No monkeying around with food here

No monkeying around with food here

On a fine Sunday morning of September when the clouds made way for the sun, one ventured out on a food trail, willing to experiment and try out culinary delights. The trail ended, at least for the moment, at The Hungry Monkey, DDA Market, Safdarjung Enclave. It is difficult to read the place’s name on a wall painted in the same colour and battle the hunger pangs that escalate after climbing two floors.

One enters to pleasantly find that the interiors of the place are done with patience and passion to stand out among a row of restaurants in the area. But Metrolife being all about ‘quick bites’ is elated more at the sight of a huge table loaded with food of all sorts, laid right opposite the main door. What a welcoming treat!

Preparing to dig in one forgets to order for something to drink till one of the owners, Abhishek Patnaik introduces us to the menu of ‘Bloody Brunch’ – the theme for that day. Some 12-odd dishes listed under the section ‘Antipasti Story’ were spread out on the table described before. Antipasto is a course of appetisers consisting of an assortment of foods.        

One greedily fills the plate and takes time to relish the offerings. The moment of bliss however, is shortlived as a bunch of children along with their parents make their presence felt. However, the freshness of vegetables keeps the palate tickled. Be it the crunchy lettuce with dehydrated mushrooms and cherry tomato or Toasted pine nut, thyme and mushroom pate, the names are too long to remember and their taste too difficult to forget.

Though the shredded chicken with spring onion doesn’t impress much with its chewy taste, the Smoked Chicken and Paprika Terrine calls for a second helping. The excessive cinnamon dominates the taste of poached pear but the balance of mushroom and thyme in mushroom pate is something to die for.

Since it wasn’t necessary to try everything in the combination that it was served, one tasted a paprika hummus and oregano butter and liked both. The fresh breads added to the experience and fresh cheeses enhanced the taste.

To give a break to the hors d’oeuvre one sips a Blueberry Shake and finds it wanting. On the contrary, the Cucumber and Basil Lemonade turns out to be better and one sits and observes cute children making their way to the dessert buffet. Set up attractively, it lures Metrolife to skip the main course and catch the ‘Flying Dishes’ as the servers passed them around.

The first one that we catch is a Seafood Risotto that can make you fly in the air like a monkey! With the perfect texture of cheesy rice cooked in seafood broth, the risotto’s taste will linger long in mouth and memory long after it is over. Even the Mushroom Risotto is good but doesn’t match the incredible Baked Pesto Lasagne, crisp on the sides and creamy inside. 

Chef Noah Barnes deserves a special mention for balancing the cheese content in these dishes and serving them in small portions to be savoured while hot.

Soon one follows the children jumping to pick up the cupcakes with frosting. The dessert display allows one to try everything and realise that the Blueberry Cheesecake could have been the best, if not exposed to air for so long. The Dark Chocolate Bailey (like a truffle) is close to making it to the top but all together are sufficient to satiate a hungry monkey, anytime!

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