The Royal Munkey
 
 

Brit-influenced Indian fare gets the royal treatment in Kip’s Bay

By Molly Aronica

Indian cuisine and craft cocktails are a rare pairing, but at this new spot in Kip’s Bay the combination works like magic. Both the food and drinks here are inspired by the age of colonialism in India—the era of the British Raj—which translates to offerings like beef meatballs with spiced tomato sauce and a masala-spiced old fashioned cocktail. Decked out in gold and royal blue tones, the upscale pub-like space has a lively vibe—there are tables if you’re seeking an intimate meal, but it’s more likely you’ve come to linger around the expansive bar.

Cocktails are the drink of choice here, particularly the paanch, which is a weekly rotating concoction of fruit juice, liquor, bitters, and spices. And since few of us can live on drink alone, the chile cheese toast will make the perfect accompaniment for whatever signature cocktails strikes your fancy. Similar to Welsh rarebit, it’s a traditional British cheese toast, but with numbing slices of green chiles and hits of fresh cilantro nestled beneath the blanket of broiled white Cheddar. Another stellar starter is the pani puri, its crispy shell filled with a spiced potato and chickpea mixture and chilled tamarind-mint water. This classic street food is meant to be eaten in one bite—think of it as the Indian equivalent of a soup dumpling. For something a bit heartier, the tiger prawns are the way to go; served head-on, they’re marinated in yogurt and black mustard seeds before charred to perfection in the tandoor oven.

The entrees at The Royal Munkey are composed dishes rather than a la carte, each one coming with saffron rice, raita, and daal on the plate. All-beef Lucknow meatballs are braised in an aromatic tomato sauce that’s infused with warm spices like cinnamon, coriander, curry leaves, and fresh ginger, and served with hard boiled eggs. For something a bit more classic, go with either the Punjabi tandoori chicken or Bombay lamb chop, satisfying plates served with string beans, spiced aloo, and mint. The five-spice marinade adds a fragrant and peppery punch, and the apple butter chutney is an ideal tart and sweet counterpoint to the chicken. The shami kebabs are another standout: fine-minced lamb patties with a house-spice seasoning that includes turmeric, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and coriander seed.

Whether you’ve come looking for a fresh take on Indian cuisine or for creative cocktails with a spicy spin, The Royal Munkey is sure to become your favorite new joint in Kips Bay.

hours

Mon–Fri 11 AM–2 AM; Sat–Sun 4:30 PM–2 AM

price range

$14 (garden-fresh vegetable korma) to $27 (Bombay lamb chops)
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