I am pleasantly surprised to see the energy at the newly opened “The Monkey Bar” in Connaught Place. The reasons for my surprise are : a) it is a new restaurant and yet there is hardly any seating space in a 70-seater restaurant – on top of that, another 30 odd standing in the space near the bar (perhaps the PR has done a good job); b) I visit the restaurant on a weekend and it defies my perception that restaurants in CP do well only during weekdays when the office crowd come flocking and c) I visit The Monkey Bar during navratras and even though it is not serving vrat thaali, people are enjoying themselves over drinks and non-veg food.
The Monkey Bar is spread over two levels with the terrace offering a magnificent view of the Indian flag at the middle circle of CP. The music and seating gives it the feel of any other neighbourhood bar hence making it less pretentious and more comfortable.
It offers some new dishes apart from some favorites from its older outlet in Vasant Kunj. The menu is extensive with key dishes incorporated from all regions of India apart from global cuisine and most preparations are done well without any claims of serving ‘authentic’ food. This time, I focus mainly on the starters which go well with the drinks and are filling too.
I spot the bar manager, Subhash Rawat, whose preparations I had enjoyed earlier at the now defunct, Charlie’s Bar Exchange. He again makes me happy with his potent mix of Cherry Pop (Smirnoff, Maraschino Cherry Brine & Syrup) and the very delicately balanced Dublin Dram (Jameson, Peach Ice Tea and Ginger Ale).
Coming back to the food, the Malabari Keema Samosa has a very crisp pastry filled with lightly spiced keema. I like it even more with the tamarind chutney served with it.
I had been to The Monkey Bar during the pre-opening days and loved their Gymkhana Sandwich. However, post launch, they have added bacon and fried tomato to the already filling chicken ham and masala omelette. This makes it a tad difficult to eat and the earlier clean notes are missing. Is it still enjoyable? Well, how wrong could one go with the addition of delicious bacon?
At the pre-launch event afore mentioned, I had fallen in love with the unusual combo of Pandi Curry and Pita Bread. This time, they serve it like a pita sandwich which results in the pita bread soaking up the gravy and the fat. The Coorgi pork curry taste remains intact though visually, it becomes very unappealing. I would love to eat it my way – without soaking in extra fat and feeling that I saved extra calories even though knowing very well “what’s a good pork without its fat ?”.
If you like chicken popcorn, you will surely love the Reddy’s Fried Chicken Popcorn served at The Monkey Bar. With the typical south Indian style tadka of coconut and curry leaf served interestingly in a paper cone, they are a pop and gone. Don’t miss the Baked Potato Skins either. The skin though seems fried given their crunchiness, but if the calories do not bother you, go for it.
The Monkey Bar has some great options from beef burger to roasted beet and orange salad, loaded nachos, Parsi berry pulao, Tibetan Thupka, Goan chorizo, et al. It has never failed to pleasantly surprise me and I am sure when one is looking for a casual meeting with friends over drinks and finger licking food coupled with a pricing that is not over the board, The Monkey Bar would be on the top of your chart.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 | Drinks: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.0| Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs. 2000 (Without alcohol) | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 7pm – 11.30PM
Address: 3, Connaught Circus, Connaught Lane, Barakhamba, New Delhi| Telephone:011 41500170
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.