Monkey Times Two

PLAY TIME

We in Bangalore are the proud home of the first Monkey Bar (Ashok Nagar) and though Delhi recently got one too, we now have our second monkeying around spot in namma Bengaluru, where else but Indira Nagar (12th Main)?! Let’s face it, Indira Nagar continues to be the hub of Bangalore’s night life and fun. Monkey Bar numero dos has the same decor – exposed brick walls, pop culture posters on the walls, a space set aside for pool and foosball, drinks in Nutella jars and other quirky glasses and colorful, mismatched crockery. The space is larger and roomier than its Ashok Nagar sibling, and I particularly loved the 2 story high ceiling and the separate from the booths/seating games area. We had a fun afternoon of pool and foosball and did not have to worry about attracting too much attention or spoiling the meal of any diners.

GETTING OUR DRINK ON

Red Riding Wood
Red Riding Wood

As someone who has extremely recently turned into a whiskey drinker, my favorite cocktail, both times I was at the new Mo’ bar, was the Copper Monkey, a potently smooth blend of Whiskey, passion fruit, mint, and orange juice, served up in an old fashioned copper tumbler. The other drink that stood out is a new one, Ginger Rogers, which apart from its nimble name, was served in an adorable ceramic pot that resembled a coconut on the shell, a light and lovely gin, ginger ale and peach syrup concoction. The one drink that did not find favor was Red Riding Wood, which looked promising in its Absolut Vodka bottle as container, but tasted a bit like cough syrup (vodka, plum, passion fruit, orange juice). Old favorites like Mangaa (arguably Mo’ Bar’s most popular cocktail) were also doing the rounds. I heard murmurs about some of the cocktails not being consistent from one round to the next, both in terms of presentation/color and taste/strength. Something that needs a little attention to detail so its standardized.

TIME FOR CHOW

When Parsi orderlies and mutton curry meey
When Parsi orderlies and mutton curry meet

Chef Manu Chandra was on hand to walk us through the new dishes on the menu and tell us the stories (some true, some invented) behind their names and origins, and what followed was a long, leisurely, boozy lunch – the kind of weekend meal Monkey Bar is the perfect spot to indulge at. Pirogies, Polish dumplings, are on the new menu, and the chicken version with jalapenos and celery was lovely, while the pork one was a tad too fatty and though supposed to be spicy Italian sausage, the overall taste lacked heat. But major points for having Pirogies on the menu, and also for the Crab Rangoon, a name I have not heard, much less tasted, since leaving the U.S. This crab and cream cheese fried appetizer with chilli sauce to dip in was an instant hit – the kind of morsel you can’t stop popping into your mouth. I also liked the Tempura Calamari, which tasted as good as it looked – the wasabi mayo on top was a nice touch. The dish that blew us all away was the Roasted Beet and Orange salad, comprising of three mustard dressed lettuce, feta cream, sesame beans, toasted and candied walnuts, crumbled feta and leaving one with a feeling of light contentment. It is a must order if you love your salads, like me.

Lemony Yumminess
Lemony Yumminess

A long line of sandwiches and burgers were consumed, including Goan Chorizo Pao and BBW flavored shredded pork Sloppy Joe – messy goodness on the plate, and kudos to the sweet potato chips on the side. Didn’t care for either the Pork Belly or Shammi sliders. There were a couple of rice and meat dishes, of which I only partook of the savory Parsi Orderlies’ Mutton Curry. Dessert came in the form of Chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel (this by way of salted caramel) and Lemon Cake (lemon curd, vanilla lemon syrup soaked pound cake with seasonal fruit), both of which I really enjoyed – the latter for its tart lemon taste and the former for being fun to dig into! Loud and crowded in the nights, Monkey Bar keeps with tradition and does not allow children post 6pm, and will also be offering the signature Monkey Bar breakfast menu on the weekends. With a few misses on the food and drink menu, its still a happening spot – a place to which we’ll all be flocking like them monkeys in a barrel!

 

Natasha Ali

Natasha's first foray into food writing has been with Chef at Large. Who knew all those years spent eating food, reading about it and looking for the next restaurant to try or watching cooking shows would have left such an indelible impression?! She's back in India after having spent over a decade in the US where she studied as well as taught in academia and now works as a content writer seeing as she can write about pretty much anything. Movie mad, obsessed with the English language, and never one to turn down a glass of good wine, cup of tea, or a good book, she's open to trying any dish once, she enjoys a variety of cuisines with favorites being Ethiopian, Thai, and Lebanese. Natasha covers Bangalore for Chef at Large and can be reached at natasha.ali@www.chefatlarge.in