While a pub or a bar is traditionally about drinks, it doesn't hurt to have a place that serves mouth-watering delicacies as well. I entered Monkey Bar with part-excitement and part-reservation, looking forward to experiencing what's supposed to be the first 'gastro-pub' in India. Housed in a glass building built like a pyramid, Monkey Bar has a fairly casual setting, with brick walls, mismatched lights and wooden flooring forming the interiors. From the name of the pub to the music playing in the background, everything at the gastro-pub seems laid back - making it a great place to visit with friends for a fun evening.
The food here is continental with a good Indian spin, specifically the spiked nachos and the butterfly chicken. While the chubby mushroom is a fine option for vegetarians, seafood fans may find their calling in the tikky of joy, fish cutlets with mustard and bang bang prawns in black pepper, curry leaves and lemon.
In the main course, shrimp newburg with brown rice - cooked with wine and penang curry powder - was easily my favourite. While the mobar pork is not the best pork belly in town, it certainly leaves a lingering taste on your palette. The kosha mangsho or Bengali mutton stew is average, at best.The alcohol section contained some Monkey Bar specials worth remembering for years to come. Being a huge margarita fan, I tried out their strawberry and kokum variants and found they were both fantastic. While the vodka-based mangaa was another brilliant concoction, the mandarin mojito didn't quite live up to our expectations. But then, the whisky cocktails - the refreshingly Indian naarangi and the copper monkey - more than made up for it. Monkey Bar scores well for a gastro-pub. So, if a good time with friends over sumptuous food and pleasantly heady drinks is what you want, here's where you should be.