Taking over the space of Naughty Nuri whose parent company has run into money problems, Monkey Warung at Capitol Piazza retains the decor and staff to maintain a smooth transition. Although the restaurant is named after the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Monkey Warung does not want to be known as a Balinese restaurant. It is transforming into a $5 bar with good ribs.
For $5, you can have a glass of beer on tap (which includes American craft beers) or a glass of wine or a glass of martini or a glass of prosecco or a bottled beer or a house pour.
The ribs ($20 half/$36 full) here are quite good. Although it is slightly dry, it is similar to Naughty Nuri. It is tender and glazed with kecap manis. Having eating at the JB outlet lately, somehow we prefer the Naughty Nuri version.
I’ve eaten a variation of the grilled squid ($17) at the former Naughty Nuri. The texture is nicely chewy although for seasoning, I prefer the former Naughty Nuri’s.
I don’t quite like handmade Satay Lilit because the seasoning overpowers the meat.
One of the better dishes here is the ayam penyat set meal ($9) which comes with choice of Indo Mie goreng or nasi goreng or fries. The chicken skin is crispy while the meat remains tender and moist. Accompanying the chicken, the sambal teras deserves a mention. It’s homemade and doesn’t pack as much heat as usual, but it’s aromatic and full of flavours.
The Indo boxing drumlet (8 pc, $16), or rather chicken lollipop, is nicely deep-fried and comes with a kecap manis dip similar to that of the ribs.
The indo mie goreng ($7) uses instant noodles and comes with that sambal teras. Comfort food.
Overall, the food is hearty and not bad, but, I feel, it is not as good as the defunct Naughty Nuri.
Furthermore, there is a lack of direction. It doesn’t want to be known as an Indonesian restaurant because it serves pork and alcohol. It also doesn’t want to be known as a Balinese bar despite the Balinese name because the food here isn’t strictly Balinese (it is Indonesian) and because they may want to change the food in the future.
I thought this is a wasted opportunity because we don’t really find authentic Balinese food in Singapore and because Bali has its own range of cuisine such as babi guling, bebek tootoo and fried fighting cock, separated from Indonesia, that Monkey Warung can fill in this gap.
What is very clear is that they want Monkey Warung to be a watering hole. The food here seem secondary and complementary to the drinks; the food here make you want to have a beer or 10. Furthermore, the alcohol here is super affordable. Come to think of it, the food is reasonably priced too: a set menu for 2 goes for $60, and a set menu for 4 goes for $100.
15 Stamford Road, # 01-84 Capitol Piazza Singapore 178906
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–Five Marbles, Hotel Rendezvous, Dhoby Ghaut: Crafting Food to Go With Craft Beers
–Indochili, Zion Road
–1925 Microbrewery, Little India: When You Cross a Hipster with Craft Beers
–Ayam Penyet Ria, Lucky Plaza
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.