UAE National Day in Dubai
Time Out has a handy guide on things to do for UAE National Day in Dubai (the whole weekend), including concerts, parties, deals and parades
Whether it's joining the parade or partying with Tiesto, there's loads to do this UAE National Day.
Big Smoke Burger
Already a favourite in Dubai’s BoxPark, this truck offers hand-made burgers with a number of interesting, but not-too-wacky toppings. Ordering is a joy, the voice coming at us through the intercom is friendly, clear and doesn’t mess about. We order the actual Big Smoke Burger (if the joint is named after it, it must be good, right?). It takes ten minutes to prepare, so we sit inside and wait. Whatever they do in that truck for ten minutes, it works. The bun is soft, the meat is juicy and the smoked cheddar and horseradish mayo work well with the sweet caramelised onions and tomato. You have a choice of burger spots at Last Exit, but you can’t go wrong with this one.
Dhs39 (burger only). www.bigsmokeburger.com.
There is certainly no shortage of options at Baja Fresh, from the boneless chicken bites to onion rings, mammoth Mexican burritos to bulging burgers. There’s even an Oreo shake. It’s certainly closer to fast food than anything else at Last Exit, but is priced on a par with the higher-end offerings. For taste, the Dhs37 Taco Combo was fine, but nothing more; it certainly didn’t feel like the souped-up grub Last Exit really deserves. A dishonourable mention, too, to the ladles of liquid processed cheese pre-prepared and sitting uncomfortably close to the collection point.
Dhs37 (Taco Combo), Dhs25 (boneless chicken – six pieces). www.bajafresh.com.
The simple menu features beef and chicken burgers, fries and canned or bottled drinks. The patties are grilled when ordered, while already-cooked fries are kept warm as you wait (and suffer a little taste-wise as a result). Our cheeseburger, fries and can of coke takes an inordinate amount of time to arrive – it’s the last of all truck food to be collected. The burger is very good, though. A thick-cut juicy beef patty in a brioche bun is garnished with curly lettuce, raw onions, sliced gherkin and ketchup. But it doesn’t suffer from sloppiness and it goes down a real treat. When the team get into their stride, this truck will be quite a popular one.
Dhs48 (Combo cheeseburger meal).
Clinton Street Baking Company
Handily located right next to the entrance of the air-conditioned dining area, Clinton St. Baking Company’s Last Exit offering is more cute food van than trailer. It’s also one of the few that you can’t drive up to, but they do deliver the food to you if you sit and wait inside. The menu, which is clearly visible on the side of the bright red van, includes mains, desserts and milkshakes. It’s pretty concise, which is good as it makes ordering quick and easy, and includes Clinton St.’s popular fried chicken and waffle dish and mini pancakes for dessert. There are several sandwich options. We go for a veggie sandwich, which comes packed with fillings including avocado, white cheddar and tomato, all on crispy sourdough toast. Service is swift and the food fresh and hot.
Dhs36 (veggie sandwich). www.clintonstreetbaking.ae.
This food truck clearly specialises in falafel and for those craving the traditional Middle Eastern street food snack, it’s not a bad option. We find all the usual culprits on the menu – shawarmas, manakish and falafel, of course – and while we’re usually a sucker for their sandwiches, on this occasion we go for individual pieces, which are small, freshly prepared and moist, particularly when smothered in the accompanying tahini sauce. The fact that they offer a healthy quinoa tabbouleh without the customary drenching of lemon juice and olive oil (it comes on the side) is also a plus point. However, for such simple, signature snacks, we wait far too long. If they speed up the process, Operation Falafel will be a great Middle Eastern addition to the host of international food trucks – and a welcome healthy option.
Dhs5 (four pieces of falafel), Dhs28 (quinoa tabbouleh), Dhs8 (bottle of Aquafina water). www.operationfalafel.com.
There are many things that can go wrong with a gourmet Mexican meal served from a food truck on a hot day by the side of a national highway: soggy tacos, over-cooked meat, runny hot sauce. However, Poco Loco has got all of its logistics right, steering away from any epicurean red flags. Arguably the best-looking drive-thru station among the dozen at Last Exit, this Latin American eatery has a no-nonsense menu of tacos, burritos and enchiladas. That’s it. The chicken tacos come in a set of three and take a good ten minutes to prepare and package. The soft-shell tacos hit all the right flavours, with an equal blend of spicy, sweet and sour. We order a side of chilli guacamole dip which, smeared onto the tacos, makes the meal a winner and ramps up the heat to a level that matches Dubai’s summer days.
Dhs30 (tacos, Dhs5 for extra guacamole. Poco Loco food truck. www.pocoloco.ae.
We’ve all been there, lamenting the machine coffee we’ve been forced to get at a petrol station on a long drive to somewhere. Thankfully, high-end caffeine fixer The Brass has brought all its tricks of the trade to Last Exit, offering the full spectrum of the black stuff and at reasonable prices. The selection of sweet treats to accompany it is limited – muffins, cookies and brownies make up the offer – but the fresh fruit juices are spot on (try the watermelon). All in, it’s probably the best coffee you’ll ever get at a service station.
