Chennai’s hippest new gastropub, Monkey Bar, is finally open!


If you are a regular visitor to bangalore, you have certainly heard of monkey bar. Often credited as being the first desi avatar of the gastro pub in India, the property has finally found its way to Chennai with some regional flavors in tow.

Let’s start with the familiarity of the setting. The Monkey Bar has always prided itself on a simple, warm and relaxed atmosphere. While Chennai’s outlet deviates from the usual to fit the format of a mall restaurant (unlike the stand-alone format of other Monkey Bars across the country), the elements we associate with the brand remain. Varied seating styles, space that can be used for performances or dancing, and different levels within the same property, make the Monkey Bar feel alive and well.

Bajji and brandy
The menu, comprising over 60 dishes, is non-conformist and quirky and reinvents several South Indian favorites specifically for Chennai. With specials like Mirapakaya Bajji, Meen Varuthath, Nethili Frying, Gassi Fish Tikka and Fillet of Fried Pepper, they have also created cocktails to satisfy the foodie in Chennai. There is the Sip Semmai — with brandy, white rum, apple, cinnamon and thyme; Old fashioned kasheri made with almond infused whiskey, sugar, bitters, almond and orange peel; and Madras Men — a combination of whiskey, coffee tree, orange juice, rosemary mist and tonic water. the Gassi Fish Tikka paired with the Old fashioned kasheri was a match made in heaven.

We also managed to sample a few other dishes, including the whole town’s favorite butterfly chicken, the tiger fillet, the South Indian favorite — Reddy’s Popcorn Chicken, the Thele Wala Mouton Seekh – a success of their restaurants in northern India, the Kulcha Butter Chicken – an absolute crowd pleaser, the MFC Burger and the Gundruk Fried Rice – a tribute to their largely northeast Indian workforce.

If you’re looking forward to something fruitier, try two of their signature cocktails: mangaa — vodka, aam panna, lime, cumin and salt; and copper monkey — whisky, orange juice, passion fruit juice, mint and bitters.

Madras oh!
We ended our tasting with a few bites Nutella & Old Monk Cake/Snicker Bar then settles in for a quick chat. “Our foray into the Chennai market has been delayed. We always knew we had to come here one day. I have a strong personal connection with the city. Few people know that I am part Tamil on my mother’s side. I have always been inspired by the city and its love for food and was very careful when creating the menu,” shared Manu Chandra, chief partner.

Meal for two at INR 2,000++, at Madras House, VR Chennai.

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Clockwise: Gassi Fish Tikka, Old Fashioned Kacheri, MFC Burger & Veg/Chicken Butterfly

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