Monkey Bar has always been one of my most favorite pubs in Bangalore since it opened couple of years back in the Central Business District of Ashok Nagar near MG road. I loved the ambiance, the underground feel and rocking food. The music and the crowd along with a pool table and Foosball table always created an amazing vibe that makes you want to chill out there after work. Only issue used to be that it was quite far from my place in KR puram and also most often the place used to be packed and there was hardly any breathing space. I hate claustrophobic places so slowly I stopped going there except for weekend mornings.
So when I heard that Monkey Bar was opening its 2nd outlet in Bangalore in the uber-cool Indiranagar area which is a stone’s throw from my place, I was really excited and was overjoyed when I got the invite from them to review the place before it is open to the public! When I went there, I realized how spacious and huge the new place is. Split across two levels joined by a spiral staircase leading to the upper floor, the space is welcoming and intimate with its own brand of charm. There are fun posters and wall hangings sourced from across the world as part of the interiors.
My staple at Monkey Bar is their legendary Mangaa which is a concoction of Vodka, aampanna, sweet lime, jeera and salt which is served in a Nutella jar! There are pieces of Raw Mango which are added as a garnish to the drink too. It was very refreshing in the hot afternoon to drink that Mangaa and have a spicy start to the wonderful tasting session at one of the top gastro pubs in the country!
Next on the drinks menu was the innovatively titled Copper Monkey which is a concoction of Whisky, Passion Fruit, Mint and Orange Juice served in a signature copper tumbler which is generally used in traditional houses of India! This quirky drink was pretty good but maybe the taste didn’t gel well due to the kind of starters we were having so I didn’t quite enjoy it.
While trying out the starters, I started with Mushroom ChaapÂ which was Black Pepper, coriander and curry leaf spiked minced mushroom skewers which were pan seared and served with a yogurt mint dip. I paired this with the deadly Mega Death sauce which is the signature sauce of Monkey Bar. It’s mind blowing taste floored me and set the context for the gamut of food to come ahead.
Goa being one of the most popular party capitals in the world, how could it be avoided in the menu? There was a bit of Goa in the menu too! I was pleasantly surprised to see Goan Chorizo Pao in the menu which is chunks of smoky Goan sausage sauted with sliced onions, garlic and tomatoes and stuffed inside toasted buttered pao. You get this in small shops in Goa but tasting it almost gave it as much authenticity as those Goan joints! I really enjoyed this and consider it as one of the highlights as I grew up in Goa and know the authentic taste of Chorizo Pao!
Another highlight for me was the Chicken Pirogies which were made with Chicken, Celery and Jalapeno. It was served with chilli cheese and sour cream. Even the plate in which it was served was very unique and had a roadside chaiwala charm to it!
In the main course I tried the Parsee dish called Parsee Orderlies’ Chicken Curry served with clove rice which had some really succulent pieces of chicken cooked to perfection and having the right amount of spices! The salad and the lemon added to the flavor of it!
Also tried out the Veggie burger as many vegetarians were along with me. This was made with vegetables, beans, potato, carrots, tofu and seasonings! I love the way it’s presented with Monkey Bar branding and also fries presented in a folded paper container! It was wonderful to see Chef Manu Chandra’s creations which really put Monkey Bar in the same league as the gastro pubs in UK from where I returned recently after a week’s food blogging trip!
Finally it was time for the dessert which was Chocolate Pot De Creme with Salted Caramel. Enjoyed this dessert which was one of the best in the city if not the country. I really liked the thought behind creating such an innovative dish. No wonder that Conde Nast Traveller, Time Out London, Time Out Singapore and Times Food Guide have awarded Monkey Bar as the best gastro pub in the country! Looking forward to more amazing days and nights enjoying all the culinary adventures created by Manu Chandra and the Monkey Bar team!