It’s been one year in the making, but the wait is finally over – Urban retrEAT is here. Time Out UAE Kids took a sneak peek around the one-of-a-kind hub to uncover exactly why everyone is talking about the Yas Mall venue. The brainchild of seasoned food trucker Dana Alsharif, this promises to be a home for independent, local, home-grown businesses to flex their culinary muscles among like-minded people.
Alsharif, who jumped into the food truck world three years ago by launching Calle Tacos while juggling being a mother-of-two, beamed: “It’s been a long time in the making but we’re finally here, it’s all happening and we couldn’t be more excited to be here.
“We want this to be a multipurpose place for well-established food truckers to come and have a semi-permanent base for their fans and diners, while it can also be somewhere where someone who’s brand-new to the industry can trial their business and their idea. It can be very expensive to pay to enter events and set up your stall.”
The one-of-a-kind hub, the only one like it in the UAE, will bring an ever-changing mix of street food stalls to Yas Mall.
For the first time ever, Abu Dhabi foodies can sample delights from all corners of the world in a friendly and casual setting.
In fact, there are ten shipping container-style kitchens up and running, with room for up to five more carts.
The vendors will rotate, bringing a new wave of local talent to Urban retrEAT every three months, which means more for us to try, right?
The venue will also host local talent such as musicians and artists, offering them a platform to showcase their work and perform for customers.
So, here’s your guide to Urban retrEAT.
1 The vendors
There are ten shipping container-style stalls serving a wide-ranging array of street foods. The first 12 vendors to launch include Mr. Brisket, Off the Hook, Casa Latina, Tawa Bakery, Firefly Burger, Piddza, Chez Moe Café, Roll-Ups by Sukkar Dose, Bubble Waffles by Sukkar Dose, Hue Artisan Pasta, Fatteh O Salata and Casa De Churros. Should we go for Casa Latina’s Venezuelan arepas or a honey onion sandwich from Firefly Burger?
2 The space
Alsharif spent a year with her team designing the entire area, aiming to give the “warmth of a house”. In one corner, there’s an area for kids to sit and play in, complete with a wooden train and tracks. Diners arrive, pick a cuisine (challenge: try them all, if you can), grab a spot at the long wooden dining tables and rub shoulders with owners and eaters. It can hold up to 85 people, with room to expand.
3 The entertainment
Every weekend, on Fridays and Saturdays, there will be live music from local, budding musicians. Think open mic nights where talented and still undiscovered singer-songwriters have the chance to perform in public. Time for a family music night? We think so too. Just don’t expect any karaoke.
4 The art classes
Kids, both big and small, can participate in arts and craft classes at Urban retrEAT. Working in collaboration with L’atelier Des Arts, the space will host activities regularly. They include courses in a range of different designs such as mosaic, sketching, fabric painting, scrapbooking, clay and more. While diners will also have the chance to build handmade DIY models at the table – because eating delicious burgers and lobster can get boring after all, right?
5 The do-not-miss factor
Perhaps the most unmissable thing about Urban retrEAT is the consistently updated selection of vendors. You’ll have to return as they swap every three months – with every vendor having to leave after that period. But don’t worry, they can return. From burgers and bubble waffles to sliders, salads, sugar-laden desserts and even gluten-free goodies, there’s something for everyone.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. Yas Mall, Yas Island, www.urbanretreat.me (050 117 2694).
Urban retrEAT in numbers
The maximum number of months traders can stay before rotating
The amount of carts moving around the space selling food
The number of vendors serving from shipping containers
How many diners can be seated inside at any one time