Driving home from the beach one day we took a little detour along the strip of restaurants flourishing on the side of Sheikh Zayed Road (between Al Manara and Al Thanya) to pick up something tasty for the mini passengers in the back – and found a relatively new eatery called Bystro which, if we hadn’t been covered in sand, looked like the perfect place to stop and enjoy a family lunch. Hubby was deployed to run inside and grab a menu which sounded so delicious that we vowed to return and promptly made a lunch date with our brood for the following week.
Bystro would be very easy to miss – squeezed in between much bigger and more established names –but the food outshone anything we’ve eaten in the area for a long while. Keep an eye out for it mamas!
What’s On The Menu?
Bystro reflects the multicultural background of its owners (a husband and wife team half of which is Australian and the other Italian) offering breakfast, lunch, brunch and takeout, and features RAW Coffee and freshly-baked Italian pastries. The menu is modern European with influences from all over the globe and is fairly vast but not at all scary (in that, how can they possibly have every dish from every continent kind of way) with a Bystro take on contemporary café fare from Sticky Barbecue Ribs (obviously a favourite as they were sold out) to Truffle Mac and Cheese, Burgers and sensational sounding salads (the Salted Watermelon and Feta with Orange, Caramelised Pumpkin Seeds and Lemon and Mint dressing definitely caught my eye). I spied an awesome breakfast menu featuring the usual suspects with a touch of Bystro magic, from Full English to Half English or even a Garden English (for veggies), Huevos Rancheros, homemade Tuscan pastries and …wait for it… Banoffee French Toast with hot Nutella sauce (if that won’t get you out of bed for a morning meal out then I don’t’ know what will!)
The menu reads as though it is a collection of the Bystro family’s very favourite dishes, all chosen from the heart. Hubby ordered the Salmon & Kafir lime leaf burger with caper & dill mayo which was light and fragrant and so good that it has inspired him to recreate a similar dish at home recently while I opted for a Thom Yum Soup with chicken, shitake mushrooms, kafir lime leaves, coconut milk and glass noodles – full of fresh flavours and the perfect combination of aromatic spices. The kids polished off a lot of very moreish freshly baked bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar before ordering Little Fishy Goujons which were served in a cute paper cone with skinny fries and Sausages with Root Mash both of which were ‘yummy’ but sadly not quite finished as the temptation of a little kiddie corner at the front of the restaurant coupled with their bread fest proved too much.
We passed on pud but should have made room as the Sticky Toffee Pudding with butterscotch sauce and Chocolate Fondant with salt caramel and vanilla bean ice cream sounded divine!
The restaurant manager Simone, a delightful Italian for whom nothing could be too much bother and whose welcoming, accommodating and relaxed attitude has filtered down to every member of staff we had the pleasure of meeting. The kids were being kids and refusing to sit still for very long despite our best efforts but Simone and his team couldn’t have been nicer about it, lifting the boys to see the homemade treats displayed in the centre of the restaurant and not making us feel like terrible parents for dining out with little monkeys in tow (the more you do it the more accustomed they’ll become to it – and they better behaved they will be – or so we tell ourselves midway through every meal!) The restaurant is on street level but Simone made sure that the sensor on the automatic door was switched off so that the kids couldn’t escape and our experience included other thoughtful touches such as complimentary homemade choccies for the minis after their meal.
Also thumbs up for the décor –from the fresh orchids, quirky cutlery chandelier, wooden slatted ceiling, little kids area complete with books and colouring pencils, huge array of delicious fresh pastries, homemade chocolates and deli items on display and the general chic Aussie café vibe – to the beautiful works of art by Sarah Lee which adorn the walls and which I am seriously coveting! The words ‘elegant’ and ‘family friendly’ don’t usually mix but all definitely apply to Bystro.
Hmmm, I really can’t think of a single thing that let our experience down other than a couple of toddler tantrums but it wouldn’t really be fair to pin that on them would it?!
Yes, the café is on street level and there are no awkward steps or skinny little aisles to navigate so it’s super easy to wheel in, out and around.
Yes, wooden to match the interiors
Yes, including 6 lovely little options
Very reasonable. Breakfast starts at AED 26, all day salads at AED 38, sandwiches at AED 30 and more substantial main courses at AED 44. The kids menu choices start at AED 16 for a cheese and tomato toasty, our fishy goujons cost AED 28 and sausages were AED 18.
8am – 6pm daily (open evenings only during Ramadan)
SZR sliproad (in between Jones The Grocer and Crumbs)
Tel: (+971) (0) 4 336 8056