Dhs96 (three coffees, three pastries and one juice). www.thebrass.ae.
The Hot Dog Stand
We were interested to see how this popular Dubai Marina eatery would transfer to Last Exit. The answer is: it does so seamlessly. Having such a concise menu helps and the Angus beef version of The Mexican we order is delivered with minimum fuss and maximum taste. Juicy and packed full of flavour thanks to the addition of guacamole, salsa, jalapeño, sour cream, cheese and nachos, it’s a definite winner. The cheesy chips are spot on, too, and thanks to the stand being so close to
the food court, it’s brought to our table within five minutes.
Dhs42 (The Mexican hot dog and cheese fries). www.facebook.com/thehotdogstanddubai.
The name in itself is a bit befuddling, let alone the idea that lobster and shrimp can constitute fast food fit for four-wheel dining. But somehow, Urban Seafood’s truck pulls it off, with takeaway fusions such as fish tacos and surf and turf burgers. Out of these, the lobster and shrimp quesadillas stand out for their freshness (make sure you squeeze that complimentary slice of lemon) and zingy sauce. What Urban Seafood does lack in fast food cred is the speed at which the grub is dished up, taking about 20 minutes. Good things do come to those who wait, though, and this food truck is set to make a splash at Last Exit.
Dhs38 (lobster and shrimp quesadilla with fries and a drink). www.facebook.com/urbanseafood. Open 24 hours. Last Exit, Sheikh Zayed Road (no number).
A unique new mall has opened as part of the upcoming massive theme park project in Jebel Ali.
The Outlet Village is unlike any other shopping district in the region, designed as it is to feel like San Gimignano, an adorable hilltop town in the countryside of Tuscany whose historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
But the exposed brickwork, piazza-like squares, water features and little metal trinkets that line the mismatched Gothic stonework aren't just a glossy coat on top of your usual mall experience. Oh no, this little pizza slice of Italy is 'digital free'; that means no invasive advertising hoardings, no escalators or lifts, and certainly no indoor aquariums or ice-skating rinks.
Simply ambling through, visitors will note a myriad of sophisticated detailing, including fountains and wishing wells, window shutters with lavender pot plants and wallpapers of the rolling Tuscan hills. It even has a real olive tree.
Dedicated to high-end and luxury fashion, it is home to over 100 retail brands, including homeware, sportswear and department stores all on the same level and sheltered under a conical glass roof. Each will offer year-long discounts, with some of them going up to 70 percent off the original retail price.
So what's to buy? Expect the likes of Lanvin, Coach, Michael Kors, Giuseppe Zanotti, Calvin Klein Men, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger, Sandro, Maje, Diesel Kids, The Kooples. You will also be able to find a bargain at the sportswear and equipment stores, such as Nike, Stadium, Adidas, New Balance and Under Armour (all due to open by the end 2016). Multi-brand stores like Etoile will regularly stock past-season collections from Fendi, Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, Tory Burch, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana and Kenzo.
There will also be a revolving concept of pocket shops in the village where brands can hold shop for a set number of weeks, before renting out the hole-in-the-wall space to another brand.
And for those who need to refuel, there are a variety of dining and rehydrating options for tired shoppers. Operation Falafel, The Brass, Urban Seafood are open to take orders now, with Tasha’s, Project Pie, Awani and Godiva Café expected to open their shutters very soon.
Set between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the E11 - and now easily accessible following the opening of a new flyover on the capital-bound side, this shopping outlet is expecting to welcome 30 million visitors in its debut year. Luxury coaches will run to and from hotels and top tourist destinations in Dubai, including The Beach in JBR.
Officially launched on Wednesday August 31, this 1.5 million square-foot, indoor, temperature-controlled theme park (the world’s largest) is set to change the face of the tourism industry in Dubai.
Here's our handy guide to what you can expect.
Past the ticketing section, the gates and the dominant IMG signage, you are transported onto what feels like a Hollywood film set. Above, the soundproof ceiling arches 41 metres above you, and extends over 200,000 square feet in front, while under your feet, you stomp through a miniature town with a downtown city-walk feel. Two main thoroughfares – one leading to Cartoon Network zone and the other taking you to Marvel – have a network of alleyways, shops, food outlets and more - the whole of IMG Worlds Of Adventure has 25 retail stores and 28 original food and beverage outlets - and on every corner live entertainment and interactive experiences will be plentiful.
The Haunted Hotel
Starting in a “plummeting elevator”, the Haunted Hotel is an over-15s-only attraction. And the age limit is with good reason. The majority is bump-in-the-night kind of stuff, executed by wonderfully made-up and masked characters from everyone’s darkest nightmares. But the most genuinely unsettling part – complete with stomach-churning stench – comes in the human abattoir. Mannequins wrapped in blood-splattered plastic hang on a moving pulley, while body parts are hacked up in ferocious fashion by a bellowing butcher. On his operating table, corpses squirm and shake with an unedifying degree of realism.
