Regional delicacies with modern twist

‘Monkey Bar' has introduced 41 new dishes and eight cocktails

This place has been a favourite of many since it first opened and its laid back atmosphere only seem to be growing on its frequent customers. It makes for a great hangout place for friends and for spontaneous dates.

Stepping into its seventh year, ‘Monkey Bar’, located at 12th Main Road, Indiranagar, recently launched 41 new dishes and eight cocktails. This time, the menu aims to highlight lesser-known regional delicacies with a modern twist.

We tried a few new items along with some of their signature favourites.

The new cocktails have a desi twist. We tried the ‘Tomesh Collins’, a gin-based cocktail that is made with lime murabba topped with tonic water. The drink was refreshing and the sweet and sour taste kept the flavour of alcohol well-balanced. The whisky-based drink, ‘Imli Sour’, was infused with ‘adrak’ (ginger), ‘imli’ (tamarind) and ‘sunth’ (dry ginger) chutney, and egg white tasted good too. However, the taste of whisky was overpowering. 

While we enjoyed our ‘desi’ cocktails, we asked a bowl of piping-hot ‘Tibetan Thukpa’ and plate of ‘Watermelon and Feta Escabeche Salad’ from their ‘Soups and Salads’ section.

The noodle soup was cooked with bok choi, cabbage, carrot, broccoli and dried and fermented radish leaves. It was okay but nothing striking. The ‘Watermelon and Feta Escabeche Salad’, however, was quite refreshing.

From the ‘small plates from the tandoor’ section, we asked for ‘Butter Chicken Kulcha’.

The soft, fluffy kulcha was stuffed with tomato makhani chicken. A dollop of ‘methi’ and ‘dhania’ butter on top of it added to the flavour. Though it appears to be heavy, it was quite light and comforting. 

Another new addition to the ‘small plates’ section is the ‘Indian Odyssey Platter’ – a perfect dish to order if you are in a large group. Inspired by the traditional Mediterranean platter, the Indian version consists of ‘Bengali style baingan bhorta’, ‘Kaddu Hummus’, ‘Salted Labneh’, ‘Bonda Vada’ and pickled ‘Shalgam’ (turnip and carrots) in ‘Kalimpong’ cheese. On the platter was ‘Mangalorean Kori Roti’, ‘fryums’ and Gujrati ‘fafda’. 

I was pretty excited about this one but wasn’t that impressed when I tried. The ‘Kori Roti’ wasn’t crispy and the ‘fafda’ was soggy. However, the ‘baingan bhorta’ and the ‘Bonda Vada’ were quite delicious.  

The ‘small plates’ section has dishes that are inspired by local, regional snacks from around the country. Some of my favourites were from this section.

The ‘Bandel Malai Fish Kebab’ was one of the best I have had in a long time. It was creamy and extremely soft. The occasional hint of chopped garlic went well with the kebab.

We also tried the ‘Dilli Samosa Chaat’ (which is a fast-moving item). It includes curried potato and mini samosas stuffed with green peas. The sweet and sour chutney and the Sindhi-style ‘khatti’ (sour) dal, completed the dish. It was a burst of flavours. 

For mains, we tried the Iranian-inspired ‘Aunty Vinnie’s Berry Pulao’; the taste of saffron added to the richness of the dish. But those of you who don’t like saffron in their rice might want to look for another option. The crispy fried onions and potato salli sprinkled on top of the rice complemented it. This is one of their signature dishes. 

After a wholesome meal, we asked for ‘Masala Chai Eton Mess’ for dessert. It is quite an interesting addition to the menu. Made with chianti cream, berry chilli compote, meringue shards, raspberries and pistachios with masala chai dust, this dessert is not too sweet. A must try and a personal favourite from the menu.  

‘Monkey Bar’ is located at #610, 12th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar. For details, call 44114455.


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