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MONKEY BAR

A gastro-pub owned by a subsidiary of Olive Bar and Kitchen, AD Singh in partnership with award-winning chef Manu Chandra and Chetan Rampal launched Monkey Bar in Bengaluru in 2012. Its legacy began. Conde Nast International Gold Standard 2013 listed it among the must-visit places in the world! One could hope but who would have guessed that across the nation another outlet would open in New Delhi. Dramatic build-up? Not really! Impressive glass paneling and skylight.. monkey motifs and a split-level bar.. pool room adjacent to a dining space with snug seating. Winter sunshine streaming in and retro tracks evoking memories of good times. The stage is set.

I was greeted by the pleasant manager Azeem who escorted me to the table where I was handed a menu with cheeky monkey motifs and quotes but left the selection of dishes to him. Monkey Bar boasts a unique meat and vegetarian appetizer selection. After inquiring about my preferences the manager sent out "Chubby Mushrooms" and "Butterfly Chicken". The stuffed mushroom caps with soft onions, feta cheese and herbs served with slaw and balsamic reductionahd a must-see-to-believe presentation and tasted as heavenly as it looked. The sweet and spicy crispy chicken tossed with sesame and chili.. honey and peppers stuffed in butterfly shells was an awesome creation with it's presentation surpassed by its taste which was a piquant flavorful blend. Sure winners!

Up next was "Tikki of Joy". I absolutely agree with the name of the dish being a seafood aficionado. The Bhetki fish cutlets with kasundi mustard and fennel seeds giving each forkful a special "zing" is the dish that's sure to reel me in time and again! As I took sips of chilled Narangi, Monkey Bar's parade of "firsts" continued with another visually-appealing presentation: "The Liver on Toast" was unlike any I had had before with pieces of toast slathered with chicken liver pate and sautéed onions.. Cajun-style blackened chicken liver.. mustard and mint while "Chilli Brain" cutlet with green chili and fenugreek had me reaching out for a tall glass of water with its fiery character. Wait! There is more! The crowning glory of appetizers is "Tiger Steak" with slices of meat filet tossed with chili paste and black beans.. galangal and ginger.. bean sprouts and lemon.. bokchoy and peppers. 

Satiated with another jar-shaped glass of Narangi and tweeting about the spread.. I paused to check the stellar line-up of entrées and chose "MoBar Burger" thinking it would be a light ending to the rich luncheon. Was I wrong! The burger bread sandwiched 300 grams patty with lettuce and cheese.. bacon and onions.. tomato and mayo.. served with fries and slaw! A unique taste sensation.. each bite is a burger lover's dream! Compliments to the Chef Manu Chandra! Though I was stuffed to the rim.. the manager persuaded me the luncheon wouldn't be complete until I had something from their dessert offerings. True to expectation.. MoBar Sundae Sandwich with layers of cake and ice cream, nuts and Nutella, cream, jello and tutti-frutti was penultimate taste-bud pampering!

As with every fine dining experience, the meal was a relaxed orchestrated event and time was only measured in superlatives. Let yourself be pampered by the Monkey Bar experience.. a special place that is sure to set a new direction to your dining pleasures. Bon Appetite! (6.1.2014)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Plot 11, LSC, Pocket C 6 - 7, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi (next to Bird Automotive)

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