The first gastropub chain of the country spreads its branch to Calcutta, and that’s reason enough for me to hop in happiness. For the uninitiated, Gastropubs are places where the focus is equally on food and on the drinks, unlike regular restaurants which focus on food and serve some drinks too or like pubs primarily serving drinks with some food to nibble on. So basically it’s my kind of a place, to get the best of both worlds😍.
The rainy Friday evening when I went to Monkey Bar, Kolkata on an invitation from Communications 2.0, was the perfect weather to gulp down a few cocktails with a room full of friends and known faces. Of the cocktails, the Mangaa with the right punch of Vodka and Aam Panna, was an instant hit at my table. Me however, not being an ardent Aam Panna fan, tilted more towards the Pack-a-Punch. It was the perfect concoction of rum and brandy, with apple and aromatics like thyme and cinnamon.
Another favourite was the basil infused, gin based Toast to Calcutta, with a generous dash of gondhoraj cordial.
Moving on to the food now, it was remarkable to see such a well-designed menu where even a number of vegetarian options succeeded to get me amply enticed. One was the Kerala Red Rice Salad with baby spinach, red rice, raw mango, coconut, peanuts and upmensinkai (salted chilli from Karnataka), and it might be a great option for healthy-eaters.
I have a special place for brie in my heart, so the Baked Brie with Caramelised Onions & Marmalade, stuffed in puff pastry and served with a fruit compote, chilli oil & basil was my absolute favourite thing that night, without a doubt.
The menu includes some local delights tweaked the money way, like the Tikki of Joy which is basically Kolkata inspired Bhetki fish cutlets with kasundi, fennel seed & coriander, served with mint chutney. But the hero of the meaty plates for me was definitely the Tiger Beef. The slivers of steak tossed with chilli paste, black beans, galangal, ginger, bean sprouts, lemon, bok choy and peppers, was a sheer joy for my tastebuds. The hit of chilli and the zing of ginger, accentuated with the tang of lemon with the meat as tender as in dreams, will surely be a party in your mouth!
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, came in the Butter Chicken Khichdi. The creamy mung daal khichdi with butter chicken folded in, served with Ghee, Papad, Dahi, Salad & Achaar is the ultimate comfort food and will be my personal recommendation to anyone who would bother to ask.
As the conversations and cocktails kept flowing mellifluously, came the sweetest bits of the evening at our tables. The desserts here were magical for me. The Gondhoraj Lime Tart, with its perfect tart shell filled with the glistening lime curd, and finished with torches meringue, was happiness on a plate.
Having said that, the Snicker Bar, was no less. The milk chocolate ganache, dark chocolate micro cake, hazelnut praline cream, salted caramel gel was an elegant embodiment of the snicker bar, and a must have for all caramel freaks.
First launched in Bangalore in mid-2012, the gastropub currently has two outposts in Delhi, one in Bangalore and one in Mumbai apart from the newly opened one in Kolkata.
Okay, so above that’s an ecstatic me with the ever-gracious celebrity chef Manu Chandra….And that was my fan girl moment!😎😍
Located on the 9th Floor, at Camac Street, Monkey Bar offers a panoramic view of iconic landmarks including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Victoria Memorial and the Vidyasagar Setu. The decor is remarkable, and is the perfect cross of elegance, quirk and yes, Calcutta.
Address: #901 A, Fort Knox, 6, Camac Street, Kolkata- 700017
Contact: 033 40606446
Meal for two without alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1200++
Meal for two with alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs. 1800++
Tuesday to Friday 4 pm to 1 am
Sat & Sun 12:00 noon to 1:00 am
Monday closed, Thursday dry Day. (Guests below the age of 21 are permitted only till 6:00pm).