Total Salads’ verdict: The Cycle Bistro is a Paleo restaurant located inside a bicycle shop which serves honest, wholesome, tasty food. They offer a variety of creatively made dishes to work around the Paleo dietary requirements (ie. ‘Vegetable Spaghetti’ made from shredded vegetables and ‘Wraps’ made from coconut flour and eggs). A lot of their Breakfast and Main Course dishes come with a generous salad, so ordering one of those is the same as ordering a salad. The Cycle Bistro also serves some Bistro Salads but the two that I tried were disappointing compared to other dishes on their menu, so you are probably better off choosing one of their Breakfast or Main Course dishes which come with a big salad.
Restaurant: The Cycle Bistro
Location: The Cycle Bistro in The Cycle Hub, Dubai Autodrome Grandstand Shop B6, Motor City, Dubai
Price range: Main course dishes cost between AED32 and AED78; Fresh smoothies cost between AED22 and AED26; Coffees and Teas cost between AED12 and AED16 (see their online menu for details)
The Cycle Bistro in Motor City is probably one of the most unique places I have eaten in Dubai. Located inside a bicycle shop called The Cycle Hub, it is the first (and possibly only) Paleo restaurant in Dubai. The atmosphere feels very down-to-Earth – everyone is simply here to eat good healthy food in a relaxed environment.
The restaurant was started by The Cycle Hub’s two co-founders, Khalid Al Zarooni and Sam Sayadan. Although it seems odd to have a restaurant in a bicycle shop, The Cycle Bistro already seems to have quite a loyal following, and not just amongst Dubai’s lycra-shorts-wearing cycling population. Every time I have visited, the tables have been packed with all sorts of people.
The Cycle Bistro’s menu is designed to offer reasonably-priced healthy food for cyclists who need to fuel up their energy and anyone else who is looking to enjoy wholesome delicious food. As The Cycle Bistro says: “We are Paleo and beyond. No wheat, no sugar – just the best creative food. Whatever we make is good for you.”
I do not follow a Paleo diet but I was intrigued to learn more about it. The Paleolithic diet (also known as the Caveman diet or Hunter-Gatherer diet) centres around the idea that human genetics have hardly changed since the end of the Paleolithic era 15,000 years ago and therefore we should be eating the same sort of food that our Paleolithic ancestors ate.
Things you cannot eat on a Paleo Diet:
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (such as beans and peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
Things you can eat on a Paleo Diet:
- Grass-produced meats
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
(Apparently, Cavemen ate hot sauce because there is a bottle of Tabasco sauce on every table.)
Their chef, Christopher Zerbe, has been very creative in working around these dietary restrictions, such as offering ‘Vegetable Spaghetti’ made from shredded veggies and ‘Wraps’ made from cabbage leaves or coconut flour and eggs.
There is a good variety of dishes on their menu, but if you are looking for a salad at The Cycle Bistro I want to give you some advice. Most of their Breakfast and Main Course dishes come with a generous salad so I would recommend ordering one of those. There is a section on the menu called Bistro Salads, but the two Bistro Salads which I tried were a disappointment compared to some of the other dishes they serve.
The Bistro Salads I tried were:
– Thai Spiced Beef Salad with Raw Papaya and Sesame-Orange Vinaigrette
– Roasted Chicken Salad with Avocado, Melon and Cherry Tomato Salsa
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the Beef Salad was dry and sadly I couldn’t taste any Thai flavors or the Sesame-Orange Vinaigrette which I had been looking forward to. The Roasted Chicken Salad was slightly better in terms of flavor but somehow the shredded cold chicken just looked unappetising.
I am not sure if it was just an off-day or if that is how their Bistro Salads are, but if I went to The Cycle Bistro and ordered either of these salads, I may not be in a hurry to return. But that would be a mistake, and I wouldn’t want anyone to be misled about how good the food here is. Because there is some really good honest cooking going on at The Cycle Bistro. My advice for anyone looking for a salad at The Cycle Bistro is to order a Breakfast or Main Course dish which comes with a large salad.
One of the Main Course dishes I ordered (and which I am still dreaming of) is the ‘Beef Cottage Pie Stuffed Bell Peppers with Sweet Potato Crust and Organic Salad’. I have vowed that from now on this is the way I am going to make Cottage Pie at home.
My husband ordered ‘Avocado Eggs Benedict’ on our first visit, which he said was excellent. On our second visit, he ordered ‘Grilled Grassfed Steak and Eggs’, which he didn’t enjoy as much because the mushrooms and eggs seem to have been fried in coconut oil which he is not a fan of (however I saw plenty of people ordering it and if you like the taste of coconut oil, then I think you will be happy with it). It may be possible to ask them to use a milder tasting oil if you prefer.
The Cycle Bistro makes 6 different dairy-free smoothies. Although the Coconut and Banana Smoothie was a little too sweet for me, the Berry Banana Blast and the very green Green Goodness were heavenly and I look forward to ordering them again.
The Cycle Bistro also offers a good children’s menu (Bistro Jr) with six dishes and three smoothies to choose between. We have ordered the Kid’s Grilled Free Range Chicken twice, and both times it was juicy and tasty. They don’t serve tomato ketchup (I asked), but the chicken was so flavorful that it didn’t need anything extra. An order of Sweet Potato Fries also went down well, although the Paleo Aiolo it was served with was not so popular on our table.
The Cycle Bistro was my first experience eating Caveman-style. Although I don’t follow the Paleo diet, this is a place I know I will visit frequently because there is so much more that I want to try on their menu (aside from the Bistro Salads). The owner Al Zarooni has said that his target for The Cycle Bistro is to have a long queue outside the door. I think that day may not be too far off!
Do you follow the Paleo diet or have you ever eaten at a Paleo restaurant?
Full disclosure: I visited The Cycle Bistro privately and paid for my meal.