Flying Monkey interiors [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Have to confess: have yet to check out all the cool eateries in and around Kampong Glam and new ones are already popping up. Last week, Musings on the M49
was chuffed to be invited to the opening of #FlyingMonkey, the first #Indiantapas restaurant with a full-fledged cocktail bar to set up along bustling #BussorahStreet.
[Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Owned and managed by engineer-turned-entrepreneur Sumeet Singla, the same chap who owned the popular Pizza Fabricca next door, Flying Monkey is a bright, spacious space filled with colourful motifs on the walls, while al fresco seating is available as well. A gaming lounge, to be located on the second floor, is presently in the works.
CONTEMPORARY PAN-INDIAN CUISINE
The simple yet attractive menu features an extensive list of contemporary Pan-Asian cuisine served tapas style, comprising small plates, large plates, desserts, and sides such as breads, rice and yogurt.
The kitchen is helmed by Head Chef Azad, formerly from Yantra, who leads a team of chefs with strong traditional backgrounds and five-star restaurant experience.
Here’s but a small selection of the best dishes:
Nalli Gosht aka Lamb Shank [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
This Nalli Gosht
($26), which is lamb shank cooked for hours overnight and served with garlic naan, is da bomb. The meat was tender and flavourful, and comes off the bone easily, while the creamy peanut-cashew curry tasted so good with the naan slices. Needless to say, this large plate item scored high points with this carnivore!
Tulsi Cod [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
I’m not a fish person but this Tulsi Cod
($15) is utterly awesome. Every bite of the cod fillet, which is marinated in Italian basil and charred in a 500-degree Tandoor oven, truly tantalized the tastebuds. One of the standout dishes on the menu.
Quail Musallam [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Flying Monkey’s Tandoori Chicken
($10) marinated in yogurt and spices is one of their best sellers, but if you are willing to try a bird of a different kind, the Quail Musallam
($26) is it. The whole bird, which is of a decent small size, is slow cooked and served with curry and a hard-boiled egg on Kashmiri Pulao (tasty yellow rice cooked with dried fruits and nuts). A large plate that is good enough for a single meal, I don’t really fancy sharing it with anyone else if truth be told!
Galouti Kebab [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
($14) is one of Flying Monkey’s signature dishes and it has a great story behind it. Long long time ago, there was an Indian king who loves to eat meat but couldn’t do so after losing all his teeth. So he ordered the royal chefs to come out with a plan and this was what they came out with: mutton meat grinded into a gooey paste, marinated with spices and unripe papaya, and then made into mini kebabs that His Majesty could easily munch on. This “melt-in-your-mouth” kebab was cute and invitting but it has a spicy flavour that was way too strong for me. It’s definitely an acquired taste which it would take a long while to get used to.
Chilli Poppers [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Okay, if you are just here for the drinks, you can’t not have “bar grub”. Here’s one of the best choices on the menu but only if you can handle the “hotness”. These Chilli Poppers
($10) are Rajasthani-styled green chilli stuffed with potato masala. Crunchy, spicy and deliciously hot – on a chilli hot scale of 1-5, it rates a #4 – it’s a great snack to go with your poison of choice.
Calamari 65 [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Another great snack to go with liquor is Calamari 65
($10), a play on the popular deep-fried snack Chicken 65 from Chennai. Unlike the calamari you find in western diners, these calamari rings are crunchy with a spicy taste as they are deep fried with curry leaves. A real good beer snack.
Jalebi [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Last but by no means least, do make room for the wonderful dessert that is Jalebi
($10). Freshly made-to-order each time, this crispy, super sweet Indian pretzel is best eaten when it’s still warm and dipped in aromatic syrup. You can’t leave Flying Monkey without trying this!
The menu also have a number of tasty vegetarian dishes worth trying such as Baigan Salan ($16), which is eggplant braised in peanut-cashew curry and served with rice, and Mustard Gohbi ($8), which is cauliflower marinated with mustard and charred in the Tandoor.
CLASSIC COCKTAILS WITH AN INDIAN TWIST
Flying Monkey owns the distinction of being one of the few restaurants in the Kampong Glam vicinity to have bespoke cocktails available. But if you are the kind who rather just order your drinks straight off the menu, it has a cocktail menu filled with fascinating choices ($14-$20) such as classic cocktails with an Indian twist on flavours.
“The Beard” in action [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
The bar is manned by Head Bartender Kannan aka “The Beard”, seen above preparing a Monkey on Fire
($20), which is Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, Grand Marnier, Maraschino, Honey, 3-Spice and Coconut Water. Don’t worry, the cocktail will be served without fire but in a cute little clay pot filled to the brim with ice. It has a smooth, sweet taste while the fiery smokiness does add an edge to it.
The Flying Monkey [Credit: Marguerita Tan]
If you like a strong whiskey taste in your cocktails, try the signature, The Flying Monkey ($18)
, which contains Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, King’s Ginger, Jaggery Syrup and Bitters.
[Credit: Marguerita Tan]
Other interesting cocktails include Goa Mamma Lassi
($18, Mango, Passion Fruit, Aylesbury Vodka, Plantation Dark Rum, Milk,Yogurt) and Yo Yo Mani
($18, Plantation 3 Stars, White & Overproof Rum, Koko Kanu Coconut Rum, Coconut Water & Cream, 5-spice Kerala Rice Syrup).
If you are looking for a casual place with good Indian food, Flying Monkey is worth trying out. For me, the curry lamb shank with naan, for one, is worth coming back for. Prices are relatively decent for a tapas bar, and although I wished they have more beer choices, India’s Kingfisher beer is seriously not a bad accompaniment for Indian cuisine
Flying Monkey is at 67 Bussorah Street. Lunch: 12-2.30pm; Dinner 5.30pm-11pm. Weekends till late, last order 10.30pm.