Potbelly divine (32nd avenue, earlier 32nd milestone, gurugram)

This is a series about how eating out is, post COVID lockdown. Read about the previous dining out / takeaway / home delivery experiences after the COVID pandemic lockdown here – amar Jyoti tres spectra threesixtyone Tenali bagundi hello panda

In a NUtshell

A visually nice restaurant with both indoor & outdoor seating, located in 32nd milestone, an open area with restaurants & cafes where it’s easy to spend hours with friends & family, very warm & efficient staff, great food.

Address & other details: potbelly divine

Meal for 2: ₹500 onwards

Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.

I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster

Short description- in case u r in a hurry

It was one of those days when we had a series of work to do at different offices & realized late in the noon that we had not decided on a place to have lunch. Looked up Zomato & went to ‘collection’ section where the best in town finds a mention, categorywise. Potbelly divine popped up as an option.

We have been to the first ever potbelly restaurant at Shahpur jat delhi & the second one at Bihar bhawan delhi. I did not know they had opened a restaurant here. The word ‘divine’ got added in the gurgaon restaurant- no idea why.

We had fond memories of the other two restaurants. So we decided to go for this.

As we reached 32nd milestone, we realized that we were allowed to park our cars ourselves. In BC2020 (b4 COVID), it was compulsory to hand over the car to valet.

The security check at the entrance to the complex was sans the irritating free massage (patting).

As we walked in, we realized there were very very few customers in the complex. Earlier the place used to be full during lunch & dinner times.

Usually there are glass wall lifts to reach the first floor. All those have been put out of action now. So we took the iron steps – stable & strong.

As we reached in front of the restaurant, we saw the outdoor seating. Cud imagine that wud b a great place to sit during winter afternoons.

Someone opened the door for us & welcomed us in. He asked us to sanitize our hands from a Touch free dispenser near the entrance. The same gentleman gave us a seat of our choice near the window, gave us the printed menu card , got us the food & chatted with us at times. He also helped us in selecting items from the menu, made recommendations that turned out good. He knew very well about the food that was being served – unlike the ‘average blank face boy with zero depth’, in average restaurants of gurgaon.

Great guy. Made us feel at home.

The BC2020 menu card was a comprehensive, printed one. There was an e-version of the short menu card of the items that are available now. The gentleman serving us had this menu on his phone. He opened the menu on the phone & placed it in our table – we did not need to scroll the screen as the menu was 1 page.

The interiors were nice. Heavy wooden furniture & nice decoration on the walls. The best part was the full glass wall on one side that allowed natural light to come in during the day.

There was a decorated counter on one end of the dining hall.

Thruout the lunch we were the only customers. We got to know that there was 1 group that had lunch before us. We also heard that evenings are better & 5-6 tables get filled. That was good to know.

English music was playing in the background. Low volume. Enjoyable. Personally, I wud not mind traditional Bihari songs / instrumental music as well.

They did not accept paytm or Amex. Only cash, VISA, MasterCard – a bit strange, considering they are no more a small struggling boutique restaurant. They have expanded to bangalore now. Am sure more cities are coming up.

We loved the food in general. Mutton khara masala was so good that we wud dip our finger in the bowl & lick off the gravy till the last drop.

Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

We started our meal with Ghugni chura.

This Came with chutneys – green, tomato & parwal !!!

The Tomato pieces were thick, almost crunchy, inspite of being processed – in short, the tomatoes had a ‘bite’. The tomato chutney had strong flavors of pungent (enjoyable) raw mustard oil that we loved. It was tangy too. Rate it 4.75/5

parwal chutney was new for us – it turned out to be almost like avocado – soft & creamy texture, flavors of parwal, but spiked up with pungent raw mustard oil. Rate it 4.5/5

Green chutney was the usual one, but a very good one. Like one gets at home. Not the watery flavor less variety that most mid level places give. Rate it 4.5/5

The black gram Ghugni was excellent – rustic , robust & surely better cooked than most places. The black gram had the bite but was as soft as it cud get. the mouthfeel was outstanding. the creaminess of the dry gravy was very interesting. Rare variety I wud say. Rate it 4.75/5

The chura (chiwda/chirey/ bhel) was perfectly crisp & perfectly seasoned. This was put in the base & ghugni put on top. Rate it 4.5/5

Rating of the dish averages out to 4.6/5

As suggested by the gentleman serving us, we chose Madhubani thali. It had 4 pooris in 4 different colors – Sattu (white), ragi (brown), pyaz (red) & palak (green).

