Bangalore meets New York, New York meets Bangalore. New Gastro-bar in Bangalore so much lives upto their Twitter description. I paid this watering hole a visit a week before for lunch and my verdict a BIG thumbs up. I will not bother putting up pictures of food or drinks on this blog post as their website does quite a good job with that.
Since I went there with wifey and my two year old Zyana, I walked in very sceptically into the place wondering if they would be kid friendly. The place was buzzing with young and restless of Bangalore.
The décor of the place as you can see from the pics on their website (http://mobar.in/) is quite young as well. Walls are adorned with frames on monkies and a lot about monkey business.They have quite a decent seating size but not a single table available when we went there. I approached a smart young man who looked like to be running the place for a table. 15 minutes I was told. They had a table vacant in the cellar section. We climbed down the stairs and the cellar was loud with a bunch of kids and few families playing around on the foosball and pool table. It was definitely a relief to notice they welcomed kids.
We climbed back up and perched ourselves at the bar. Zyana comfortable on the bar itself J.The seating across the bar is high stool and is smoking area with an opening in the roof. So it’s not all that smoky on that side. Besides no smoking allowed at the bar itself, so that was fine.
Again I won’t bother writing about their menu as their website has enough links to reviews and articles that will give you details. I ordered myself a “Mary Beer”. The menu says its beer and spicy tomato juice but I saw my barman giving me a dash of vodka into it as well. They used kingfisher premium and premade mixture of the spicy tomato juice which I presume is used into their Bloody maries as well. Because it was premade, the drink was served very fast well. And it had perfect balance of quantities of beer and the tomato juice. Very refreshing. I ended up having 3 of them.
The most popular drink at the place seemed to be the “Mangaa” - vodka and aam panna served in nutella jars. There were quite a few Sangria pitchers as well that I saw going out. Lot of fresh fruits and ingredients in most cocktails. One unique thing I saw them doing with some of their cocktails was using freshly pressed “Sweet lime” (Mausaumbi) that I know no bar in Bangalore uses. Although my Mary beer was perfect I saw quite a few drinks come back to the bar in the 2 hours we were there for some fix or the other. Don’t know why. It could be the palate of Bangaloreans is still getting ready for the Monkey.
We ordered the house specials – “Tikki Of Joy” – (fish cutlets) and “Peri-Peri” prawns for starters. Both came with suggestions for paired drinks which ofcourse we could not do as I had my Mary Beer running. Very few or almost no bars in Bangalore have cocktail pairing with food, but since this is a Gastro-pub, the guys at Monkey bar did well with this. I could not order anything else but their cheese burger for the main and it was served with a pickle on the side. I wouldn`t say it was the BEST I ever had but it surly was quite decent. Well done, juicy and served with nice and crispy fries. You must check out their pictures on the website on how they serve their burger, on a wood plate. My wife`s grilled chicken was quite satisfactory as well. All food is plated quite elegantly.I do want to go back and try almost everything on their menu.
The prices were reasonable. The mary beer was Rs.250 a drink. The lemon soda that my wife ordered was just Rs.50. although when the 7% service charge , 10 % service tax and 4 % vat get loaded on these rates, they add up quite a bit. Can`t blame the bar for the taxes part.
The young gentleman who we approached when we entered the place came around later to ask if liked the food and in conversation told us he was the creative director of Olive Bar & Kitchen group of restaurants. Monkey bar is a division of the famous Olive Beach just a 100 meters down the same Wood Street road in Ashok Nagar. I am sure this place is buzzing a lot more during weekend nights.
Good addition to Bangalore scene, I would say. We need more places like these. Small, unpretentious, good food, great drinks, lovely music, good crowd and gentle on the purse strings. Follow them on twitter at @MonkeyBarBlr