Where Chennai is home to burgeoning cafes, the most adventurous being the spanking new- Ciclo, India's first "bicycle" cafe. Occupying a chicly restored old house, it is already a landmark and isn't just a half-baked, themed cafe but is committed to promoting biking as a lifestyle. Nidhi and Ashish Thadani who recently opened L'Amandier, Chennai's first bistro, and Arun Alagappan of TI Cycles got together to launch this novel venture.
Arvind Varuna Associates conceived the audacious interiors where decorative bicycle paraphernalia is purchasable/rentable. Bicycles swing from ceilings, walls are studded with cycle seats, stationed bikes are bar stools, bicycle wheels embellish bars or turn (pun not intended) into chandeliers. We love the brilliant cycle-orgy.
The fortnightly-changing menu is a bicycle journal with edible offerings interspersed. There is a preponderance of healthy Mediterranean vegetables like zucchini, courgettes and peppers (a tad repetitive if you're vegetarian) and Italian dishes, evoking the Italian cycling-nation theme. If executive chef, Balamurugan (who has international exposure) presides, then pastas can be perfectly healthy, al dente and as good as in Italy. The thin-crust Margherita pizza is as wide as a bicycle wheel, and at an impossible Rs 300 is a culinary joy ride.
Pies, tarts and pastries effusing cream and cheese aren't the healthiest. Salt and sugar levels can be streamlined too. However, the excessively creamy "white sauce" pasta is remarkably tame whilst Mighty Mint frappucinos are sugar-flayed; their one club sandwich is extraordinarily vegetarian. The cafe's signature dessert-the buxom banoffee tart, also Nidhi Thadani's recipe, is to perfection and possibly the world's best banofee tart.
This is the hippest new address, throbbing with expats, Prada-toting glam young things and local celebrities like chess champion Vishwanath Anand and actor Arvind Swami.
No. 33/47, Gandhi Mandapam
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Phone: 044 4204 8666