Monkey Bar give me the power!

With this trending restaurant culture, where the food that is served is old school and instantly invokes nostalgia, no other title seemed to fit better.

A couple of weeks ago, the Bombay Foodies were invited to try out food at Monkey Bar, Bandra.

Now this bar has come to us via Bangalore and Delhi and has won accolades across the country before making its way to Bandra, Mumbai, which is already known for its bustling night-life. This place is opened by Chef Manu Chandra and Chetan Rampal and has drinks and food with a desi-vibe. We wouldn’t call it authentic but you can find regional influences in each dish you try.

We had the Foodie who has already heard enough and more good things about the place and the Techno One who had never really heard about Monkey bar and what it was known for. This was purely to give unbiased feedback on each dish.

The Decor: 

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Interiors of Monkey Bar, Bandra. Picture Credit: burrp.com

Monkey Bar has a colourful and vibrant decor. Not too bright (in the evening), but has pretty lights, quirky wall art (which include green monkeys all over the wall), and a foosball table for recreation purposes, although its position is questionable, maybe that’s why, the three times I have been there I haven’t seen anybody playing.

The Bar: 

Like we mentioned before, Monkey Bar’s menu has a very desi vibe to it and even their cocktail menu has a section called Mobar Specials that has our favourite old school drinks spiked up nicely. Aam Panna, Masala Soda and remember those sugar coated Imlis we used to love, back in the day?  Yup they’ve done some interesting things with that. There is this drink called Don Draper too. I have no idea what this Mad Men reference had anything to do with this mix of all things desi, but ok. We’ll play along. They also have this, Saat Rasta that has Jagermeister, Absinthe, Vodka, Rum, Beer, Tequila, Gin, Triple Sec, Ginger juice and fresh coriander. Sounds like death doesn’t it?

#Recommended: The Foodie safely went for the Shazia Imli, which is this combination of Imli, Chilli Paste, Rum and and salt, and really liked it. The drink’s really nice. The spiceyness hits you right with the first sip. But what we noticed was that they tasted inconsistent everytime we asked for a refill. So maybe they need to monitor that a little.

The Grub:

Colourful plates of food started pouring in and since there is so much of food we have tasted in our three visits we decided to simplify the description of each by putting pointers and a simple review. Monkey Bar is known for its desi and nostalgic connections. Since everybody loves Monkey bar for its vibe and creativity, we decided to go simple and just rate each dish based on what we felt after eating each dish, for example a.) if you’re there,try it! b.) excellent, worth going to Monkey bar for and any other feelings that come to mind.

 

Kheema Bao
Kheema Bao

Kheem Bao:

A simple prep of steamed Baos stuffed with spicy Kheema. It comes with a dipping sauce and mutton broth, which when dipped in, makes each bite of the bao a juicy one. The Foodie didn’t mind it so much, infact quite liked it, the first time she had it. However the Techno-One didn’t find the dish interesting enough to come back for it. The filling was not as spiced up as he expected.

Should you try it?: If you’re there,try it!

 

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The Mobar Galouti, again, is good bar food. People who want something spicey and flavourful to go with their drinks can opt for this. I wouldn’t call this authentic, though.

Since the city has a shortage of options for authentic Galouti Kebabs, after Neel and Kakori house (expensive options), maybe you could just satisfy your craving with this.

Should you try it?: If you’re there,try it!

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The Butterfly chicken has a nice flavour, I don’t know if the comparison does justice, but the whole flavour is very deep-fried spring roll like.

Should you try it?: If you’re there,try it!

 

Some Raw Banana Rolls

 

Mochar Ghonto Chop: A good choice for the vegetarians, this one. Reading, deep fried plantain and banana flowers on the menu will definitely make you second guess whether to call for it or not. But I’ll have you know, its over all very.. chatpata? Interesting affair, moving away from the norm of picking potatoes and paneer for all these vegetarian experiments. Let’s just say, if you’re a true Monkey Bar fan, who happens to vegetarian, bananas shouldn’t be a problem 😉

Should you try it?: If you like to take the road less travelled. (And like Bengali food)

Ricotta Cutles

 

Dal Pakwan

Sindhi Dal Pakwan: The Chef should have been the one rating this. Since I don’t have much experience with the dish. A Sindhi speciality, this one is more of breakfast dish. However it is served as a snack at Monkey Bar.

