Monkey Bar (Vasant Kunj, Delhi) – 4.5/5 Stars

Monkey bar is the most interesting restaurant you will dine at!

Monkey Bar has been on my wish list for a very long time, I just haven’t been able to go there for some reason. Anyway, when I was invited to be there for the ongoing Mocktober fest, I rubbed my hands with glee.

Coconut Jumbo Prawns at Monkey Bar Delhi, Photo courtesy Sanjay Ramchandran (1)

Monkey Bar, for the uninitiated, is a gastro pub in Vasant Kunj and is the brainchild of AD Singh, one of India’s top restaurateurs. This is the second Monkey bar in the country, first being in Bangalore fittingly as it is India’s pub capital.

Butterfly Chicken at MONKEY BAR, New Delhi- 9384

Now, I really need to ask the owners whether the glass dome was already present and they decided to build a restaurant inside it or if they were really inspired by Louvre. Either way it is a striking structure and looks like a restaurant from a “galaxy far far away”.

The MoBar Bork @ MONKEY BAR  Kunal Chandra 25

Monkey Bar is one of those restaurants whose vibe you can gauge the moment you step in. It is extremely cool, hip and young and the ambience contributes to it in no small measure. The posters and pop art pieces, from old Lindt signage to Johnny Walker wall clocks, it really is superb. Hidden in a nook is a game room that has a pool table, a Foosball Table and other game-y stuff.

 Tiger Steak @MONKEY BAR photo Kunal Chandra

Monkey Bar has a two level dining area and we were seated on the upper deck. Okay, onto the food – the Mocktober fest menu has around 27 beers from all over the world. Although my first choice Hoegarden was not available, I settled for an Estrella Damm (Spanish), while my partner had an interesting strawberry flavoured beer called Fruli (Belgian). Our starters were Butterfly Chicken (a la carte menu) and Beer battered tiger prawns (Mocktober menu).

St. Patricks' Spegatti at Monkey Bar Delhi, Photo courtesy Sanjay Ramchandran

The chicken filling was fab especially with a drizzle of the sweet and spicy sauce. It was presented well too, in a butterfly shaped shells. The butterfly shells on their own had no flavour but eaten along side the chicken it formed an interesting combination.

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The beer battered prawns were probably the only dish I did not like that evening. Although the batter was great, the beer made it light and yeasty, the prawns were chewy and a tad bland. It might have to do with the big tiger prawns coz I think smaller prawns are more flavourful than its larger cousin.

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We ordered tasting portions of many main course dishes and ill start with the two on the Mocktober menu first. We had the Cajun chicken taco pizza and St. Patricks Spaghetti. The Cajun chicken taco pizza was perfect. The spicing of the chicken was as good as the toasted tacos which was as good as the beer yoghurt on top. I was pleasantly surprised with the incorporation of beer in this dish, marvellous.

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St. Patricks spaghetti was a winner all the way. The stout and beef stew was slow cooked and still had pink in the middle, gorgeous taste. The buttered spaghetti was smooth, buttery and sinful and the combination of the two was hearty.

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Our a la carte was a portion of the mutton shami slider, tiger steak and the mobar bork. First things first, the mutton shami slider was probably the best dish I’ve had the whole year. Three little shami kebab burgers with mint chutney and coleslaw, the flavours in the shami blew me away. And to think that one of best shami kebabs in Delhi is in a high end gastro pub says something about the chef. You can come to this restaurant just for this and not be disappointed.

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The Tiger steak was well cooked and had so many interesting flavours in it, the heat of chilli paste, pungency of the galangal and the tang of lemon. Very nice indeed.

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Finally, the mobar bork is a pork belly dish, served on a bed of wonderfully cooked noodles. The pork belly was how a belly should be, fatty and crisp at the ends. I loved the dish and the combination of flavours were top notch.

Spiced Honey & Ale Cake AND Chocolate & Stout Pudding,Photo courtesy Sanjay Ramchandran

For desserts, I went for a Spiced Honey and Ale cake (Moktober menu) while my partner had the Chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel.

The Spiced Honey cake was beautiful with a strong sticky honey flavour and went well with the stout cream it was served with.

Chocolate Pot De Creme With Salted Caramel 2 - Monkey Bar - Photo Courtesy Kunal Chandra

My partner loved the chocolate pot but it really was not up my street as I like dark chocolate and hate popcorn. Anyway, she loved it so I will say that people who like that combination should surely give it a go.

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All in all, I loved the experience at Monkey Bar and would love to come back to enjoy it all over again, and for those mutton shami kebabs (Boy I am hungry again!!).

