20 Apr 2017 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
Love your tapas? Flying Monkey offers a fresh new take with their contemporary pan-Indian fare. Plus there's a bearded bartender serving spiced-up cocktails to take the heat off.
Flying Monkey is the only full-fledged cocktail bar in Bussorah Street, yes, kinda weird when you think about it, but also not so strange. After all, it’s in the middle of a religious enclave, although we noticed that a halal izakaya was opening soon in the hood as well. So what are some people going bananas over Flying Monkey? The contemporary pan-Indian food might have something to do with it (more on the cocktails later).
They might have tweaked the portions to seem tapas-like, but they don’t mess around with the spices. The dishes are bloody hot and spicy if you don’t lean that way, so the two to order is: Buttermilk Chicken with Paneer, and the Cod Fillet Marinated in Basil. Otherwise, go with the Nalli gosht (lamb shank) or the melt-in-your-mouth Galouti Kebab. If it’s just something for snacking, I’d recommend the Truffle Naan with Pear Chutney.
We started with a Pisco Sour in anticipation of all the spicy food to follow. Bartender Kannan Pillai (aka The Beard) shook one up for us. We know him from stints at Cufflink Club and LongPlay. The Sour is just right, delicate with the right level of creaminess.
Here Kannan makes a Monkey on Fire, his version of the Blazer: Monkey Shoulder whisky, Grand Marnier, maraschino, honey, 3-spice, and topped up with slightly cooler coconut water. If the drink stays hot, the flavour changes. Needless to say, do not try this at home.
The Beard says that the cocktails on the menu have Indian influences, so this Yo Yo Mani has Plantation 3 Stars White & Overproof Rum, Koko Kanu Coconut Rum, Coconut water and cream, and 5-spice Kerala Rice Syrup. Which reminded me of my trip to Kerala:
Ok, back to the Flying Monkey. Literally, The Flying Monkey Cocktail:
And what respectable bar now doesn’t have a variation of the Old Fashioned? This has Monkey (!) Shoulder whiskey, king’s ginger, jaggery syrup and bitters. The ginger was very subtle, which is good for some, but still a potent take on the classic.
Kanaan loves feedback on his cocktails, so feel free to exchange ideas with him. He also loves a good challenge – which means ordering off menu – so we asked for an El Presidente variation. This one came with spiced rum, chartreuse, and spices. #winner
We don’t know about the name, Flying Monkey is meant to evoke fun and irreverence, so it was Interesting that we didn’t get a single dish or cocktail with bananas. Maybe cause this fella ate it all…
Well worth a trip.
Flying Monkey, 67 Bussorah Road, tel: 6291-0695.