Should you try it?: Not exciting enough

 

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Aam Aadmi Eggs: This one is very spicy! Eggs that are baked with tomatoes, onions, chillies, cheese and placed over toast, topped with Salli (fried potato sticks). One bite of this and the Foodie had hiccups for the next half an hour. When eating, be careful of all the chillies in it.

Should you try it?: Not exciting enough.

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Mrs. Pinto’s Prawn pickle and maska brun: This is one dish we could have done without. The whole affair was pretty dry. The Kadak pao and pungent pickle didn’t do much for us.

Should you try it?: Nah..

 

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Tikki of Joy is bhekti fish chop/cutlet, that comes with kasundi mustard. It was made well, no doubt, but we were still in the pursuit of coming across something that would get us excited about coming back.

Should you try it?: Nah..

Laal Maas Tacos

.Laal Maas Phulka Tacos: This was one dish I was quite excited about .. Laal Maas is a popular Rajasthani preparation. It owes its colour to the Red Chillies that go in its preparation. The Phulka Tacos were one of the better dishes we had that day. The Laal Maas was obviously spicy. To make it easier to eat you must pour the raita over it rather than trying to dip it, cos nothing good really comes out of it, except for the laal mass falling all over the place. What I miss in these tacos was that slight sweetness which would have made the taste less monotonous. We found that sweetness in the vegetarian phulka tacos. Dont know what it was but that sweetness made it taste complete..

Should you try it?: If you’re there,try it!

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Caramalized BBQ Ribs: A popular dish at most places, and a Bombay Foodies favourite, the ribs here were an unfortunate affair. The meat tasted a little off and on asking, we were told it had a little gamey taste due to the fact that it was imported from Belgium and that’s how it’s supposed to taste. Clearly we haven’t developed a taste for that one.

Should you try it?: Only if you like the gamey taste. This wasn’t our cup of tea!

Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon: If we ever went back to Monkey Bar purely for the food this could be one of the very few reasons. This is a heavy dish, as it is a wonton loaded with cream cheese and crab. the sweet chilli and ginger sauce are perfect to cut down that rich taste, as eating it continuously will get to you after a point. Don’t know if its a fresh one, but this Crab Rangoon is a definitely a decent catch.

Should you try it?: If you’re there you should!

Coming to our favourite part of the tasting, Desserts!

The Cheesecake: The first thing we tried on the menu was this thing we call The Cheesecake. After thinking of all those funky names they were too tired of coming up with something quirky for this very very delicious Cheesecake. Don’t think it needed any fancy name either, this cheesecake spoke for itself. The Dulce le leche which is prepared by slow cooking sweetened milk, tied in well with the caramel and coffee ice cream, maintained its slight tart flavour and suprisingly wasn’t too sweet. The Techno One mentioned that it was one cheesecake that he would come back to Monkey Bar for.

Should you try it?: Cheesecake connoisseurs, make your trip to Monkey Bar for this!
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The Chocolate Pot De Creme was an interesting and rich dessert. Lots of elements adding to it. Right from the Salted Caramel popcorn to the chocolate custard below, which was nice and went beautifully with the cake! Love such complex flavors.

Should you try this? If you’re at Monkey Bar you must try this.

Pot De Creme

Verdict: Monkey bar a known gastro pub that aims to please not just the party animals but also the foodies. But does it? For the taste, the food can be a little heavy on the pocket. We feel we should give the place another shot before coming to a conclusion but till then the hits and misses are at par. There is definitely a great amount of effort, creativity and culinary skill that show in the dishes. The concept is good, menu seems fresh but the Bombay foodies are yet to find that one good dish that’ll make them come back. We still have to try the famous mutton and the Black and Red Burgers, though. But till then our rating remains.

Food: 3

Decor: 4

Value for Money: 2.5

(The Bombay Foodies were invited to come and try out the food at the Monkey Bar, irrespective of that true and honest opinions have been given by the reviewers.)

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