Like industrial chic décor, another common element that new bars in the city seem to be opting for is contemporary Indian cuisine. We’ve lost count, actually. Some succeed, others don’t. A new name on this list is Bangalore-import, Monkey Bar, which replaced Bombay Blue in Bandra.
The interiors of Monkey Bar. Pics/Atul Kamble
We visited the gastropub (popular new term in the nightspot glossary) in the first weekend of its opening. Soon, our report card had ticked off several squares; its quirky-chic interiors (complete with bearded, man-bunned hip patrons), a foosball table with vociferous sports-crazy groups, and re-worked avatars of popular dishes from across India including broths from the North-East, Vindaloo from Goa and even Litti Chokha from Bihar. We couldn’t find a table in the air-conditioned section, so we settled for al fresco seating (which got full by the time we left).
We plumbed for a Ginger Rogers (Rs 320, all prices exclusive of taxes) cocktail to beat the heat. A mixture of ginger ale and flavours of ginger and peach, the cocktail gets five stars for being the perfect summer drink. Next, we ordered for Don Draper (Rs 420, if only one could order for the real deal!). This drink wasn’t as good as it sounded; the clove, sugarcane and orange bitters were simply thrown in, and offered no flavour support to the plain whiskey on the rocks.
To test the ‘gastro’ section of the pub, we asked for Mochar Ghonto Chop (Rs 200). This was a healthier option than cheeseballs, for a vegetarian bite (it lacked sufficient sour cream that was mentioned in the menu). For our non-vegetarian cravings, we ordered Hot Wings (Rs 180). The chicken was supposed to be marinated in black tea, which didn’t make a difference as the tasty sauce that it was cooked in, powered over every other flavour; again the sour blue cheese dip (mentioned in the menu) was a drizzle on top. No complaints though; the dish was delicious.
For the mains, we picked the Mobar Burger (Rs 390) and vegetarian Puli Kolambu (Rs 320). The burger was a huge portion to gobble down, what with two buffalo meat patties, bacon, cheese and veggies served in a black bun with fries on the side. While the patties were fine, the burger tasted a tad dry, with just green chutney as a sauce addition. The Puli Kolambu, in contrast, was a tasty onion, coconut curry served with benne (or butter) dosas, a wee bit too greasy for our liking.
Monkey Bar has an extensive menu with several dishes that we would come back to try (spherified Pani Puri, Laal Maas Phulkas), and with its super-quick service and reasonable rates, we’re sure this Monkey will do good business.
Time: Monday to Friday 6 pm to 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 12 pm to 1 am
At: Summerville, junction of 14th and 33rd, Linking Road, Bandra (W).
Monkey Bar didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
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