When the head of the well-known Chennai based TI Cycles, part of the Murugappa Group, approached Ashish Thadani, the CEO of TI Absolute Concepts, the meeting was nothing short of serendipitous. He wanted him to set up a restaurant/café along the lines of those found in Europe – where cycling and good food go hand in hand. Ashish has been a passionate cyclist for close to a decade. Thus was born Ciclo [Italian for cycle; pronounced Cheek-lo], a café serving global fusion cuisine.
The restaurant echoes the cycling theme from the outer façade itself. As you enter, a cycle placed against a wall leads to an area where some of the best known cycle brands of the world are on display; along with accessories, and the helpful staff are happy to show you around. For those who love these two wheel rides, they can be bought or hired by the hour or day. The café also provides maintenance and services for bikers, who can have a bite while their rides get fixed. Already successful in Chennai, Ciclo is all about promoting cycling. The cycle theme is everywhere – from the chains used as wall accents in the bar; to a stylised clock made with the same; wheels as part of chandeliers and the metal parts of cycles doubling up as the legs of the tables.
As for the food? A word of advice – go there when you are hungry. Seriously. The portions are quite generous and you can only do justice to what you order if you have worked up a good appetite. From the starters to the dessert, everything is enough for two people; and you don’t mind the prices that are slightly on the higher side, given the proportions.
The starters included Coconut fried Prawns with a mango jalapeno sauce; where the slightly spicy sauce balanced the neutral texture of the prawns; Lemon Butter Chilli Potato, which took the world’s most loved tuber to another level; and the Steamed Bao, stuffed with teriyaki mushrooms and kimchi, which was a great option for those who love their fungi. The scene stealer here was the Oven Dried Olive and Tomato Puff, served with Wasabi Mayo. The pungency of the wasabi pushed through the blandness of the mayo and laced the tomatoes and olives with a fiery aftertaste. It won my vote for the must-have entrée at Ciclo.
Next to come was a Quinoa, Beetroot and Orange salad, which to my mind could do with a dressing that livens it up. I skipped the Tiger Burger, made with lamb and cheddar, but the general consensus on the table was that the meat was a bit too rare for Indian tastes. Then came the Ciclo Full house pizza – laden with colourful bell peppers, olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and jalapenos – a real treasure for vegetarians. And the best part? You don’t have to order a full pizza, you can order by the slice too. Ciclo has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans, so it makes for a perfect place to go to, if you are an assorted bunch of gourmands.
Mains included a Barley and Cottage Cheese Construct, strictly for health food lovers in my opinion. Being a junk food junkie, this dish did not quite excite my palate. But the Quinoa and Ragi Crèpe with leek and mushrooms, tomato cream and smoked scarmorza that everyone at the table loved, should be a mascot for fusion cuisine. Ragi, so inherently a part of the local diet, and quinoa and crepes, both western concepts, synergised perfectly in a medley of flavours and taste. If you love to experiment with your food, this is your go to dish.
The non-vegetarian mains included a Black Pepper and Chilli rubbed Grilled Chicken, with potato wedges and carrots; Grilled Kasundi Rawas – a delicious concoction of the Indian salmon, marinated in a mustard based marinade from West Bengal, and served with a parsley mash and zucchini puree; and Prawn stuffed Chicken, with a spinach mash and lemon butter sauce. The Grilled Chicken and the Kasundi Rawas overshadowed the prawn-chicken dish, which lost out due to its overall bland taste.
Just when I thought I could not eat a morsel more, came the desserts. Baked Philadelphia Cheesecake, Crème Brulee and the divine Bailey’s Ice Cream Pancake. Ice cream infused with the liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and stuffed inside a pancake topped with a dribble of chocolate sauce – it has to be among the top ten desserts I have ever had. Though the cheesecake was tasty too, it paled in comparison to the pancake.
Ashish hopes that the café succeeds in promoting the cycling culture in Hyderabad; which is actually, quite active already. But, at the end of the ride, if you have a tempting breakfast or a delicious meal to look forward to at Ciclo, then it would be double the fun.
Ciclo Café, 801, Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Phone: 040 2355 5511; 079959 91111 Open from 8 am to midnight.