Hello monkey!

Chuck show business. There is actually no business like the restaurant business! Look around the Capital. There are restaurants cropping up everywhere. Some live long and prosper and some just shut shop as quietly as they started.

Clearly this is not easy. But what is does need is oodles of passion. Ask Abhishek Patnaik, one of the monkeys behind this pretty neat, decently new property at Safdarjung Enclave - The Hungry Monkey. The odds are that you might well confuse this place with Monkey Bar, but trust us, the experience is very different. It is cozier - always a good thing!

A few months into being, The Hungry Monkey (THM) is one of the newest properties in the DDA market and safely the coolest because they have merged fine dining with ample space to lean back and loosen that tie. The whole idea is to have great food and some great drinks but nothing too formal, one should be able to come here with friends, enjoy the ambience, enjoy the music and just have a good time - explains Patnaik.

Spread over three levels, THM makes you feel right at home with wooden floors, grunge meets steam punk decor replete with wrought iron cages and fun wall art and yes, a lovely terrace. We started off with cold spinach ‘Gomae’ with roasted sesame in soy dressing and the roasted beetroot tartare with mascarpone, mint and pine nuts. The gomae is a must try and is absolutely delectable.

The sweetness of the beetroot tartare comes together very well with the mascarpone and the pine nuts. Chef Noah Barnes brought out the smoked salmon carpaccio? next. I have been to 'good' restaurants that have absolutely ruined the salmon and therefore I have huge respects for those who know how to handle this delicate fish well. THM just got added to the list. The saltiness might appear a tad overwhelming but coupled with the mustard, cucumber and sour cream - all is good in the hood. The Prosciutto wrapped goat cheese with rocket leaves is another must try.

The Potted Chicken Liver Paté with prune and onion confit with toast is perfect for people who have a palette for chicken liver. So while my friend loved it, I told myself that I would have to have it a few
times more to get the hang of it all.  

For mains we tried the baked fillet of Sole cooked with lemon and rosemary on a bed of saffron couscous  and the Espresso pan fried chicken breast with grilled vegetables and bacon mash, in a coffee sauce. The bacon mash stole the show for me, but that's just my carb-obsession speaking.

The fish and the chicken were both very well done. Dessert was White Chocolate Parfait with a Kahlua float, Almond and Vanilla Filo Pastry Cigars. While you are there, you cannot possible miss the cocktails and they are all in-house specials. My favourite was the Fog Light that comes to you with some dreamy lavender smoke and yes, the gin basil Smash - fresh and very yummy.

A meal for two comes to about Rs 2500 (without alcohol). They also have an incredible Sunday brunch on offer Rs 1600 without alcohol and Rs 2250 with alcohol (all prices are listed without taxes).

The food and the cocktails make it worth the while - don't doubt that one bit!
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