Weekly Restaurant Review | Monkey Bar | Priya Bala, Editorial Advisor, PoshVine
Setting out to describe Monkey Bar, I have more adjectives than I can juggle – cosy, intimate, unpretentious, laidback, easy, relaxed, cool, casual, buzzy, lively. It is all these and more, all things to all people. And there are so many people thronging the place! This is the flavour of the season, make no mistake, and is likely to stay on top for a long time to come.
Monkey Bar has many things going for it. First, its versatility. The space itself , with its exposed brick walls and worn wooden floors, is designed to accommodate customers in various moods. You can hang solo by the bar, make a cosy twosome at the high tables which occupy a small open-air area, pack a booth with a raucous gang of friends, or descend downstairs where there’s a pool table and large screens for sporting action.
Then, there’s the food –serious business in a gastro pub, which is what MoBar sets out to be. Gastro pubs are a hot trend in big cities across the world and are, essentially, watering holes that also serve great food at affordable prices. Here, there are small plates and starters to begin with, an eclectic array of dishes, all unfailingly packed with flavour. Think betki fish cutlets, served with kasundi, sorpotel in a jam pot, hot wings, a galouti kebab made with beef. I loved the spiked nachos and the tiger beef — chilli hot and flavoured with galangal – which went down a treat with the Mary beer, a beer cocktail inspired by the Bloody Mary. The Maanga, is another delightful concoction from the bar, with aam panna and vodka and comes in a jam jar. Neat!
There are innovative salads – crispy beef and beet; fried fish with glass noodles — and soups, perfect for after-drinking sustenance. I settled for the MoBar Talumein which the menu described as bringing back memories of comforting, familiar Chindian. That it certainly did, this rich broth with silky noodles, chunks of pork and chicken and shrimp.
The Monkey Bar’s burgers are made from dry aged meat, ground in-house and grilled on wood fires. The bread is baked in-house, too. Speaking of which, I got a taste of the ladi pav, which puts an end to my grouse about not finding good pav in Bangalore. There’s a Mumbai-style vada pav at Monkey Bar. I plan to return to taste that, the burgers, the pizza, the sandwich stuffed with pandi curry, the Thai fish curry, the berry pulao and everything else. For dessert, I had the lemon meringue which ticked all the boxes and my companion loved the MoBar sundae sandwich.
The Monkey Bar is Chef Manu Chandra’s brainchild, and you can discern his quest for perfection in everything from the Doris Day-James Cagney posters to the naked light bulbs. And, of course, the food which pleases gourmets and comfort foodies at the same time. What’s more, it comes at very attractive prices.
Service is super cool. Not the sort even the uncouth would snap their fingers at. My rating for Monkey Bar is 8.5/10. It’s the place for an effortless good time.
Monkey Bar is at 14/1(Krishna Manere), Wood Street, Richmond Road, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru 25
Open from 12 noon to 11.30 pm
Meal for two would cost about Rs 1500 (with drinks and tax).
(C) Photo Credits Kunal Chandra