CARTOON NETWORK ZONE
The family-friendly 230,000-square foot Cartoon Network zone features all the kids’ favourite characters from the likes of Ben 10, LazyTown, The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball. Throughout the park there are only height restrictions, as opposed to age (apart from the aforementioned Haunted House). In Cartoon Network zone, all guests need to be is 1.5 metres tall to go on the surprisingly scary Powerpuff Girls – Mojo’s Robot Rampage. On this ride, all the girls are there and ready to take those brave enough on a dizzying ride that goes upwards and downwards, all while spinning and holding you upside down. All ages will love The Adventures of Gumball, a “dark ride”, which starts off with a video introduction in which you learn you need to save Gumball and Darwin from the “baddies” aka little creatures that are lit up and stuck to the wall, or holograms that pop out of the projector screens at you – shoot them with your laser gun and see who in the family can get the highest score.
The Shows: LazyTown and Ben 10
If you like cheery musicals, energetic and enthusiastic dancing, and colourful costumes, the family-friendly LazyTown show in the Cartoon Network zone is for you. It features dancers from across the world, flown in especially to put on live stage performances of the popular kids’ TV show with Stephanie and the entire Dance School. Around the corner, still in LazyTown, there is a soft play area and a challenging rope and ladder adventure. The world’s first Ben 10 5D cinema, made exclusively for IMG, is also here, which can host up to 1,200 visitors an hour with an exclusive ten-minute 3D movie. Oh, and the world’s largest Ben 10 retail store, too.
LOST VALLEY - DINOSAUR ADVENTURE ZONE
Perhaps the most impressive area of the theme park, this zone, spanning a total of 700,000 square feet, is the largest and has been developed uniquely for IMG Worlds of Adventure. It also happens to be home to around 69 animatronic dinosaurs, both herbivores and carnivores, which sit in the surrounding foliage poking their heads (and teeth) out, moving around. These were created by a Japanese company, Kokoro, as a joint venture with the Natural History Museum. Aside from the roller coasters, there’s also a kid-friendly Dino Carousel, The Forbidden Territory, a deep jungle safari ride, and an adventure playground with ladders, tunnels, slides and more.
Okay, let’s start with the facts: 100kph in 2.5 seconds. But that isn’t the most terrifying aspect of this spectacular roller coaster. It begins at a pedestrian pace, past a giant screen showing dinosaurs locked in battle. Ahead, a shutter blocks the track. And then the ride lifts off, through the now retracted shutter and out into the big wide world, and gravity-defying inversions, corkscrews and turns. It’s utterly exhilarating.
The dominant indoor ride at Lost Valley might not have the stand-out stats of the Velociraptor, but it doesn’t lack the punch of its super-speed sibling. Contained to two rows of four, it features a 35-metre “beyond the vertical” drop and several sharp turns that feel dangerously close to opposing parts of the tracks. Body-shocking stuff, and all visible from every corner of the zone.
Everything from the names of the restaurants to the pantone colours (there are a lot of grey, red, white and blue) used in the décor, resembles Marvel comics and its most famous characters. Buildings like the Avengers Tower line the winding streets, and this is where you’ll find Thor’s Thunderspin, a dizzying top-spin ride with two banks of seats and two revolving arms spinning you around and around, as well as the Avengers: Battle of Ultron ride, a 3D multimedia experience and the first “dark” ride for Avengers in the world. This zone is also home to the world’s heaviest ride; Hulk Epsilon Base 3D is a 150-ton, 360-degree cinema that pivots independently at ten revolutions per minute and can host up to 100 people. Twelve IMAX screens are synchronised simultaneously and project everything in 3D. It's also a prototype, meaning there’s nothing else like this anywhere else in the world.
Doc Ock’s Revenge
A terrifically unique experience, featuring four spinning carts set on one narrowly swerving, Spider-Man-themed track (the wicked web slinger chasing arch enemy Dr Octopus), the ride is housed largely behind the facia of Peter Parker’s newspaper The Daily Bugle, and leaves you feeling like you’ve been clinging on to the end of an erratic tentacle for dear life.
Overall, there are 28 food and beverage outlets dotted about the park. To name a few, we’ll start in The Boulevard, which is home to Flavours of Arabia, serving a selection of regional favourites, plus Waffles on Wheels, Popcorn Factory and the Samosa House. In the Cartoon Network zone you’ll find Finn & Jake’s Everything Burrito, which serves, unsurprisingly, popular Tex-Mex cuisine, plus Mr Smoothy, which is laid out to be an exact replica of Ben 10’s hang-out. Over at The Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zone there’s Indian spot Spice Valley, the Churro and Pretzel Cart and Carnivore Hut (geddit?). And in the Marvel zone, you’ll find Mama Scano’s Italian, Downtown Shawarma and the currently reservation-only Tony’s Skydeck, a fine-dining spot serving steak and seafood.