Thursday, Oct 02, 2014

Back to the Playground

The interiors of Monkey Bar. The interiors of Monkey Bar.
Written by Shantanu David | New Delhi | Posted: February 1, 2014 7:31 am

Amid the greenery of Vasant Kunj one can see bright flashes in the sunlight emanating off a glass pyramid, rearing like a ziggurat in Mesopotamia. Welcome to Monkey Bar.

The Delhi outpost being the second in the country, Mobar as it’s laconically referred to, has carved out its own niche in India’s food and nightlife scene. More than India’s first gastropub as it’s touted to be, Monkey Bar is a temple of irreverent excellence where food, alcohol and ambience come together to work in mysterious ways.

Within the pyramid is a warm, vaulted space done up in brick, stone, metal, glass, wood and well, you get the idea. Quirky posters are plastered around the walls and sitting under a large poster of Stalin saying “Your country needs you” and a smaller one of Breaking Bad’s Walter White leering down at us, we feel right at home.

The menu is a fascinating read, making us wish we were more ruminant than ruminating. As expected in a place with no rules, dishes range from Kheema Bao (spicy minced mutton served in a steamed bun, got to love the word play) to Sorpotel served in jam pots to Laksa to pickled steak and pretty much every food fantasy in between, and all the dishes are extremely reasonable.

The drinks menu is equally riveting (and economical), a heady mix of signature cocktails, spirits, beers and wines. The service is unparalleled, the waiters engaging and extremely knowledgeable about the menu, each with their own favourites and recommendations. Spoiled for choice, we leave ourselves entirely in their hands.

First up to the table is the Tempura Calamari (squid tossed with green curry glaze, wasabi mayonnaise and fresh scallions), MoBar Caramelised Ribs (BBQ pork ribs) and Liver on Toast (toast slathered with liver pate and Cajun style blackened chicken liver pieces).

The squid is as springy as a lamb, bursting with flavour, the crunchy scallions providing a contrast to the chewy cephalopod. The ribs are melting, spicy and make us thank Nature for the evolution of the pig. The liver is offal-ly good, the accompanying mint chutney and coleslaw adding a great patina of freshness to the gamey liver.

In a fit of indulgence we order the Chilli Brain (brain cutlet with chilli and fenugreek) which is as glorious as we had imagined — a tikki of soft, yielding brains ensconced in a crisp coat and (hopefully) engineered to make us smarter. For drinks, we have the Ginger Rogers (gin, ginger ale, peach syrup and mint) which is sparkling in both taste and consistency and the hedonistic Rum Rita (rum, red wine, wild berry compote, served frozen) which tastes like Christmas and is just as
intoxicating.

Stuffed as we were, it behooves us to have at least one main course and we stick to the Iranian berry pulao, a magnificent melange of shredded meat, berries, potato sali and deep fried onions. For dessert, we have the Old Monk(ey) Chocolate Cake, a delicious ode to two of our favourite things. We’ll be coming back to play some more. Soon.

Meal for Two: Rs 1,800 (including taxes and alcohol)
Address: Plot 11, LSC, Pocket C 6
& 7, Vasant Kunj.
Contact: 30146033 Ext:855

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