In a cool, ramshackle district in the southern Indian city of Bangalore there’s an unassuming bar called Monkey. And if you weren’t a local you would almost certainly walk past the corner where its situated as the tuk tuks and buses fight for space.
Monkey has won interior design praise with its urban décor, retro cool decorations featuring old school vespas and star wars prints. Founded by the famous Indian chef – Manu Chandra of Olive fame, one could be in New York city or Leeds…but there is something else, an Indian twist to everything.
As very loud and very great tunes from the DJ upstairs blasted out we kicked off with a selection of house cocktails and special mention has to go to Mangaa, and Copper Monkey – vodka and whiskey based, infused with local flavours and spice. The food is a curious mix of western, Indian and Chinese along with straight bat wings, nachos, ribs etc. What was interesting was a whole section of offal – heart, brain, liver all delivered with taste attitude.
It’s a kind of Indian tapas style experience – very social with lots of small plated being shared – my favourites included:
Butterfly Chicken ‘Gangnam Style 😉 – Zesty shredded chicken sautéed with lime, basil, chili, black beans and green onions stuffed inside crisp butterfly shells
Chilli Brain – Brain cutlet with green chilli and fenugreek
Pickled Beef – Spicy beef pickle with ker, sangri and curry leaves in gingery oil; served with hot pav and onion
Monkey is officially a gastro pub in Bangalore but for me it had none of the preachyness we can get in gastro pubs in the UK – this was definitely a vibrant, unpretentious and essential place to come, eat and drink.