Patrick Coulter and
Apple Martini (NT$180), made
gin, apple liqueur and
real apple and
Bystro Restaurant Grill does the basics the right way
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
27, Lane 50, JingCheng Rd, Xitun District(04) 2327-1563
Hours: 4-11 pm, Sat/Sun 11:30 am-11 pm (closed Tuesdays)
Credit cards not accepted.
No service charge.
Situated on a quiet lane in Taichung's Little Europe area, Bystro is a low-key gem that often draws those seeking a cozy, romantic dinner escape, an evening spot to meet friends for drinks and food, or a welcoming place for a meal alone. Open about two years now, the 30-seat restaurant invites you in with a charming ambiance that includes wooden floors, lots of hanging plants, an appealing inner bar area with deep-red walls and other nice touches.
This is a husband-and-wife effort by Nova Scotia, Canada native Patrick Coulter and Taiwanese wife Anita Chiu, who both have plenty of experience. Patrick started working in restaurants at the age of 14 and opened his first Taichung eatery 11 years ago, with Bystro representing a fine distillation of his skills. "I just take food everyone knows and prepare it right," he notes, adding that his international mix of regulars are discerning in this regard.
Stand-outs on his varied Western menu include the big Greek Salad (NT$220), filled with cherry tomatoes, green olives, red onions, feta cheese and romaine lettuce, slathered with balsamic vinaigrette. On the other side of the food spectrum is the popular Bleu Demon Burger (NT$300). Patrick's use of 180 grams of ground sirloin beef--versus the usual hamburger patty--makes this taste almost like a steak, topped with its namesake bleu cheese, a hot sauce, smoked bacon, cheese, tomato and lettuce, all encased in a homemade bun.
A nod to the Brits, Fish & Chips is also a hit. The chef has created a lighter, crispier version that highlights the flavors of the John Dory fish and tempura-style beer batter, and serves it with a tartar sauce, cole slaw and chips (fries). Fairly new to the menu is Chicken Marsala (NT$450 set)--tender chicken breast braised in a Sicilian Marsala wine-based sauce with mushrooms, served with mashed potatoes--as well as an eight-ounce U.S. Ribeye Steak (NT$880 set) and Surf & Turf (NT$980 set). The menu is rounded out with various starters, nine pasta dishes (NT$220-270) and four 10-inch pizzas (NT$260-270), while the bar has a wide cocktail selection and beers, again underlining the fact that Bystro has something for everyone.
Life: Bleu Demon Burger (NT$300)
Right: Chicken Marsala (NT$450 set meal)
Left: Fish & Chips (NT$260)
Right: Greek Salad (NT$220)