Right off, we’ll admit that there’s a bit of swag in the atmosphere of a place where a glass framed chiller gorilla, hat on and in shades greats you. As with the armed forces from whom this pub draws its atrocious pun of a name, though, the cheeky lads are not the ones who should be in charge. As you turn further in to this new watering hole in the zoo that is Koramangala, the visible brick oven, the garden and wooden chairs invoke major coffee house nostalgia. Thus has the old Jimi’s on 80 Feet Road channelled its inner animal and turned into Gorilla Barfare; but the biggest fight you wage will be against the neighbourhood’s bloodthirsty mosquitos.
We scan the brief newspaper sized menu as our waiter gently nudges us to the frozen cocktails specials. Feeling a tinge of nostalgia for winter, a strawberry daiquiri calls out to us, a wink-wink accompaniment to vodka martini. With a grown-up dose of white rum, a strawberry slush arrives, refreshing and surprisingly delicious. The vodka martini, made just right, balances out evenly with some admirably crisp chili pork. Large chunks of paneer tikka make for a fluffy, flavourful bar snack, mildly spiced by simple mint chutney.
But joy is rather sparse, not because these monkeys don’t know their business, but because its base competence doesn’t prevent us from feeling some Koramangala deja vu. With nothing strikingly new on the menu, our attention is solely focused on the inviting embers of the wood oven for portents of the future. The future: a pizza party with which it’s difficult to find fault. Gorilla Barfare’s quattro formaggi features four cheeses and a proportionate amount of decadence. A “Gardenia” is less ostentatious but pleasant, crunchy with bell peppers and olives. But these low-key pleasures seem nearly off-key, given its Bandar-log vibe. For the most part, this Gorilla won’t be leaving you apesy daisy with excitement, unless you’re in the neighbourhood for the first time. The only inspiration we found here was for our driving music back home: yes, we tuned in to some classic Gorillaz.
Getting there: 467, Ground Floor, 80 Feet Road, (opposite Bus Depot), 6th Block, Koramangala. Meal for two with drinks costs approximately Rs 2000.
Accessibility: Two steps up leads to the entrance.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
This review was conducted by Anjana Appanna, city based writer and voice-over artist.
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