If you think you have tasted everything under the culinary sun in this endless ocean of inspired and innovative dishes, think again. For the fresh new fusion menu at the old favourite Monkey Bar is here to win hearts again. By Sushmita Srivastav
To say that we all have heard of Monkey Bar would be an understatement. Seven years ago, when India had gotten its first gastropub, it had surely stirred the regional grub game by bringing a whole lot of fun and fusion to the table. Over the years, it continued to bring to us something new, something better every once in a while. So, it’d be safe to say that we all know Monkey Bar quite so well now. But then do we?
With Monkey Bar: Evolution—the all-new menu that seems to be a happy marriage of regional cuisines and culinary revolution, the gastropub is promising an entirely new experience altogether. Right from the sizzling small plates coming hot from the tandoor, fresh salads, and pizzas to die for, to interesting cocktails inspired by Indian flavours and a unique mezze platter that comes with an Indian twist—it has it all. Some of the old favourites have also found space on the menu, just so you do not miss out on anything.
After finding ourselves one cosy corner on the first floor at Monkey Bar where the sun was keeping us warm one chilly evening earlier this month, we decided to skip the aperitifs and appetisers (we came back to them later, of course) and moved straight to the smoking hot stuffed kulchas. The Malabar Mutton Kulcha smeared in white butter started melting soon enough as it touched the tips of our tongues. The correct amount of crisp, coming right from the tandoor, and a burst of flavours—just like we like our kulchas! There are also many interesting versions like Onion and Cheese Kulcha with caramelised onions and Kalimpong cheese, Butter Chicken Kulcha, and Achaari Prawn Kulcha to try!
The Ghee Roast Bao that had Kundapur-inspired ghee roasted pulled chicken for stuffing was served along with a tempered curry leaf hollandaise after being pan-fried a little. Then, there was Curry Leaves, and Pepper Chicken served hot with moilee sauce. It’s the perfect pick for the ones who enjoy their chicken super juicy, super tender, and oh-so-flavoursome.
But if there’s one thing that deserves special mention, it has to be their Indian Odyssey Platter! Mind you, this one has a ‘small plate’ tag on it, but it is enough to fit a group of four! But the Mediterranean-inspired platter with a Bengali-style baingan bharta (their answer to traditional Babaganoush), a kaddu hummus, a portion of salted labneh (a cheesy dip made out of hung curd), aloo bonda vadas in place of falafels, pickled turnip and carrots with Kalimpong cheese, and an assortment of crisps including Mangalorean kori roti, fryums, Gujarati fafda, and appalam, comes off so delicious you might want to have it all for yourself.
For desserts, we had Sundae Sandwich (layers of cake, ice-cream, Nutella, cream, Jell-O, and tutti frutti) and a portion of Masala Chai Eton Mess with Chianti cream, berry chilli compote, and meringue shards. The latter came dressed so pretty in a plate topped with roasted pistachios and raspberry and sprinkled with some masala chai dust that we didn’t want to spoil it by digging in at first!
The cocktail game was strong too. Try Mangaa—a tipsy take on traditional aam Panna mixed with vodka, sweet lime juice, cumin powder, and a pinch of salt; or Copper Monkey—whiskey stirred with orange juice, passion fruit juice, mint, and bitters; we loved them both. In case you like your drinks classic, picking Rasam Mary (a rasam version of Bloody Mary) and Imli Sour (whiskey sour with a tamarind twist) will surely leave your evening on a high (literally!) note.
Meal for two: INR 2,000 plus taxes (with alcohol)
Address: Plot No 11, Pocket C6&7, Local Shopping Complex, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Time: 12 pm to 12 am
Reservation: 011 41095155