Nestled in a dimly located market in Vasant Kunj, that once housed the Ministry of Sound, a gigantic glass pyramid stands out from the humble shops and restaurants surrounding it. This is the address of one of the city’s first gastropub – Monkey Bar, known for not just its creative fusion food, but also wicked, experimental cocktails.
This time though, the place has taken the creativity a notch higher by presenting Indian coastal food in a fusion avatar, staying true to the ‘mo-bar’ style. Mixed with ingredients as varied as curry leaves and gur, chilli and tamarind, it is however the special ‘southern style’ cocktails that we think deserves five stars!
We recommend you start on this culinary coastal journey with a round of Chilli Puli – a tantalising tequila cocktail mixed with chilli, tamarind paste and lime. For those who love their flavours sweet and gentle, we suggest the Soulful Kadhee – a perfect amalgamation of gin, Kokum syrup, lime cordial and tender coconut water with a tempering of curry leaves.
Coffee lovers will love the Kapi Mocha, a fanciful concoction of vanilla, dark espresso, dark rum, pineapple juice and cinnamon, that shakes up the system with its rum and caffeine dose. Equally delightful is the Vanakam Panakam- a sweetish whiskey cocktail with flavours of panakam and lemon.
With a medley of colours, the Kuttari salad – red rice, slivers of raw mango, coconut, and baby spinach- with crunchy peanuts won our hearts for its clean, balanced flavours. Kundapur style ghee roast with fresh water prawns ( Prawn Ghee roast) and the spicy Kerala Tacos ( Malabar porottas stuffed with peppery chicken, onions and garlic pickle) make for great starters with the cocktails.
Even though, the menu boasts of variety of non-vegetarian fare from clams to fish, lamb to chicken, and even ducks, many like clam sukkha (no hint of clams!) and kundapur chicken wings ( just regular chicken wings!) didn’t cut it in terms of flavour,
The shortcomings however were redeemed by Coast to Coast–a veritable Thali with Mangalore inspired gassi with raw mango (like a punjabi kadhi, only tangier!) and a host of other things like avial inspired vegetables and last but not the least jaggery custard ( our favorite!)
Our suggestion: Go visit Monkey Bar, Vasant Kunj, from June 16 to June 30 for a trip down India’s coastline.