Monkeying Around Town

Facebook fanatics on their recent social networking trawls would have noticed ads which show a monkey in dark glasses peering out from behind various Delhi landmarks, including Qutub Minar, Jama Masjid and the Lotus Temple. The monkey (and his shades) are the face of Monkey Bar's pre-opening campaign in the city. The Bangalore brand looks to make its Delhi debut with a splash, inviting fans to guess the location of the gastro-pub. While word from the web is still awaited we can authoritatively announce: Monkey Bar will be opening next week in Vasant Kunj, though its liquor license is still pending.

The brain child of Manu Chandra, executive chef Of Olive (Bangalore) and Bangalore's Like That Only, Monkey Bar enjoys a huge following in Bangalore for its quirk factor whether it's in the décor, cocktails or menu. "With Monkey Bar, we have no defined ethos. When we were opening, we decided to have fun and do exactly as we pleased while making sure our guests were enjoying the ride. So there is no fixed cuisine, no emphasis on particular drinks," said Chandra. The Bangalore menu encompasses everything from aged and dried burgers, to pickled beef with ker and sangri, to Parsi Berry Pulao to spiked nachos to 'sundae sandwiches'. Chandra promises all this and much more in Delhi, explaining "Delhi's kitchen space allows us scope to play around and try new things. However, we aren't engineering anything for a 'Delhi palate' because I don't think there is any such thing as city-specific taste buds. All our meat, apart from the Scottish salmon (for obvious reasons) is locally sourced."

While cheerful chaos seems to be the name of Monkey's (as it's popularly referred to) game, certain elements, like the dishes, are carefully crafted, but not something Chandra seems keen on advertising. "We use a lot of different cooking techniques, including molecular gastronomy in our food and drinks. Are we going to tell our guests? No. It's the end product that matters. People are coming to us for a fun experience, not a science lesson. If our food does the talking, we don't have to," says Chandra. Or in other words, monkey see, monkey do.

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