Indira Nagar gets a new address for ‘world cuisine’ in Cleo’s,with plenty of grilled vegetables and meats on the menu
HEF Koushik Shankar is not good with directions. By the time we realise he’s been telling us “Fourth Main Road” when he meant “Fourth Avenue Road,” my friend and navigator is ready to shoot him. Thankfully, she doesn’t have a gun and the good chef greets us with apologies and distracts us with a list of 18 dishes that he wants us to try at the just-opened Cleo’s in Indira Nagar, Adyar. The grill-cafe is aiming at steampunk aesthetic, with lamps hovering low over the tables, so at least your food is brightly lit. It may feel dark in the day time though. Our parade of 18 dishes comes from the Indo-Chinese, Indian and world cuisine ‘kitchens’. It’s a kind of “multi cuisine” (though the chef wouldn’t agree with that I suppose) experience, that is aimed at office goers and young professionals who eat out regularly. The menu says no MSG or artificial colouring is added, and the chef says the idea is to expand to other cities — Bengaluru for one — and provide late night home delivery options as well.
To that end, prices are relatively low, and the menu leans towards comfort and familiarity rather than innovation. Of the starters, the Chinese Chaat (Rs 129, crunchy, hot-and-sweet) and the deceptively mild Chicken Piquante (Rs 199, packs some heat) are worth a try, but my personal favourite is juicy crab claw lollipops that come with a Sichuan sauce (Rs 199). The Cordon Bleu Chicken Burger (Rs 299) is hugely popular among the body building crowd I’m told and it is quite tasty, though too much for me (cheese+egg+chicken stuffed with cheese+buns=I’m too old for this).
The Cleo’s Grilled Fish and Chips is another dish I find overwhelming. It’s the regular grilled breaded fish smothered, and I really mean smothered, in sour cream on a bed of mash potatoes served with French fries (Rs 349). A ‘less of everything’ version might suit everyone who is not a 23-year-old pumping iron. Of the desserts, my friend loves the Chocolate Pannacotta (Rs 99) while I favour the Falooda (Rs 169). Cleo’s is overcoming some hiccups — the bun is burnt, the fries are too salty — but the team is open to feedback and eager to please, while I’m told the food and menu is set to evolve. If you’re stopping by for lunch, Google Map the place. Details: 4332777
— Ranjitha Gunasekaran
Pics: P Ravikumar