“A unique food truck destination with a wide selection of street food.” Meraas
The E11 between Abu Dhabi and Dubai can be a treacherous road, you definitely need your wits about you as all manner of driving styles keep you on your toes. If you are feeling weary and in need of a break or perhaps a little ‘hangry’ but don’t fancy one of the usual service stations the good news is Last Exit Dubai has opened near interchange 11 at Jebel Ali Hills, forever changing the face of roadside dining in the UAE.
Food trucks and the street food scene is so popular right now so what better way to entice people to pull off the highway then a cluster of colourful trucks offering delicious cuisines and beverages. Well signposted with flags and vehicles piled high on top of one another you can be forgiven for thinking you are in 1950’s America not the UAE. Last Exit Dubai directs customers to the various trucks via coloured lanes, in true American drivethrough style you order via an intercom system from the comfort of your air conditioned vehicle and then drive forward to the truck to collect your food, drinks and pay.
The first of its kind in this region the food truck park is open 24/7 making breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking on the go much more exciting. The new dining and entertainment project that opened in July combines shiny vintage airstreams with vans and trucks and some really cool American classic cars.
The various trucks are trendy, many are covered in funky eye catching designs and most importantly they offer fresh and delicious street food. The retro truckstop vibe has been enhanced with the use of authentic road signs, vintage petrol pump props as well as tools, car rims and bumpers, the imagination and attention to detail is creative and must be congratulated.
The food and beverage outlets currently open include Big Smoke Burger, Burger Pit, II Caffe Di Roma, Starbucks, Poco Loco, The Brass, Clinton Street Baking Co, The Hot Dog Stand, Baja Fresh, Urban Seafood and a vegetarian favourite Operation Falafel. The teenager and I stopped off earlier this week enroute to our mother and daughter staycation in Dubai. She is a sucker for Mexican food so we headed for Poco Loco with its Latin American inspired cuisine.
Complete with sombreros and cactus decoration the truck offers tiraditos, chilli, quesadillas and tacos, she choose her favourite the beef burrito. She was impressed with the strips of quality steak and the spicy flavour albeit coming across a hot chilli or two, the service was quick and the food was of a high standard. Those with a sweet tooth can order churros or the more healthy chia seed and yogurt pudding. Tex Mex is available from Baja Fresh, chicken bites, onion rings, burritos and burgers are all on the menu and a naughty oreo milkshake too.
Our next stop was Starbucks for a couple of lattes. The silver airstream with its coffee coloured paint job offers fresh coffee from its team of baristas as well as a range of its sandwiches and baked goods. Homegrown brand The Brass – Coffee & Community serves Western and Eastern speciality coffees and other beverages as well as sandwiches, flatbreads and bakery items.
II Caffe Di Roma serves the popular Lavazza coffee so ideal if you are looking for an authentic espresso and an Italian inspired bite to eat. New York’s Clinton Street Bakery serves a selection of the brand’s greatest hits including organic milkshakes, short rib sliders, fried chicken and waffles, various sandwiches and a kale and quinoa salad for the more health conscious among us.
If you are a burger or hot dog fan you are in luck with lots of options across the various trucks. The unmissable black and yellow painted Hot Dog Stand sells gourmet beef and chicken hot dogs with various toppings and sides of coleslaw, lemonade and fries. Big Smoke Burger offers their hand-crafted Angus Canadian beef burgers, house-made sauces, hand-cut french fries, traditional Canadian Poutine (fries topped with cheese curd and gravy), milkshakes and a selection of cane-sugar sodas. A retro 1950’s blue painted airstream is the home to Burger Pit serving drivethrough classic beef burgers, crispy fried buttermilk chicken, hot dogs with caramelised onions and American mustard and all-American style milkshakes.
Arabic favourite Operation Falafel offers a modern take on traditional regional dishes. Vegetarians can order their signature falafel with hummus, fattoush and manaeesh and meat eaters can choose from chicken and beef shawarmas. Seafood lovers have not been forgotten either with seafood buckets and platters of fresh lobsters, mussels, shrimps, calamari with homemade sauces offered by Urban Seafood.
As well as the food trucks Last Exit Dubai offers convenience, entertainment and leisure facilities for children and adults alike. Families will like the Children’s Play area where stir crazy kids can unleash some energy in the playground, there are also prayer rooms and bathrooms with baby-changing facilities, mobile phone charging boxes, a mini convenience store, fresh fruit and vegetables are on sale from a local farmer and ATMs, there is also plenty of parking available.
It may have have reminded me of my boys primary colour Playmobil garage set-ups from when they were young complete with brightly coloured tracks, flags and cars but overall I was impressed with the fun concept and the selection and quality of the cuisines served. There are a few hiccups like the one-way system that doesn’t allow you to double back to another truck without going the wrong way round so if you want to visit multiple outlets it’s probably best to park and walk but then you will miss out on the whole American drivethrough experience.
Last Exit Dubai
Location: Interchange 11, Jebel Ali Hills on the E11 highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
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Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Last two photos used courtesy of www.lastexit.ae
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