Restaurant Review: The Cycle Bistro

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Winter in Dubai is a haven for visitors, friends and family flock to the sunny shores of the UAE looking to discover the city, and in some cases, just go shopping. February and March saw dozens of these visitors, my mother among them, was here for a few weeks on her annual trip. The itinerary completely changes when family is in town, lazy Saturday’s at Pavilion turn into productive afternoons at the textile souq in Old Dubai and workouts evolve into marathons to devour home cooked meals after a long days work. No complaints here!

Feeling particularly adventurous this year, our excursions led us to suburban Dubai on several occasions. We shopped our way through the Dubai Outlet Mall, discovered several countries at Global Village and meandered through the whimsically manicured lawns at Dubai Miracle Gardens. But when the hunger pangs set in we were left with fast food franchises and food courts. East of Al Khail Road, The Cycle Bistro was the obvious choice for a health conscious meal, a quick search on Google Maps and a short drive led us to Dubai’s first all-Paleo cafe.

Nestled inside of The Cycle Hub, a warehouse piled high with anything and everything related to cycling, the cafe sits modestly in the corner. The simple and clean space is reflected in their approach to food, also simple and clean, which eliminates gluten, dairy and sugar from their menu. I was eyeing the Sweet Potato Dosa’s and the Avocado Eggs Benedict before we settled on lunch instead. I don’t know what prompted us to order a soup, a wrap, two main dishes and dessert for only two people but it does explain the bizarre looks we received from the neighboring table.

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EAT: We started with the chilled Gazpacho Soup, a unique interpretation of the traditional Spanish soup. The color of the soup was more pink than red and had a frothy texture with a intense spicy zing. With cucumbers to boot, this was not the Gazpacho Soup I remember, my mom liked it but I prefer the more traditional version of this soup. The Sweet Potato and Beetroot Wrap was bundled up in a wrap made of coconut flour and eggs providing a texture similar to that of a crepe with a cold clammy feel. The combination of beetroot with sweet potatoes is one I welcome, the filling was savory with a sweet contrast from the caramelized onions.

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The game changers were the Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Tikka Masala, so good that the thought of moving to Motor City actually crossed my mind. The spaghetti, made with spiraled carrots and zucchini, was served with a side of pesto giving the faux pasta a nutty essence. The vegetables had melted into the seasoned beef giving the garlicky sauce a deep and rich flavor making it probably the best Spaghetti Bolognese I’ve had in the Emirate, even among the regular pasta contenders.

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The thick tomato-based gravy of the Chicken Tikka Masala was slightly acidic sans cream but rich and hearty. The flavors were elevated when paired with the hearty Cauliflower Saffron Rice adding an earthy undertone to the dish. I have had raw cauliflower rice however the cooked imitation rice was a much more impressive rendition.

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The Paleo Chocolate Cake provided the sweet ending we needed. When it comes to dairy free/grain free desserts, I am partial to my sisters glorious Raw Vegan Chocolate Fudge but we were in for a lovely surprise. The slice of cake, which was slightly reminiscent of my sisters version, was topped with coconut whipped cream and berry compote. The tart and creamy toppings cut right through the bitter cacao making this cake worth the drive to Motor City.

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What was supposed to be a quick lunch pit stop ended up being an unexpected gastronomic and guilt-free five course meal. Dining among the ruins of athletes while enjoying dishes inspired by cavemen is a sure reminder of the importance of personal wellness. Pair The Cycle Bistro with a visit to the fantastical Dubai Miracle Gardens for a lovely suburban adventure which will leave your taste buds euphoric and your soul nourished as well, a Saturday afternoon any visitor is sure to love.

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