My love affair with Monkey Bar started two years ago in Bangalore, when after a month long intense work schedule; we ended up one Sunday afternoon at the Indira Nagar branch of Monkey Bar at Bangalore. No review was planned that day but the experience was so overwhelmingly nice that I decided to write about it anyways. (http://indianfoodfreak.com/monkeying-monkeys-bar-bangalore/) Since then, I have visited every Monkey Bar branch around India and have found it to be extremely consistent in terms of food, drinks and service.
The Mumbai branch of Monkey Bar is its latest entrant and perhaps the smallest of all outlets,. Despite its size, it doesn’t fail to maintain the standards set by its predecessors in Delhi and Bangalore. I visited it on a Tuesday and was surprised to find it packed to its seams. Looking for a quiet corner at Monkey bar is futile and yet the music is not overbearingly loud, letting you manage a conversation with your partner.
To me the food at Monkey Bar is always its stronger point and yet there were three drinks which stood out during my visit, The first one was Saat Rasta (Rs.650), which incidentally is the most expensive cocktail on the menu and also comes in a massive supersized mason jar. The potency of this drink can be judged by the fact that it contains Jagermeister, Absinthe, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Tequila and Beer as its base alcohols. Two sips down the drink; I was buzzing enough to not dare finish the entire jar. The second drink to which I took a fancy, was the MMS (Monkey Masala Soda) (Rs.320) which is their tribute to Mumbai Masala Soda. It is vodka and kafir lime based masala soda drink which packs enough punch and zing to carry you through the night. Last but not the least, the Shazia Imli (Rs.320) is a tart, pucker punch drink which mixes tamarind, chilly, salt and rum to create a wild, sour cocktail which will be appreciated by people who love sour and less sweetened cocktails. Somehow I have not been able to like their most popular raw mango based cocktail Maanga in any of the branches I have been to. It just doesn’t work for me, but the rest of the drinks are marvellous, go for them!
Food wise, I have always felt that Monkey Bar stands in a league of its own and this was further validated by our starter like the Baigan Pakoda Taco (Rs. 200) and the Butterfly Chicken (Rs.200), both of which were a treat to the eyes and bursting with flavours. Be it the Theplas doubling as tacos or the crunchy butterfly shaped casing in which the chicken was served, each element gives a refreshing twist to these starters. Even the Laal Maas Phulkas (Rs.200) was good but lacked the wow factor which I got from the other starters. General Tso’s Paneer (Rs.200) and Loaded Potato Skins (Rs.180) are other excellent bites to accompany your drinks if you are not in the mood to have a heavy meal.
For the mains we chose just two dishes and must I say, it was the smartest decision we could have make. Jackfruit Biryani (Rs. 380) was a big portion of aromatic biryani where the jackfruit had been done with such finesse that each strand of jackfruit came apart like pulled pork and the spices were delicate enough to let the jackfruit be the hero of the entire dish. I had also ordered a very unusual Butter Chicken Khichdi (Rs.360) which was served with pickles, raita, papad, chutney and Ghee. Butter Chicken with khichdi must be the most unusual combination for a restaurant and full credit to Chef Manu Chandra for not only doing justice to the entire dish, but also making it one of the best dishes on their menu. The creamy risotto like texture of Khichdi with the buttery and slightly tangy butter chicken gravy (which is not sweet, thankfully) is a marvellous mix of flavours. The dish was appreciated by us so much that my vegetarian wife dug in and relished a few spoonfuls of the Khichdi herself.
Lastly, never leave Monkey Bar before trying their desserts and in our case, we went for the traditional Mobar Sundae and the Chocolate Pot de Crème. Mobar Sundae is a Monkey Bar staple ice cream sandwich (Though, I think the Bangalore one has been the best so far) with a lot of fruity toppings but the new Chocolate Pot de Crème took us by surprise with its salted caramel crunchy popcorns mixing with the soft creamy chocolate mousse. Definitely a must have dessert!
The smartly priced menu, delicious food and drinks and an ambience to match, Monkey Bar is here to stay; Kudos to Manu Chandra and his team for another winner in their hand!
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.5 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for Two: Rs. 1800 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 6.00 pm to 1.00 am, Sundays 12.00 noon to 1.00 am | Wheelchair Access: No | Home Delivery: No
Address: Summerville, Junction of 14th & 33rd, Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai| Phone: 022-26005215
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment 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.
Professional Picture courtesy : Monkey Bar