ALOE at The Belstead, Chennai serves up A Little of Everything, from prawn poppers to Bangkok-style satays
With a name like ALOE, it sounds like a spa and looks like one too. But the new restaurant (formerly Vintage Kitchen) at The Belstead hotel is in fact a 24-hour-pick-anything-you-want-and-you-will-probably-find-it-on-the-menu, sort of spot.
From prawn poppers to pasta, galouti kebabs to pizza and of course their signature chef special, Seeraga Samba Biryani — this place really does offer up a A Little of Everything (hence the acronym ALOE). And that biryani, cooked with a traditional homemade stone-ground masala with succulent pieces of mutton — has us returning for a third helping — later we learn that the chef hails from Dindigul.
Co-run by brothers Rajpradheep (31) and Sandeepkumar (28) whose family owns The Belstead, Raj tells us the focus of menu is simple: “Comfort food at a competitive price point.” Which is why, it’s no surprise that catering to the South Indian palate, thayir sadam is on the menu as well, paired with a staple uralai (potato) fry. We, however, are served a varied mix of appetisers — a North Indian-style Cheddar Malai Broccoli (with a rich marinade of cashew and cream), an Oriental Chilli Chicken (a definite recommend) and an Awadhi-inspired Mutton Seekh kebab (okey-dokey). All quite yummy, and served in sizeable portions.
Spread over an spacious 1,500 sq ft, this 50-seater was originally designed keeping in mind hotel guests who want to grab a bite. But given its prime location on Nungambakkam High Road — we expect that a lot of folks are going to be dropping by ravenous, after a night of heavy partying (incidentally, Lord of the Drinks is in the same building) as well as for the option of a Continental breakfast with eggs and baked beans, a fresh option, amidst neighbours, Sangeetha and Crescent. “We got a lot of complaints about not enough breakfast options with the same old idli-sambar, and so that is a section we have consciously reworked,” Raj shares with us.
If you find yourself craving a tasty snack or after-party dinner post midnight, ALOE’s menu is fairly elaborate with 25 different options — including burgers, sandwiches, appetisers that range from onion pakodas to nachos and mains like Bisibele bath and a Ghee roast. Personally, we have our eye on the midnight combos and can’t wait to try the Kal Dosai and Fish Curry (INR 200).
Penne for your thoughts?
We wash our appetisers down with a Raspberry Grape Mojito, and move on to mains. We’re excited for their Bangkok Chicken Satay but it turns out to be more South Indian than Thai. However, this is quickly redeemed by a bowl of penne with a tangy homemade tomato sauce that is quite lovely. The Chicken Tornado burger, which is a menu favourite, is lined up for a juicy finish (think brown onion jam, gratinated with Scarmoza cheese), but we tell Raj we’ll come back for this one, with ample appetites, so we can do it justice.
Lunch and dinner combos starting from INR 299. A la carte INR 650 approx for two. Breakfast is available from 6 am to 10.30 am, buffet at INR 299 nett.