I & Monkey, Bangalore

Written by: Swati on:

Guest post by Shravan Bendapudi

"So, we are putting up something new...courtesy my friend Shravan. Who is one of the most fantastically awesome person I know. Crazy drummer, brilliant brains and in love with food forever, Shravan is THE person I bug when I want to know about someplace good to eat...coz he knows it all! The best places for every cuisine. And being the nice guy that he is, he has agreed to do this post for us. Hope it helps you too :)"

Based on my experiences in the past, I have learnt to become wary of the “multi-cuisine” restaurant. Logically, it would seem justified – such places undertake such a wide palate that essentially it should be impossible to do justice to it all. Of course, there are exceptions, and such lovely exceptions at that: Eden at Chennai springs to mind almost immediately. I discovered this little gem in 2009-10 and their food (a mixture of Continental and Indian) is basically like having a really cool mom who’s good at cooking a lot of different stuff – its all big on mplicity, flavor and love … and I adored it.
But they are exceptions to what has otherwise been a widely consistent hypothesis. So when I was handed 2 menus at I&Monkey by the wait staff – one with Continental food and the other with Malayali food - I was quite perplexed.

To their credit, both menus seemed focused – they did not run into a large number of pages (just a single placard for each actually) and it didn’t seem to want to rehash the “Summer of ’69″ of each cuisine (you know, the overplayed hits?…). The descriptions did suggest that a modicum of thought had indeed been put into most dishes. Quite unsure what to expect, I got the pumpkin and green chili risotto.
The first bite and I was in love.
What I’ve learnt about risotto is that the rice has to be the focus; the garnish has to be invisible but enhance the flavor of the background. And on a rare occasion such as this, that’s exactly what it was – a rich, creamy bowl of slowly cooked Italian rice with the teasing “is-it? isn’t it?” sweetness of the pumpkin and the subtle heat of invisible green chili, so invisible that I never got a stray piece or any concentrated spice hits. In short, it was like a warm hug.
If I were to nitpick (and I will), there are just a couple of minor niggles I had with the dish. Firstly, I wish they would reduce the size of the parmesan that was used as the final garnish on the dish – they were sheets and when you took a bite with the cheese, it just overpowered everything else. And second, a few grains of rice – just a few, at the bottom, needed to be cooked a bit more: they were harder and more chewy than the rest – just a shade under perfect on consistency then.
It would seem then, that is one more exception to the rule that’s come to join the party. If the rest of the menu is anywhere close to that risotto, what we have here is something special – a verdict reserved for when I probably go back there for a full meal for a more comprehensive review. But even if it isn’t, at least got there for that risotto – it’s worth it.
I&Monkey – 3.5/5
Location – 12th Main, Off 100 ft Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore

P.S. Would you like more of such "good restaurants to check out" posts? Let us know in the comments below :)
You can check out Shravan's blog here : http://kilroyisborn.wordpress.com

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