Address: 115, 4th Avenue, Indra Nagar, Adyar, Chennai
Cuisine: North Indian, Chinese, Continental
Overall Rating: 4/5
My Choice to Taste: Grilled Bell Pepper Soup, Cleo’s Grilled Paneer, Dal Makhni, Zafrani Rice, Chocolate Mousse
Zomato Handle: Divya Srinivasan
Even at my wildest food hunts I haven’t known or heard of this place until I got invited for ‘on-the-house’ lunch tasting at Cleo’s. I definitely wouldn’t miss such opportunities as it gives me the luxury to explore more (about) food. I tagged along a ride with few foodies but locating the place was never this easy. Kudos to Google Maps was spotting the 4th avenue accurately and in a vision’s reach from the start of Fourth Avenue is where the resto is located. A map for the place is yet to be added in Zomato. Parking is well-sorted with ample space to place your multi-wheelers.
The dim lighting with brass-coloured lamp shades hanged using a pulley above the table instantly grabbed my attention. As they added cosy and contemporary look as well as elevated the complete ambiance of the place. The placements of the tables were well-thought out and I could sense the care for detailing, which I loved the most. Being an invitee, I couldn’t comment much about price and service. But the meal’s highlight would be Chef Koushik’s presence, interaction and briefings about each dish we stuffed in our mouth. So it’s about food now before other things. With vast variety of food taking a ramp at the table, here’s my take on each thing I happened to taste:
Drink – Crazy Frog, Pomogingy Fizz & Bovonto Ice Cream drink: With three unique drinks piling our way, I would pick Crazy Frog which is a blend of Blue Curacao and Mango; felt refreshing and the salt elevated the taste. You would end up loving the latter two if you are a fan of Bovonto. Pomogingy Fizz with a mild spicy ginger flavour blended together with Pomegranate and Bovonto. The Bovonto Ice Cream drink was a hit among the foodie lot, though I didn’t enjoy it much.
Grilled Bell Pepper Soup: YUM! Much more explanation isn’t required. As the flavour and taste of grilled bell pepper along with the creamy-cheesy soup tasted delicious. The portion size could have been bigger :-D.
Crunchy Noodle Salad: Though the components were different from Indian version, it tasted like an Indian Chat (Bhel Puri or Kurkure Chat). I am never a salad fan but this dish is good with the crispy texture that comes along.
Small Array of Veg-Starters
Cleo’s Grilled Paneer: The slightly charred paneer, capsicums & onions is a brilliant starter for a paneer lover. The Chilli Mayo sauce and salad complimented well for the paneer with some grated cheese topped on the paneer. The marination was on the spicier side but the subtle mayo flavour gave a great balance to the dish.
|Grilled Paneer, Paneer Kebab & Stuffed Mushroom (Clockwise from Top Left)|
Fiery Paneer Kebab: The spices used created the difference here from the grilled paneer. Whereas the grilled paneer ended up spicier than the fiery ones. The kebabs gave a burnt taste and paneer wasn’t as soft as the grilled ones. The Mint Mayo was great both in taste and texture.
Cheese Stuffed Mushroom: Not a mushroom fan so I wasn’t going to like the dish at the first place. With a small bite I grabbed for taste, the cheese stuffing and crispy batter outside the button mushrooms were good. It was a simple stuffing that would taste right if you love mushroom.
The Never-ending Non-Veg Starters:
The chicken dishes - Wild Chicken Wings, Chicken Picante, Cuban Grilled Chicken: With teeny-tiny bite at the chicken. I loved the flavours used in the Wings and Picante. With picante enhancing all the taste buds, the mayo elevated the taste of the dishes. Coming to the seafood, the Spicy Curried Fish did taste good, it was somewhat like fish manchurian. I wasn’t a fan of Pathrani Basa, I didn't like it and will never try/recommend the dish to anyone.
Rest of the Non-veg mela included Harissa Grilled Prawn, Mutton Falafel, Lamb Yakitori and Panko Beef (which I didn’t taste).
Most of the non-veg starters were a hit except the Basa dish as I found them resting on the plate all alone.
|Wild Wings, Mutton, Cuban Chicken, Curried Fish, Picante & Basa (Vertical from Top Left)|
Indian Breads - Assorted Basket: The bread’s definitely didn’t go wrong, all that was placed on the plate was soft in texture and complimented best for the sides. I would pick the Naan’s over the roti.
Zafrani Rice: The flavour of ghee and toasted cashews on the rice makes them a perfect match for any subji.
Paneer Tikka Masala & Dal Makhni: My pick is easy and it’s ‘Dal Makhni’. I LOVED IT and the makhni made using black urad dal gave the completeness to my meal. And Dal Makhni with Zafrani Rice was a match that is never meant to be separated. A highly-recommended combination by me.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the tikka masala, it was good but there was too much sourness for my palate.
Murgh Tikka Masala & Lal Mass: Though I just tasted only the sauces, they would be a good partner for rice/roti. Saltiness being the only issue here while tasting with roti. The non-veg fantasizers craved about the cook on the mutton being great.
The Desserts Shower
Chocolate Mousse in a Glass was my favourite one. With right balance in the flavour and texture, they made me crave more after each spoonful I gobbled. Bang-on it was!! Mango Cheesecake in a Glass had the right blend of mango and mascarpone cheese flavours. Whereas the crunchiness of the biscuity base was a miss. On perfecting the biscuit base will bring back the magic.
Nutella Banana Pancakes with Vanilla Ice Cream is a dish that looked sensual and a delicious combination. The taste couldn’t go wrong when all these ingredients are put-together. But the pancake texture I ate felt tough & soggy.
Gaajar Halwa with Ice Cream is an inseparable match and I am good at making the halwa as well. I find them more palatable when the halwa is hot and the carrot texture is crunchy. Though what they served was good, it just wasn’t my cuppa tea.
Breaking Down Points
Location & Parking (4/5): Positive. It was a calm landing at the entrance of the resto. Googling would make the job easier. Plentiful space for parking the wheelers. A boon indeed.
Ambience (4/5): Positive. I would applaud the detailing in the colours shades, seating and decors. They have researched well to create the optimum mood for the food.
Food Variety (4/5): Good. Ample choices that increases the chaos in settling down with the dishes. With the food I tasted, I hoped for more Veg starters (little disappointed on that). Nevertheless, variety felt sumptuous.
Taste (3.5/5): Good. The use of spices and different flavours at right blend made the ‘senses of taste’ happy. The taste ranged from ‘OK-to-GOOD-to-EXCEPTIONAL’.
Quality (4/5): Positive. The quality both in taste and presentation of the dish was tremendous.
Quantity (4/5): Positive. The portion size was decent and splendid in comparison with the pricing and taste.
Pricing & Service (3.5/5): Average. Though on the pricey side (with the pricing info shared for the dishes), it was justifiable for the tag ‘fine-dining’. The dishes were prepared and brought to request, which I applaud. But the interest to consume any further started fading as lot more time was consumed for serving the dishes. And being a vegetarian, my senses were resting a lot more than I expected. Besides that, the staffs did a good job.
An impeccable food episode in consideration to the ambience, quality and taste. But they should swirl their way a little higher in service. The tiny fiascos could be excused considering the dining experience. Can quote them as ‘Value for Money’ giving thought to the happiness felt in the complete grilling experience. Non-vegetarians would enjoy the ride more.
Grilling their Way to Belly - Cleo's Grill & Cafe Reviewed by Divya Srinivasan on 01:20 Rating: