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A taste of Lebanon in Elephant & Castle

We catch up with Yasser, owner of Bayroot, after the popular Lebanese restaurant opened its second location in Elephant Park.

Food and drink
  • 16 February 2022

After the huge success of Bayroot’s Camberwell Road eatery, the Lebanese favourite opened its second outlet in Elephant and Castle, in July 2021.

As the name suggests, customers can tuck into the street-style food enjoyed in Beirut, such as barbecued meat and hot and cold mezze, which have become so popular with Bayroot’s loyal customers. 

And, with a new location came exciting additions to the menu – in the form of healthy superfood salads as well as plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians in the local community.

We caught up with Yasser Elmoussa to get an update of how things are going so far!

 

Tell us about Bayroot and how it started.

Bayroot started in 2014 but officially opened on 20th June 2015. It was back then a friend got me interested in the hospitality business and we started as a small takeaway restaurant, creating something different to the local takeaway shops here, and we have continued to grow. 

My head chefs and I pride ourselves on providing fresh, delicious, Lebanese home cooking. All our food is freshly prepared and cooked by us on our premises – we don’t buy anything pre-prepared. It’s Middle Eastern comfort food at its best. We offer quick and tasty lunches for customers in a hurry, or a more relaxing setting for those who are visiting, to sit and share a selection of meze, followed by classic Lebanese main courses.

We also provide an established catering service to businesses in Elephant & Castle and beyond. We have done catering for large well-known organisations, as well as local businesses in the area. The catering, takeaway and delivery side has always been great for us – we have been lucky that our name has been spread by word of mouth and we’ve become a favourite Lebanese restaurant in Elephant and Castle!

 

Tell us more about the food!

We have a simple menu compared to other Lebanese restaurants that may have several pages of dishes to choose from. This helps us to concentrate on what we do best! We have a selection of vegan and vegetarian options as well as meat and seafood. Everything is always made to order and we use organic, Fair-Trade ingredients wherever we can to offer our customers fresh, healthy food.

All the filled savoury pastries like the lamb, spinach and cheese parcels are made in-house by our designated pastry chef based in Camberwell. We server beer and wine from Lebanon, and many of our herbs and other ingredients come from Lebanon too. All of our juices are freshly pressed and squeezed to order!

Everything is well priced as you can get a lunch special with meat, sauce and side for £7.95 which is very filling compared to other options you get around for a similar price.

 

What is the most popular dish on the menu? 

Chicken Shawarma and Taouk are the most popular dishes, but we also find that many of our customers order the sea bream!

 

How do your sustainability goals tie in with Elephant Park?

We source a lot of our products from the local markets and encourage our suppliers to do the same. We can be very particular, to ensure top quality and freshness of our food!

As everything is made fresh to order, we have very little waste, and we want to keep operating this way as it not only provides fresher quality food to our customers – it’s also better for the environment, with less food waste!

 

Give us 3 reasons why we should visit you at Bayroot?

First, we are passionate about everything we do – everything has the Bayroot quality touch! As mentioned, everything is super fresh, and the taste of our food is amazing – we continue to ask for feedback from our customers and clients and it’s always very good!

 

Why did you choose Elephant Park?

I am originally a travel operator and worked on the Old Kent Road for nearly 20 years, so I know the area very well. Opening a second location in Elephant Park, which is a very up and coming destination, has allowed us to expand closer into the city and spread awareness to new clients, customers, and community. 

We are also very excited about the new local college developments as we believe the lunch scene is only to get bigger with a great influx of students, and it’s something we want to build and concentrate on!

 

Do you employ local people?

Most of our employees are local to the area. Our head chefs are Lebanese but the background of many of our staff varies from Asia, Egypt, Syria, Australia to England which reflects the different cultures and communities of the area and why we wanted to be here.

 

How would you describe Elephant & Castle?

Elephant & Castle is an area that has improved over the past 5 years. The Elephant Park development has given plenty of opportunities to expand business as before there was only the shopping centre – but now there is a lot more to do and explore in the area.

With the redevelopment, we believe it’s important to keep this an area where many local and independent retailers can flourish. We love to see business owners who have a strong passion for what they do and love their business like we do at Bayroot.

 

How would you sum up Elephant & Castle in three words?

We would sum it up in a few phrases which would include, ‘bright future,’ full of ‘successful independent local businesses,’ whilst building a ‘green Elephant & Castle.’ 

Lendlease have done a great job with the park, green spaces and trees and you can see their great intentions in making this a friendly green environment. We want to reflect this in our restaurant and have many trees and plants outside where the diners can immerse themselves in nature.

 

What do you think about the local community?

We love the Elephant & Castle and Elephant Park community, and we get on with all our neighbours here!

 

How was your first summer at Elephant Park?

We had a very good summer when we opened without much marketing, and we are hopeful that this summer will be a success with restrictions easing. We look forward to seeing what the next part of the year in Elephant Park holds!

You can find Bayroot open every day from 12pm – 11pm at 15A Sayer Street and you can check out their menu on their website.

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