Opening in Manhattan’s East Village is Old Monk, specializing in Contemporary Indian Soul Food. Named for the iconic Indian dark rum brand, Old Monk’s rule-breaking menu is poised to redefine Indian fare while still honoring the rich and vibrant flavors of the country’s diverse regions.
Old Monk is the newest concept from pioneering restaurateur and culinary mogul Sushil Malhotra, in partnership with Executive Chef/Co-owner Navjot Arora. Malhotra first introduced New Yorkers to high-end, stylish Indian restaurants with Akbar and Dawat. More recently, he has made Indian food mainstream via Café Spice. With the acclaimed Chutney Masala and Sambal the duo brought award-winning cuisine to a discerning suburban audience in Westchester, NY.
The restaurant’s beverage program boasts an extensive craft beer selection and a focused wine list by Consulting Sommelier Kristie Petrullo–Campbell (ex-Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Craft), who also works with Chef Arora to develop unexpected pairings to complement his dishes’ array of colorful spices and seasonings. The restaurant is currently awaiting its beer and wine license.
To ensure Old Monk’s design is as bold as the food, Malhotra and Arora brought on Junoon designer Tarik Currimbhoy (Currimbhoy & Co.) The 50-seat restaurant feels right at home in the once-gritty, still-trendy Alphabet City, complete with vibrant photographs depicting monks in the modern world, talking on cell phones and snapping photos. Traditional colored scarves with Sanskrit script hang from the walls and the bar alcove is painted in saffron hues of a monk's robe. The front bar, decked in polished copper, is dotted with four champagne cork bar stools. Additional décor features such as dark walnut liquor barrels (a nod to the restaurant’s namesake), walnut table tops, filament bulbs hung from the stamped copper metal ceiling and antique mirrors add to the restaurant’s warmth, yet still match the contemporary neighborhood ambiance.