Last week, during my several attempts to write an introduction of a chapter I ended up surfing through http://www.zomato.com( my latest addiction after Flipkart) and bumped onto two excellent reviews of The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe @ Shahpur Jat. I was even thinking of applying for the position of Content analyst in Zomato. Occupational Hazards!!!! Well, I had already made plans of Cafe Small Talk for Sunday so decided to catch up with Sa and explore Potbelly- a restaurant which was also recommended by a very close friend quite some time back. We decided to settle for dinner.
Potbelly is located right behind UCO Bank ATM in Shahpur Jat and the narrow flight of stairs leads you to this wonderfully lit place with bright interiors. The decor is quite interesting and pleasant. Innovative use of Chai Glasses to lit up the place. Used Wine Bottles serve as flower vases and the warm colours of the upholstery is a pleasant change. For some lovely pictures you can visit the following blogger’s link (http://www.archi-star.net/2012/05/hangout-potbelly-cafe-shahpur-jat.html). Their cutlery could have been a little more innovative but I admired the wonderful share of Longpi pottery mugs and starter plates in which they served their tea and starters.
Well, take a wild guess about the cuisine they serve. BIHARI FOOD! Yes, the very mention of Bihari food will remind you of Litti Chokha (wheat balls stuffed with Sattu) but trust me it is much more than that. Despite the zomato reviewers giving a thumbs up for their GolMirch Chicken Platter (Boneless Chicken In Creamy Pepper Preparation served with tawa mirchi lachha Parantha and saboodana pakoras) I decided to settle down for the good old Litti Chokha while Sa settled for Madhubani Thali (Traditional Alu Chana Dal served with assortment of sattu puri and onion puri. Aubergine Raita which tasted sweet was the final punch). They have a non-vegetarian option as well where Littis are served with Khada Masala Chicken and Aubergine Chokha. We began our meal with Baggia Basket ( pockets of rice stuffed with lentils) which came with a fresh chutney and nice masala chai followed by our main course. We had a perfect dinner break before busy Friday.
As I write this review I have a wish list of things I have to try next time I am there. And of course I will go back during lunch time to enjoy the sunny afternoon on a chilly weekend.
So, in case you have not planned your weekend, you might like to reserve yourself a nice cosy corner for Sunday lunch @ Potbelly.
Address : The Potbelly RoofTop Cafe, 116 C, 4th Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi. Phone : 011-41612108
Latest Menu is available on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ThePotbelly.
Happy Weekend to all itiriti readers.
P.S. For More details on Bihari food read this interesting article by Nivriti Butalia on DNA. Here is the link:
The small luxuries of the Delhi chill are when you wake up to a bright, sunny morning on a Sunday. For a long time, I had promised K to take her out to Hauz Khas Village (HKV). While I still believe that the first visit to HKV should begin with a hearty plate of Yeti Momos and other delights this time I thought to take a slight detour because K loves Italian food. So, I decided to do a zomato search (www.zomato.com- the online portal with listings of restaurants, menu and you can even make your table reservation) and decided to head for Cafe Small Talk.
Cafe Small Talk is nestled in one of the by-lanes. As the staircases lead you to the first floor you will be welcomed to a twenty seater restaurant overlooking the by-lane. If you like quite places and want to catch up with a friend for a long conversation this is the place.
A Glimpse of the interiors
The place is tastefully done. The bright coloured upholstery complements the white interiors and the white rimmed tables. Wine bottles with pretty laces on the table are a welcome change. Tissues are neatly rolled in brass glasses with pink and white laces. Before laying our eyes on the menu we decided to gaze at the lovely interiors waiting for our cup of Cappuccino we had ordered the moment we stepped in. As the two cups of Cappuccino arrived, the white cutlery with floral engravings were the perfect beginning to the grand lunch we had. Though I had made up my mind to order for grilled chicken in lemon butter sauce K and I decided to settle for crostini platter, grilled chicken with lamb and thyme sauce, spaghetti bolognese with chicken and finished off our meal with gooey chocolate.
Grilled Chicken with Lamb and Thyme Sauce
The portions that arrived were huge and we struggled to finish the last bit . They have an interesting menu and next time I plan to try out their prawns and strong tiramisu. Interestingly, the prices on the menu are inclusive of vat and they charge a 10 % service on the total bill. A welcome change from what you see and what you end up paying.
Cafe Small Talk is worth a try because of its value for money food, “pretty” and cosy interiors – the perfect way to unwind a sun-kissed winter afternoon. Check out the menu on www.zomato.com and venture out for a lunch @ Cafe Small Talk.
Address: Cafe Small Talk, 14, First Floor, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi.
All Day Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner -1.00pm-11.00pm
Photo courtesy : Kamalika Sen
Today is Navami- practically the last day of the Puja. As a child I dreaded this day and to compensate for the end to the four days of fun and frolic I used to keep aside the best of the five dresses for the pandal hopping. Cut to 2012. One had heard that Chittaranjan Park (popularly known as C.R. Park) the Bengali neighbourhood puts on its festive colours during Durga Puja and I thought it would not be like Kolkata in terms of the crowd,the endless queues. Well, I was wrong.
