At this all-day gastropub (a space that has the essence of a pub, backed by excellent food and service at accessible prices), the music has its own buzz; but it is the thrum of talk and laughter that keeps the vibe going. So much so that it has Bangaloreans of all ages and professions in raptures and the owners perplexed at the instant success.
Started by Chef Manu Chandra and AD Singh, Monkey Bar is very different and sets a new trend. It is a space that is welcoming, different and has it own electric charm. Rustic wood mixes with eclectic décor – with jam jars and rice pans used to service drinks and food. Retro posters, and there is even a bright Vespa, to create a carefree mood that gets people into a happy mood almost instantly.
The basement has a big secret for the first timers at Monkey Bar – a foosball table and a pool table that are in huge demand. Ask why Monkey Bar and Chef Manu says, “It is playful. We all grew up with monkey bars and jungle gyms. It has a quick recall.”
There are bartenders churning out unusual concoctions like the Aam panna cocktail with rum, and sweet lime, mint, jeera and salt — very much like chutney but with the addition of vodka. They have room for all sorts of palates and curious drinkers. Something as basic as Horlicks, is blended with banana, Nutella and made into a rave-worthy smoothie. Hangover 14/1 Wood Street is a spicy cocktail of dark rum, vodka, beer and Tabasco – tread with care as it is extremely hot. Up for grabs are the usual drinks and mocktails. Although the sad part is they do not have draught beer.
The main courses are generous. Choose from Mexican, Lebanese, Bengali, Thai, Vietnamese and ‘Chindia’. The food menu is heavily weighted in favour of non-vegetarians with the dry aged wood grilled burgers being eaten as fast as they are cooked. The menu includes Tikki of Joy, Caramelised Rib, Prawns Balchao and Galouti Killer. The food is sinful but oddly not greasy or over the top — the ingredients are used accurately and every element in the dish gets the chance to play its part.
Mumbai meets Bangalore with the all time favourite street food like the Bombay Vada Pav served with butter and ghatti masala, which would make a good starter. For the main course, the MoBar Burger, a classic wood fired burger, wins any day. The buns are made in house and are a different size. They are served in the classic monkey bar style with fries and salad, oozing with flavour. For vegetarians, don’t worry. It is a massive burger. Not your conventional Mac burger size, but much bigger. But worth every rupee. For dessert the unique Flourless Chocolate XS Cake, a heady mix, stands out.
Ask for Michael. He has got the best service. And if you ever have a problem the manager Nikhil should sort you out. Look out for Kunal, the gastronomy man, he will fill you up with what you should know about your food. Hop over to Monkey Bar and make your own list of what you like.
Meal for two including taxes is approx. INR 1000- 1500.
By Aditya Mendonca/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com
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