Review by: Mayank

Photo Credit: Shivangi Reviews

TAGS: Monkey, Bar, Delhi, Vasant, Kunj, Gastro, Pub, Bar, Monkey, Bar, Delhi, Vasant, Kunj, Gastro, Pub, Bar, Monkey, Bar, Delhi, Vasant, Kunj, Gastro, Pub, Bar

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Restaurant Review: Dhaba By Claridges (DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon) – 5/5 Stars

Dhaba By Claridges, as I am sure everyone knows by now, is a new funked up franchise of the very popular Claridges Hotel. I say funked up coz the interiors have taken the essence of a roadside Dhaba and added the colour of a Karan Johar movie and the coolth of a Tarantino flick. I mean coloured cutting chai glasses as chandeliers, ‘theka’ styled steel grills hiding single malts, the interiors itself are worth the price of admission. 

Over to the menu now and at first glance it seems like any other North Indian restaurant however Corporate Chef Ravi Saxena, who very graciously accompanied us, told how each dish has been carefully thought of, keeping actual roadside ‘dhabas’ in mind. Like authentic dhaba food, dishes here are freshly prepared and served and certain dishes once finished, will not be prepared again in true dhaba style.

You cannot visit this place without trying their cocktails that are named after desi ‘tharras’. They come in brilliant little ‘tharra’ bottles along with salt and spice laced glasses to pour your drink in and are they delicious or what! I had almost all of them and I would highly recommend the ‘Santari’, ‘Toofan’ and ‘Narangi’ (although all others were equally brilliant). If you want to know what is in these drinks, go try for yourself. 

Coming to the food, we started with a mix of veg and non veg fare like Veg galouti kebabs, Tandoori Bhune Aloo, Dhaba Murgh roast, Dhaba Prawns and Tawa Mutton. 

Veg galouti was absolutely sublime and as the Chef said it did not contain any of the traditional ingredients (like rajma) used elsewhere for galoutis. Just everyday vegetables mixed with the right kind of spices.

Tandoori Bhune Aloo were a revelation because they were so perfectly roasted. It reminded me of top London Restaurants serving fantastic roast potatoes cooked in goose fat. They came with a saunth chutney and more importantly that sprinkling of fresh onions and tomatoes, Dhaba style. 

Dhaba murgh roast and the Prawns were again great but the best starter was Tawa Mutton. Fantastic pieces of perfectly cooked mutton and an amazingly light (uncommon for meat dishes) and flavourful curry. This dish was truly the work of a master chef.

In between the starters and the mains, the Dhaba staff did a jig on ‘Badtameez Dil’ and I was just one ‘Santari’ shy of joining them. Much to everyone’s relief I did not. 

The mains included Butter Chicken, Dal Dhaba, Amritsari Chole , Balti Meat, Kanastari Baingan Bharta (Chef’s specal recommendations) and a magnificent Chicken Pulao. 

Now, the Butter chicken and Daal were expectedly great but the Baingan ka Bharta was drool-worthy. It was the best I’ve ever had (Sorry mom) and its genius lies in its simplicity. 

The Balti meat was again great and a special mention has to be given to the amount of meat that this dish has. A carnivores wet dream I say (Hows that for a South Indian reference).

I really loved the Chole too especially that tamarind water accompaniment, which elevated it to greatness.

This is one of those few places where I categorically did not miss non vegetarian food at all and I never thought it will be possible.

My stomach still had space for desserts, (not kidding) and they did not disappoint. The phirni was wow!. It might be a tad sweeter than most places but I like that more (Sorry Karims). The Badam Halwa was outstanding and so were the Gulab Jamuns but I genuinely think I had great Rasmalai after aeons. Soft, ‘chenadaar’ and subtly sweet, I was a bite away from a proposal (No really!!). 

Finally our meal was topped of with a ‘Panditji’ ka special meetha paan, reminding us of the restaurant’s roots.

There is also a very cool weighing machine at the entrance that gives away your fortune by placing coins in it ( Don’t worry the coins are provided by the restaurant).

I think Dhaba by Claridges is a phenomenal restaurant where food, ambience and mood create a very unique blend. It is a place you are going to go repeatedly and puts a smile on your face. When was the last time you visited a restaurant like that?


Review by: Mayank

Photo Credit: Team Shivangi Reviews

 

La Piazza – Hyatt Regency (Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi) – 4/5 Stars

This Italian restaurant is one of my most favourite places in Delhi. I love the ambience, the service and the food. The delicious sea bass on their menu is one of the many things I like to order every time I’m at La Piazza. Calzone with goat cheese is mouthwatering – highly recommended.

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Been to La Piazza for many Sunday brunches. The Sunday Brunch is great. Love the pastas and pizzas. They have a very interesting wine menu too.

On the dessert menu, do not miss the tiramisu. It is truly divine. Try the authentic stone oven baked pizzas at La Piazza, you will not regret it.