Taste of Abu Dhabi returns for weekend of food and fun

Attend free workshops by renowned chefs or eat your way through limited-edition dishes from restaurants

Powered by automated translation

The energy is palpable at Gateway Park South in Yas Island for the first day of Taste of Abu Dhabi, which began on Friday.

Everyone from families with small children to groups of friends were at the park that has been transformed into an open-air food haven, complete with numerous restaurant pop-ups as well as makeshift cooking class studios. There is a stage at the centre, with bean bags peppered across the vicinity.

Some of Abu Dhabi's top restaurants are serving curated menus at the three-day festival, including La Carnita, BB Social Dining and Jose by Pizarro. Part of the event's allure is how these restaurants have created limited-edition dishes that are only served there, and for an affordable price.

For example, BB Social Dining is selling a Wagyu cheese katsu for Dh35, while Oak Room has a short rib bao bun, also for Dh35. Meanwhile, Otoro has created a Wagyu shabu slider (Dh35) and Penelope's is serving a beetroot salad skewer (Dh25).

Aside from the restaurant pop-ups, there are also other stalls either serving drinks or giving out food samples, such as Raw Coffee, Lipton and Al Ain Farms. Pepsi has a mixology bar where visitors can try different mocktails or even create one themselves. VIP ticket holders can stay at the Aldar Lounge with plush seating.

Another highlight of the festival are the free cooking lessons led by renowned chefs. Day one includes UK MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo who taught participants how to make a kunafa cheesecake and Emirati chef Aysha Al Obeidli, often tagged as a young culinary prodigy, on how to make kimchi pancakes.

The workshops run for 30 minutes each, and there are sessions taking place every hour from 3pm to 10pm. Other chefs who are making an appearance include Spanish chef Jose Pizarro, MasterChef presenter John Torode and Indian chef-restaurateur Ritu Dalmia.

Dalmia, who runs restaurants in India, Italy and the UAE, had a fully booked cooking challenge, teaching participants how to cook curd rice with vegetable tempura.

“These events where I get to interact with passionate home cooks are always the best,” she tells The National.

Joanne Awale, one of the participants in Dalmia's cooking challenge says: “I'm having a lot of fun while also learning new thing. I enjoy cooking with my friend, and I love how we can come here and participate in a hands-on activity,” she adds.

Awale, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for eight years, says she always looks forward to community events in the capital. “There is more and more happening in Abu Dhabi now, and I always love coming to Taste of Abu Dhabi, and we always have a lot of fun here.”

Food aside, DJs and performers are providing live entertainment, and there is also a dedicated zone for children, with bouncy castles and junior cooking workshops.

The festival runs until Sunday; tickets start at Dh85

Updated: November 10, 2023, 3:13 PM