Despite the traffic snarls in South Delhi, Rahul Verma recommends a visit and revisit to Mobar
One morning, when I was reading the newspapers (or, I should say, being relentlessly badgered by them), a friend called. He wanted to take us out for dinner. The restaurant was a new one, and his son was one of the partners there. And because I was much in awe of the son – ever since, as a young teenager, he kindly shoved me aside in my kitchen and took over the lunch that I had planned – I agreed at once.
The son in question is Manu Chandra, who, since the sojourn in my kitchen, has emerged as one of the most creative chefs of this generation. He is the executive chef of Olive in Bangalore and has now, with some partners in Delhi, opened a gastrobar called Monkey Bar in south Delhi. Monkey Bar is already a great success in Bangalore. The one in Delhi has its own signature tune – with a menu that is somewhat different from that in Bangalore.
I must tell you right here that it was one of the nicest meals I’ve had in a while. And let me tell you why. For one, the place itself is beautiful – set in a pyramid with many levels, alcoves and nooks. The interiors are buzzing, if I may use that word: posters and lights beckon cheerfully at you the moment you enter. Two, the food, in one word, is brilliant. I had all kinds of dishes, and each one was excellent.
Monkey Bar – or MoBar, as it is called – is in the C block market of Vasant Kunj (Plot No 11, Pocket C 6 & 7, Commercial Complex, opposite Delhi Public School and next to Nanking). The phone no is 41095155. A meal for two (without alcohol – it’s still to get its liquor licence) comes from Rs. 1200 or so and most dishes are within the Rs. 200-300 range.
We started with something called a Tiger steak — which was a chilli hot dish of tenderloin cut into small pieces and tossed with some greens and spices. Then we had the Mobar bork – a plate of succulent pork bellies on a bed of noodles. We had been urged to try out the Mobar burger, which was against a juicy piece of tenderloin squeezed between two soft buns with bacon. We had a vegetarian in our midst (the chef’s mother!), who asked for something called flutterfly – a dish of corn in a crunchy lattice – and baked potato skins with corns, beans and sour cream. After eating all this, I was almost bursting at the seams, but I was urged to try out a very small portion of the Parsee Orderlies Mutton Curry. And I am glad I did, because it was simply superb.
Every dish, I thought, was cooked to a tee. The meats were soft and juicy, without being overcooked. The spices were just right, and though a few of the dishes were hot, the taste was sublime. I, for one, loved the Mobar bork: the pork was so tender that it actually melted in the mouth. Likewise, the Parsee mutton curry was delicious – the gravy thick and tasty and the meat was most flavoursome.
I avoided the desserts (our table had a Mobar pineapple outside in and a chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel), but I was told that the latter was to die for.
The meal was so good that I am already planning my next visit there – despite the fact that I dislike the traffic to south Delhi in the evenings. But Manu’s food is so good that you have to keep going back for more. Once, as the lady said, is just not enough.
Where: Plot No 11, Pocket C 6 & 7,
Commercial Complex, opposite Delhi Public School and next to Nanking, Vasant Kunj