The pooris had no salt in it. So they cud only be enjoyed with a curry / chutney, not just as it is. I found this a bit strange as I did not understand the point of having flavors if they could not be tasted independently – coz with curry, the poori flavor was diminishing. I remembered this from a conversation with a friend from Bihar. Checked with the gentleman who was seeing us food ‘do they put salt in the pooris in your home village’. He said ‘no’. That was honest as he did not know why I asked the question. So, to sum up, we ate the colorful pooris but cud not make out the difference in taste in a blind test – except that the flavor wud give a hint. Well, who am I to comment on a cuisine that has developed over decades, centuries, maybe millennia….

Not rating it as I don’t know how to react.

The thali had 2 chutneys – Jimikand (yellowish) & garlic chutney (orangish).

The jimikand Chutney had a tad sour feel to it. It had full flavors of jimikand (elephant foot yam, a root that is eaten more often in eastern , southern india, Maharashtra ) & hint of its texture. We loved it. Rate it 4.75/5

Garlic chutney was very good to taste. It had full blown garlic flavors. Rate it 4.5/5

Raita was lovely. The chhonk was just perfect to flavor the raita. Perfect seasoning. Rate it 4.5/5

The thali had two subzis – Sitaphal & chana daal.

Sitaphal subzi (pumpkin in Bihar, in Maharastra Sitafal means custard apple – So ice cream chain ‘naturals’ calls its famous custard apple flavor ‘sitafal’) Was excellent. A bit sweetish. Texture of the pumpkin was celebrated. No gravy, dry, perfectly slow cooked, with patience – art. Rate it 4.75/5

chana dal curry was good. The daal cud be felt in the mouth. Yet they were soft & perfectly cooked. The taste was good but not great. Rate it 3/5.

Overall rating of this thali averages out to 4.3/5

The last main course we had was Litti mutton thali. In this thali There was Aloo chokha, Baingan chokha & Khara masala mutton.

We were torn between khara masala mutton curry & champaran mutton. We asked the gentleman serving us – which one is better. He asked us back an intelligent question – ‘both are good in their own way. Would you like the one with bones & hence the juice of the bones, or wud u like the boneless one that is convenient to eat.’ That made our choice easy & we went straight for khara masala mutton.

The mutton arrived & it visually justified ‘potbelly divine’ – one is surely to get a potbelly if he consumes this regularly & it looked & was divine. Ha ha.

The gravy was thick, robust, rustic, had outstanding flavors of spices & meat, both complimenting each other. The bites where a whole spice wud hit the mouth, the flavor of that spice wud overpower the rest. The meat was slow cooked & turned out perfect. Loved every bit of it. Licked off the gravy till the last drop with our fingers. Ate the meat off the bones like a starving crow. Rate it 4.95/5

The littis were perfect. They had fairly thin outer covering that was crisp, had a smokey flavor. The filling had strong flavors of sattu & mustard oil. Loved it. Rate it 4.5/5

The aloo & the baingan chokha were both home like – simple, chatapata & just right. Rate them 4.5/5 each.

For dessert we had makhana ka kheer. This was new for us. So ordered. The sweetness of the kheer was slightly more than our liking. The Makhana was soft yet had a good bite. Saffron made its presence felt in the flavors. Rate it 4.25/5

Overall rating of food at potbelly divine averages out to 4.5/5

Look forward to revisiting.

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