Oh What A Night – Taste of Abu Dhabi 2014

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” James Beard

Like buses, you wait for good events in the capital and then they all come along at once! Last weekend was chock-a-block with capital dwellers spoilt for choice on how to best use their leisure time. There was Abu Dhabi Art at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Taste of Abu Dhabi over at Yas Island, Diabetes Charity Walkathon at Yas Marina Circuit and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Du Forum and do you know what, I was pretty exhausted after attending them all!

IMG_7631 IMG_7642Taste of Abu Dhabi, the large al fresco food, drink and music festival made its debut in our emirate for three days over at Du Arena on Yas Island and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it on both days that I went along. DSC00500DSC00528

On opening night, my friend and I enjoyed a good boogie and sing-a-long to some of the cast members from Broadway’s Jersey Boys who performed hit after hit with their fantastic band in tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as well as other artists from that era, in three separate sets played throughout the evening. They were absolutely fantastic, great music, great voices and dance routines all together very entertaining and we both throughly the show as did it seemed, the rest of the appreciative audience. 2014_tastetoad_42_gallery

Jersey Boys close-up (source:www.timeoutabudhabi.com)

DSC00530 We sampled a few beverages and devoured some delicious food and even did a spot of skiing (it snowed in Abu Dhabi, ok fake snow at the Evian stand but still). I had a vegetarian tortilla from Burlesque to start and my friend had a chicken kebab and fish and we tried some calorie laden desserts (good job they were small) and we also consumed far too many potato rolls from the Superfresh taste tester stall, until the girl recognised me!DSC00488IMG_9515IMG_0293 IMG_7649

Spot of skiing in the desert at the Evian stand

In a surreal moment, two lovely readers (pictured below) approached me having recognised me from the blog and shared how much they loved reading my words! Such a great moment and I was completely overwhelmed by their interest and the fact they have visited restaurants based on some of my recommendations, great motivation to carry on! Ladies, if you are reading this post, thanks very much for your kind words 😉DSC00499The event brought together a selection of Abu Dhabi’s top restaurants who offered small-scale portions of their signature dishes, celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, live music and street performers, retail stalls with a range of gourmet food and homeware products, an open-air Vox Cinema and a dedicated children’s area. The event was all hoping to emulate the success of the annual Dubai event which has been running for several years at Media City Amphitheatre and those around the world and from what I saw it was a great success.IMG_0292IMG_0266DSC00486Celebrity chefs shared their top culinary tips and cooked up some of their best dishes for the crowds over the weekend at the live demos and there were cooking classes at the Kenwood Cooking School. Every possible cuisine was available to taste at the festival from French to Indian, American to Asian inspired, Mussels from Belgian, Japanese and Italian, sweet treats of cupcakes, doughnuts, ice creams, cookies and so much more which basically equated to so much food and so little time. Each restaurant offered diners a choice of their most popular starter, main course and dessert.  IMG_0273IMG_0274

As part of our VIP package we had six vouchers, three each for food and drink (and entrance to the SPG VIP lounge and bar), but you could also purchase the sample-sized offerings for a very reasonable 15-30 dirhams each from each restaurant. On the second day, the teenager (bribed with the promise of Nutella laden treats) and I visited during the day and the beautiful sunny weather definitely brought out the crowds and there was a great festival atmosphere.  

IMG_0265IMG_0257The promised Nutella laden treat

IMG_0289The teenager started with her favourite Butter Chicken and I had a very flavourful and visually pleasing Potato and Pea samosa both from Angar Indian Restaurant (Yas Viceroy Hotel) followed by some perfect little sliders for the meat eaters in our group from Caramel Lounge. We whiled away some time with friends in the pop-up McGettigans pub and enjoyed the perfect weather, live music and the all round positive vibe of the very well received inaugural event. I am looking forward to next years Taste of Abu Dhabi already.       IMG_0275

The Indian delights from Angar RestaurantIMG_0277

Butter ChickenIMG_0276

Artistically stacked Potato and Pea Samosa with pomegranate and yogurt dressing

Here’s a selection of my photos from the two days I visited the festival so you can get a feel and a little taste of your own (tee hee) of Taste of Abu Dhabi.DSC00531DSC00482IMG_9506IMG_9505IMG_9504DSC00483

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Opening night (source:www.timeoutabudhabi.com)

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IMG_0278PicFrame-2IMG_0280IMG_0284DSC00487IMG_0281IMG_0301IMG_0300IMG_0297IMG_0260IMG_0267Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.