If you are wondering that pandal hopping is an easy exercise in CR Park let me give you a word of caution. If you hate traffic, avoid travelling near 5km radius of C.R. Park. You might have to walk down. Its as simple as that. All the entry points to C.R. Park are barred and only vehicles with passes are allowed to enter and exit. Basically, you need to brave the traffic regulations around Chittaranjan Park (C.R.Park) – the Bengali neighbourhood of Delhi to see how festivities grip this otherwise quite neighbourhood in Delhi. The strings of bulbs hang from the trees welcoming the devotees and leading the way to the theme based pandal. As you enter, each of the pandals you will be led to three distinct spaces- first, designated to Goddess Durga, second to the food court and third to the cultural programmes that are held from Saptami to Navami.
The food courts of the pandals have all the known names in the business giving food stalls to make most of the business. B-Block Puja Pandal Food court had food stalls by Karims to Yo China. Beyond that the famous egg rolls, chicken rolls and Fish Fry were all there. The Puja Pandal adjacent to GK II Gurudwara also had an interesting mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian affair in their food court. Shiv Mandir Puja ground saw some interesting stalls of Phuchka, Ghugni and Biryani. The most interesting part about the food and festivities during Durga Puja is also how people occupy the streets and pavements for food stalls. For instance, the otherwise busy Kalibari Mandir Marg near Connaught Place which wears a busy traffic during weekdays has made way for a string of food stalls selling Ghugni, Jhal Muri ( infact one of the stalls claimed famous Jhal Muri from Burdwan), Mughlai Parantha, Rolls with various fillings like egg, chicken and mutton, Fried Rice and Chilli Chicken, tandoor items and of course Biryani.
The by lanes of CR Park have been taken over by people selling Ghugni, Kachori Alur Dam and even Masala Papad and various fries. The neighbourhood is buzzing with people making their way out from the pandals and the faint screeching noise of the traffic signalling how the life changes during festivities. As I struggle my way through the by lanes to reach Market No 1 to take my friends on a guided tour of the pandals I receive a call, “ We are stuck in traffic. It does not seem to move”. I wait patiently hanging around the magazine stall, flipping through all the Puja Barshiki (special editions that are published during Puja), make a wish list of all the new songs that I must try to listen to on youtube ( songs/ music albums are also released during this time) and of course collect a menu from all the food stalls. I begin my evening food trail with a plate of Phuchka popularly known as Panipuri in Delhi. In Bengal we use tamarind water flavoured with Gandhoraaj Lebu and the potato is mashed and mixed with chana, masala and tamarind pulp. The phucka prepared from Atta is peculiar to Bengal as well. As I wait for my friends to arrive I also head towards Kamala Sweets to help myself with a sweet dish- Chhanar Jilipi. Around 8pm my friends arrive and we head straight to Annapurna Hotel which has closed its air conditioned outlets (Shop no 142 and 143) and laid out chairs and tables in the open space of Market No 1. We decide to head straight for “fish” y meal thalis of Pabda, Hilsa and Rui. The Hilsa Curry was the perfect way to end a Navami Dinner- a day when we are allowed to have non vegetarian food and most households cook Panthar Jhol ( Mutton). The Hilsa Curry was spot on. As one my uncles would say, “ Maa Annapurna ( also the Goddess of Rice in other words, provider of food has blessed this place… there is magic and it is because of Annapurna’s blessing..”. I left the place and might go back again to have a Hilsa thali all for Rs 180/-
Time to get some rest and get ready for Bijoya Dashami…
On a cold evening, while I was unpacking, I received a call from my friend that they have discovered a place close to C.R. Park which serves “authentic” Bengali dishes and not too overpriced. Considering it was almost month end and we could spare Rs 250 per head we decided to opt for the home delivery option of this place. A quick search on google led us to the world of City of Joy- a restaurant tucked away in Aravali Shopping Complex, Alaknanda. After a listing of the menus which comprised of Bhetki Paturi, Railway Mutton Curry and Chicken DakBanglow we settled for Maa er hater atar roti ( thats what the Menu card calls Roti/ most commonly known in North India as Tawa Roti). A friendly voice listed the orders and took exactly 45 min to home deliver.
We were highly impressed by the taste and the quantity. Paturi tasted divine. The cynic that I am I thought this would be a one time performance and yesterday on a note of emergency I called them up to check around 2.30pm if they would home deliver after 3pm since I was expecting a friend who had missed her lunch. They agreed to take the order around 3pm and the lunch spread was usually grand. I kept my fingers crossed as I unwrapped the Paturi and Aloo Posto ( Potato and Poppy seed paste) hoping that nothing should go wrong since this was practically the last order and the chefs must be retired souls. To our amazement the greenpeas stuffed kachoris were done to perfection. I could visualise the fluffy texture it might have had if I had eaten it in their restaurant. My friend was highly impressed and like a good foodie she said she does not think if any of the leftovers would make its way to my dinner. Content and relieved I said to my mind thank you City of Joy for being there.
I would recommend this place to anybody who is willing to explore Bengali cuisine as they offer quite a variety of vegetarian and non- vegetarian options which usually does not find its way to the Menu cards. Dishes like Posto Narkel Bora (a fried preparation of Poppy seeds, coconut), Data Chachori, Echorer Guli Kofta ( Kofta of Jackfruit), mouri foron diye kalai er dal ( a lentil preparation with sauf), the list is endless and I would suggest you could browse their website www.cityofjoydelhi.com for details.
You can also visit their restaurant which is quite cosy in its own way. So, next time you want to dig into some Bengali delicacy you can explore this place. Usual disclaimers apply: Some items are seasonal and subject to availability, particularly items to be sourced from West Bengal.