As soon as I heard about Taste of Abu Dhabi, it was firmly engraved in my diary. Bold, highlighted and underlined!
If you haven’t been to a ‘Taste of..’ before, then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!!!? Admittedly, this was my first one ever, but I was a giddy child in the lead up to this years event. A celebration of my one year blog-birthday, the end of my 3 months sober and my first full weekend off in a while – I was certainly looking forward to a weekend of indulgences, and a Taste is perfect for just that.
Incredible signature dishes from 25 of Abu Dhabi’s hottest restaurants, top chefs in live demonstrations, interactive masterclasses, cheese & wine tastings and so much more meant that I could have easily spent all day there – every day – throughout the 3 day festival (and I pretty much did just that!).
Thursday was a half-day opening for Toast of Abu Dhabi, and so I left my office and headed straight up to Du Arena, Yas Island to meet Matt when he finished work. Heading in, we were immediately faced with the incredible smells coming from each of the restaurants’ stands. Not quite knowing where to begin, we decided to grab a drink (yay!) and do ‘a lap’ before settling on our first bites of the evening.
Many of the restaurants that I had read about but not quite had time to visit were set up, and I darted in-between like a kid in a sweet shop, reciting menu’s back to Matt and our friends as they all stared at me a bit wide-eyed. I recognised and said hello to a few people from the restaurants that I had managed to already visit, and then finally we settled one our first taster of the evening – Chicken Yakitori from Koi.
This then tumbled into all of us trying different foods from absolutely everywhere…
Chicken Yakitori from Koi
Trio Sliders (beef, chicken & chapli) and Garlic Parmesan Fries from Nolu’s Cafe
Nutella Pancakes from Holland Mini Pancakes
Butter Chicken and Banana Wontons from Teatro at Park Rotana
With all the dishes reasonably priced from AED 15-30, I could have just gone on forever and tried every little thing on the menu, but I thought I might save something for day 2!
Thursday evenings headline act was legendary reggae band The Wailers – and they certainly didn’t disappoint! Playing the incredible classics ‘Buffalo Soldier’ & ‘One Love’ just to name a couple – if you thought day one of the festival was a pointless added extra – then you were certainly proved wrong. We (begrudgingly) left once The Wailers ended their show, and looked forward even more to day two…
I was itching to get back up to Du Arena on the Friday, but I made myself get all of the housework done before heading up there for 3pm at met a friend. When I got there the the atmosphere was already buzzing and there was just a sea of happy faces heading to all of the restaurant stands, over at the bars and chilling out on the grass in front of the main stage. After having a wander around some of the stalls, we laid out the picnic blanket with our first eats of the day (and pretty much stayed there all the way through the evening until Matt arrived from work)…
Garlic Parmesan Fries from Nolu’s Cafe
Punjabi Chicken Tikka from Avasa
Forrero Rocher Ice Cream from Gelato Devino
Rigatoni with Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce & Classic pizza Margarita from Prego’s
It was a really lovely sunny afternoon spent sat on the grass having a couple of drinks and listening to the live bands on stage. I think that maybe Friday night should have had a headline act – because I think this would have brought more people in and convince them to stay until the end of the night (which we didn’t do) but apart from that it was a seriously amazing event and I already can’t wait until next year! The only reason I didn’t go back on the Saturday was because I went to Dubai for the Etisalat Fitness Festival, or else I would have been right back at Du Arena trying out some more of the wonderful eats at Taste of Abu Dhabi!
Roll on Taste of Dubai!!!