At the heart of Kampong Glam and along Bussorah Street lies Flying Monkey, an up-and-coming Indian tapas restaurant and bar serving contemporary pan-Indian cuisine and classic cocktails with an Indian twist. Flying Monkey is the brainchild of Mr Sumeet Singla, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur and owner of Pizza Fabricca (adjacent to Flying Monkey) that has won several accolades. Sumeet conceptualised Flying Monkey to be fun, rustic, and off the grill, very much unlike the usual Indian restaurants one would find in Singapore.
Decked out in vibrant colours and striking wall motifs, Flying Monkey exudes a cheerful and quirky vibe. It is the perfect setting to enjoy the restaurant’s creative offerings, as the chefs at Flying Monkey inject fun elements into the authentic and traditional dishes.
Being one of the few establishments in the area to have bespoke cocktails available, Flying Monkey’s bar immediately stands out. Head Bartender Kannan, also known as “The Beard” is ever-ready to concoct cocktails to suit customers’ preferences. Of course, patrons can also order from a cocktail menu ($14++ to $20++) comprising international cocktails fused with subtle Indian flavours.
The evening of pan-Indian delights was kick started with a cocktail demonstration by none other than “The Beard”. First up was the restaurant and bar’s signature cocktail, The Flying Monkey ($18++), a concoction of Monkey Shoulder Whiskey, King’s Ginger, jaggery syrup, and bitters. Whiskey and ginger hardly goes wrong, as it was with this drink, however, there was nothing very memorable about it. On the other hand, Monkey on Fire ($20++) stole the show, as “The Beard” performed a mini fire display. As he poured the piping hot mixture over a cinnamon stick, cloves, and an orange slice, pleasant burnt flavours were brought out, which made this warm cocktail a literal hot favourite.
Yo Yo Mani ($18++), the namesake of the bobble head figurine pictured, was different in a refreshing way. Ingredients used to make porridge in Indian households, such as rice, cinnamon, honey, and vinegar are blended and cooked repeatedly into puree form. This rice puree is then combined with rum, coconut rum, coconut water and cream to create this drink. Mind It! ($18++) incorporates jasmine into gin, which is quite a novelty if you ask me. With the addition of maple syrup, fresh mint and lemon, this drink will definitely tantalise your tastebuds.
After all that alcohol, it was high time for some food. For starters, we had Calamari 65 ($10++), a spin on ‘Chicken 65’, a popular spicy and deep-fried Indian entrée. Lightly battered and fried with curry leaves, the calamari was a wonderful complement to the cocktails.
What’s a pan-Indian feast without Tandoori Chicken ($10++)? One of Flying Monkey’s signature tapas, the chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices before entering a 500-degree charcoal tandoor oven. The outcome? Delightfully tender and flavourful pieces of meat that will surely whet your appetite for more. Shortly after, the Tulsi Cod ($15++) made its appearance. Coated in basil and charred in the tandoor, this cod fillet was seriously fresh and succulent. The fish fell apart into white morsels of flesh at the tease of the fork, and was simply delectable.
This unassuming-looking dish (Truffle Naan ($14++)) turned out to be my favourite of the lot! Crispy and fluffy at the right parts, the pieces of naan were uniformly coated with truffle without becoming overly oily. When consumed together with the paneer mousse and pear chutney, the savoury and sweet flavours were flawlessly married. Loved it!
The final small plate, Galoutti Kebab ($14++), also Flying Monkey’s best-selling one, has quite a story behind it. Legend has it that a toothless king’s love for meat prompted the creation of this finely minced, melt-in-your-mouth mutton kebab. The flavour of this dish was so intense; it was almost like the blue cheese of mutton. As I am not a mutton lover to begin with, this dish did not appeal to me, but I did see some others wiping their plates clean!
Besides the tapas-style ‘small plates’, Flying Monkey also offers full-sized meals it calls “big plates”. We got to try royal dishes uncommonly found in Indian restaurants, such as Quail Musallam ($26++) and Nalli Gosht ($26++). The former features a whole bird slow-cooked atop Kashmiri Pulao (saffron rice with fresh fruits and nuts), which I found too overwhelming, probably because I am not accustomed to strong spices. However, I believe saffron lovers will appreciate the fragrance of this dish. The latter is a lamb shank, braised overnight, doused in peanut-cashew curry, and served alongside garlic naan that was as well done as the truffle naan. The meat fell off the bone really easily, and you can even indulge in the nutritious marrow after!
Last but not least, dessert. Jalebi is a crispy Indian pretzel topped with pistachio sprinkles, served warm with an aromatic syrup dip. Unfortunately, this was a disappointing end to my meal as it was too sweet and artificial-tasting for my liking.
Overall, the array of cultural dishes and flavours contributed to an exciting pan-Indian cuisine experience. It was also interesting to learn how spices can perform outside of the kitchen and at the bar instead. My advice would be to go full-on tapas mode to try as many items as your stomach will allow, and not forget the cocktails while you are at that!
Flying Monkey sports a 40-pax indoor seating capacity, as well as alfresco seatings. Vegetarians may be pleased to know that more than one-third of the menu is suitable for their consumption. Finally, it is good to note that Flying Monkey has plans to expand into a second level, providing a chill environment for patrons to enjoy leisurely board games at no extra charge when they dine in.
What’s worth ordering:
Any of the cocktails
Words & Photos by Fernie.
Address: 67 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480
Contact: 6291 0695 / email@example.com
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm (daily); weekends till late
Website | Facebook | Instagram