The first Monkey Bar was trailblazing in a lot of ways- funky cocktails, great ambience and consistently good food. The second Monkey Bar in Bangalore takes it up one notch. Located in a big airy place off Indiranagar’s 100 Feet Road, this place blends class and quirk together. The exposed brick walls and gorgeous wood panelling speak of old-world charm and comfort; the quirky posters add some new-age hipster chic. The menu too has also undergone some changes, with some new guys and a few old favorites.
The preview meal I attended began with a host of cocktails, of which I could sadly taste none. But my lunch companions told me that crowd-favorite Manga (aam panna and vodka) was just as awesome as ever, the Red Riding Wood (vodka and plum juice) gave a good kick. The new cocktails like Copper Monkey, which came in a cute copper pot, were well-received too.
For starters were pork and chicken pirogies, the Polish version of momos, that came with a sour cream dip. We wolfed these down just as an old favorite landed- the deviled fish, which I’ve had a couple of times before. Sauteed Thai style with a burst of spices and some melt-in-the-mouth seer fish, it warmed my Bengali heart.
The Goan chorizo pao sparked off a discussion about favorite Goa hangouts, as we bit into the buttery pao enclosing chunks of spicy Goan sausage. The calamari was easily my favorite dish of the afternoon, the wasabi mayo adding an extra zing to the green curry in which the squid rings were tossed.
A meal at Monkey Bar ain’t done without the burgers, and the Sloppy Joe was one barbeque flavored deliciousness. The pork belly sliders were something I always missed trying out on previous visits when I came with non-pork-beef-eating people. The pork fest continued with pandi curry and pita bread. I must say Monkey Bar cooks its pork really really well- the meat in both the sliders and the curry really soaked up the chilli and spices in the respective dishes.
We were groaning by this time, but we couldn’t not have Mobar’s famous tiger beef. Easily the best beef in the city, the dish is an explosion of flavors- chilli, ginger, lemon- and the beef so tender and juicy. Ordinarily, I don’t eat beef as the meat at most places is very tough and chewy, but such issues don’t exist at Monkey Bar.
The crab rangoon, which was supposed to be a starter, arrived nearly at the end of the meal, but we made some space for it. It’s a new dish on the menu, wontons stuffed with crab meat and cream cheese, accompanied by a honey chilli sauce. The veg equivalent- veg and cheese wontons- was quite appreciated by the vegetarians as well.
We were nearly in a food coma, but were roused by the arrival of dessert. The chocolate pot de creme was a master creation- chocolate mousse with salted caramel popcorn and a slice of lemon poppy cake. The hint of salt in the popcorn balances the chocolate flavor and the crunch of the popcorn in the creamy mousse is what makes the dish such a hit. I loved the lemon cake too, the tart acidity of the lemon offset by the sweet strawberries and the quenelle of whipped cream on top.
For foodies who don’t have the money to travel to New York or London to eat at gastropubs, Monkey Bar offers a great ambience to kick back, chill out, sip some cool drinks and eat some great food.
No 612, 12th Main
Note: I was invited to the restaurant for a sponsored meal. Opinions are honest and wholly my own, and not influenced by anyone else.