Pan-India gastropub Monkey Bar reinvents its menu but retains some of the old faourites
Kolkata/IBNS: Monkey Bar, the pan-India gastropub (a part of the Olive Group of restaurants), which has an outlet in Kolkata too, has come up with a new menu, which includes over 40 dishes and eight signature cocktails.
Naming it The Monkey Bar Evolution, the gastro-pub, which opened its doors seven years ago, has drawn inspiration from India’s regional cuisine to offer small plates of hearty pub food for its new menu.
A look at the Kolkata outlet menu revealed that favourites from the old menu have been retained but come with new accompaniments in the form of dips and sauces.
In the ‘small plates via the tandoor’ section, there is a range of kulchas with fillings, such as Malabari Mutton Kulcha, Butter Chicken Kulcha and Onion and Cheese Kulcha; the last named uses Kalimpong cheese.
Other items in the same section include Thelawala Mutton Seekh, Bandel and Malai Fish Kebab, Curry Leaves and Pepper Chicken; or opt for the Paneer and Tarkari Shashlik or a plate of Kasundi Chicken.
Highlights from the new ‘Soups and Salads’ menu includes Tibetan Thukpa, Watermelon and Feta Escabeche Salad and Honey Mustard Chicken Salad.
For snacks, try the Dilli Samosa Chaat (curried potato and green peas stuffed mini samosas topped with chutney and a side of Sindhi style khatti dal), Kerala style Mutta Puff (hardboiled eggs, chilies, spices and onions enveloped in a light puff pastry with a curry leaf hollandaise) or the Ghee Roast Bao (Kundapur-inspired pulled chicken ghee roast stuffed in a Chinese steamed bao).
If you are keen to go on a gastronomic trip, there is Meen Pollichathu - a Kerala toddy shop-inspired masala fish served with lemon and coriander potato and Naga Crisp Pork Belly with vegetables and soy, hoisin and Naga chili.
Also new on the small plates section is the Indian Odyssey Platter – a perfect dish to order when you are out with a large group of friends.
Taking inspiration from the traditional Mediterranean platter, it consists of Bengali style baingan bhorta, Kaddu Hummus, salted labneh, bonda vada, and pickled Shalgam or turnip and carrots with Kalimpong cheese, accompanied by Mangalorean Kori Roti, fryums and Gujrati fafda.
There’s a new selection of chutneys and accompaniments to the small plates offering too.
Nacho Nacho now comes with the traditional cheese sauce, refried beans, Pico De Gallo but it is the traditional Andhra – style tomato pachhdi and a drizzle of honey kasundi, which gives it a quirky twist.
The hugely popular Chilli Cheese Roll retains its place on the menu but now with an added twist of beetroot ketchup while the Nimbu Masala Fries comes with a pickled lemon aioli adding that extra zing to the dish.
The burger menu includes MFC (Monkey Fried Chicken) – herbs and spice-fried chicken, black bean mayo, cheese sauce, Iceberg and more; Thai Style Chicken Burger with lime leaves, chilies, garlic, lemongrass and galangal spiced chicken patty with Iceberg lettuce, white cheddar cheese and sesame and garlic Arugula; Chilli Pork Burger with hoisin chili, pulled pork, sweet sour raw mango-papaya salad, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese.
For vegetarians, there’s the Barnyard Burger made with a crispy fried vegetable patty with red pepper relish, wine- braised onions, baked beans and white cheddar cheese.
New accompaniments for the burgers include smoked bacon and red pepper relish, beetroot ketchup, kasundi relish, onion jam, roast gravy, not to forget the skinny fries and crunchy coleslaw with every burger ordered.
The ‘Mains’ signature dishes which hae been retained include Kayasth-influenced Chandraji’s Mutton Curry, the Irani legacy through Aunty Vinnie’s Berry Pulao, Punjabi- style Butter Chicken Khichdi and the Pandi Curry from Coorg.
The new dishes in this section include Gundruk Fried Rice (vegetarian fried rice with Gundruk chutney from the North East, mixed with onion, chilies and charred tomato), Kerala style Beef Ularthiyathu Fried Rice and Chemmeen (Prawn) Fried Rice.
There is a dish called Meen & Curry which consists of sardine fry, Meen Kolambu served with a beans and carrot poriyal, ghee rice, appalam and salad.
The signature cocktails at Monkey Bar include the new Rasam Mary, a combination of vodka, tomato pepper rasam, curry leaf and lemon salt rim, or the Tomesh Collins with gin, lime murabba, sweet and sour topped with tonic water, and the Pied Piper consisting of jeera infused whisky, cinnamon, sweet and sour syrup topped with ginger ale.
Other additions include the Juicy Martini made using vodka, Rhododendron syrup, pear juice and apple juice, the Peena Colada where homemade rabri and badaam shirin give a spin to an old favourite dessert.
There is also the tangy Sip Me Tender, enhanced with white rum.
Pocket pinch: Rs. 2000 ++ for two persons with alcohol excluding taxes, and Rs. 1400++ for two persons without alcohol excluding taxes.
Open: Monday to Thursday noon to midnight; Friday & Saturday noon to 1am; Sunday noon to midnight (only guests above 21 years are permitted after 6:00pm).
Monkey Bar Kolkata: #901 A, Fort Knox, 6, Camac Street, Kolkata- 700017.