which again came with saboodana pakoras! The pulao was mildly spicy with whole spices and the chicken pieces were succulent. The accompanying raita was tempered with whole red chilli and cumin. It was quite filling and was presented well. Simple ingredients with great taste.
We rounded off our lunch with a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with ice cream.
With good service and food this was indeed and wonderful experience.