Byblos: Mediterranean fusion amid a recycled timber setting

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Byblos has a range of hummus dishes. (Rasmus Steijner)

An atmospheric bar opened by an eclectic mix of partners is set to become a thriving watering hole in Yangon’s Golden Valley.

Byblos Bar & Grill is located next to Real Fitness Gym on Pearl Street and serves up Mediterranean fusion fare along with pastas and pizzas.

Visitors are met near the entrance by the pizza station, where chefs toss the dough in an open kitchen and gas oven, but the dominant impression is the venue’s abundant use of reclaimed timber.

An 80-year-old door from Chinatown forms the centerpiece of the bar, while wood from an old barn acts as the tables in the non-smoking room, an area of rattan chairs flooded with natural light. There’s also a more dimly lit smoking room, bar and backroom decorated with sports memorabilia that has a polished new pool table.

The whole place is worth a thorough explore—almost every restored or reclaimed piece has a story. (Rasmus Steijner)

The whole place is worth a thorough explore—almost every restored or reclaimed piece has a story. Curious quirks like the use of old doors for picture frames and panels of classic window shutters can be easily eclipsed by a scattering of antiques, including a huge gramophone and colonial-era safes.

Jamie Humphries of Chindits Furniture is behind the design and one of the partners. Others include a pilot, former DJ and prominent Myanmar actor Lwin Moe.

This diverse bunch has conjured up a rustic, classic-looking bar and each added their signature. Retro movie posters and photos of actors line some of the walls, and a quality sound system allows for different music to be played in each room without any overlap.

Chicken thigh and potato coated in a Mauritian curry and served with pita and rice. (Rasmus Steijner)

Byblos is also probably the only bar in Yangon offering discounts to airline crew (KBZ and MAI) thanks to the pilot. The bar took its name from a Lebanese city and Hotel Byblos, a favorite hangout of actors in Saint-Tropez known for hosting the likes of Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot.

From the pizza stacks to the bottles of homemade infused chili oil, Byblos clearly values the details, and that goes for the food, too. Its fresh and healthy dishes incorporate ‘Bloody Hummus,’ a beetroot and garlicky dip topped with blue cheese (5,600 kyats), grilled halloumi and black olive tapenade (8,500 kyats) and the classic Levantine serving baba ghanoush (4,200 kyats).

Laphet Pizza. (Rasmus Steijner)

Pizzas range from 8,500-16,000 kyats and include a punchy lahpet topping with dried shrimp and cheese. A future favorite is the Zuc Zuk, which combines white sauce and blue cheese with grilled chicken, zucchini, walnut, cherry tomatoes and rocket salad.

There are a few curveballs on the menu, like the cari de poulet, a chicken thigh and potato coated in a Mauritian curry and served with pita and rice (15,000 kyats).

And to wash that all down, the drinks menu has a selection of whiskeys (3,500-12,000 kyats per glass), wines and beers that include Corona, Myanmar Premium and Kirin (3,000-5,000 kyats, draught and bottle).

Staff also plan to introduce beer-based cocktails. Currently the cocktail list covers the classics and costs 5,000 kyats a go.

Byblos has put the effort in and created a cozy, comfortable and interesting environment. With plans to introduce set menus, it could become a great lunchtime spot as well.

From March it opens from 11.30am-11.30pm and this month opens from 4.30pm-11.30pm. Go once and you’re likely to return.

Address: No. 20, Pearl Street, Golden Valley, Bahan Township, Yangon. 

Telephone: 09 798 882020

1 COMMENT

  1. Not sure what you’ve written but I like the decor and ambient. Second time here and the experience was destroyed by one of the owners who’s clearly drunk and insulting local staffs loudly in the middle of the bar. He’s demeaning and disgusting in the way he treated the staffs.

    Will never return to this bar even though I live the ambience.

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