We’ve 10 pro tips to give your Abu Dhabi weekend some real flavour…

Get stuck into the capital’s top festivals, food challenges, fitness events, spectating opportunities and dance-floor carve-ups happening this weekend…

Thursday February 27 

Take on a mighty food challenge at Hoi An

Some heroes wear capes. Some just tuck a napkin into their top. But one hallmark of all heroes is that they are able to focus their minds and bodies in order to tackle the task at hand. Like braving a mighty food challenge. And as far as food challenges go, the new one at Hoi An requires a fairly superhuman effort. Finish 50 pieces of their beef rice roll, all on your own, and your meal (which would have cost Dhs189) is free. The challenge runs until the end of this month.

Hoi An, Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri Abu Dhabi, daily 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 5098555. shangri-la.com

Celebrate the start of the weekend with an outdoor movie

Make the most out of what could be this year’s ‘last of the cool weather’ by catching a movie outdoors at the Shangri-La’s ESS Lounge. For this Thursday’s screening there’s Always Be My Maybe at 7pm followed by The Bourne Ultimatum at 9pm. Busy on Thursday? Head here on Friday where you can watch Set It Up at 7pm followed by The Bourne Legacy at 9pm. Its free to enter, and you can order your meal off the ESS Lounge menu, and of course there’s popcorn too. Shisha is also available.

ESS Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi, Thur Feb 27 and Fri Feb 28, 7pm onwards, free, Tel: (02) 509 8888shangri-la.com

Catch this unique oud performance with Nehad Al Sayed

The Swiss-Egyptian oud master Nehad Al Sayed will be performing alongside his students in a special concert at the Cultural Foundation. The school, operated by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, is dedicated to the preservation of the songs and techniques associated with the oud, and other important instruments in the UAE such as the qanun, cello, violin and rebabah. The show begins at 8pm and tickets cost Dhs50.

Cultural Foundation, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum St, Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi, Thur Feb 27, 7.30pm, Tel: (02) 6576348. culturalfoundation.ae


Friday February 28

Hop on and chill out at this crafty wee festival

For the first time ever, HustleFest, a huge craft-brew festival will be coming to the UAE and it’ll be taking place along the sophisticated waterways of Yas Marina. As well as beer-tasting for the adults, the two-day, free-to-enter festival will be super family-friendly, with live music, entertainment, cool food trucks and games for the little ones to get involved with. There’ll be more than 30 brews making in the UAE, from citrus-flavoured creations to more rich and malty palate profiles. Live music will be on throughout the two-day festival with local artists taking to the stage including DownHome, Who’s Who, DJ Darryl Rees and DJ Tulzy. 

HustleFest, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday February 28 and Saturday February 29, 2pm to midnight, free entry. hustlefest2020.com

Tuck into brunch at the Abu Dhabi EDITION

For a pleasant weekend treat, the All Day Brunch at Alba Terrace is where you should be. Enjoy Mediterranean dishes and excellent live music in a relaxing setting.  The brunch is an ala carte style with free flowing beverages but keep your eyes peeled for the Spritz Trolley – an Alba Terrace signature. Even though the brunch starts at 12.30pm, arrive any time after and enjoy the brunch package for up to three hours.

Alba Terrace, The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Al Bateen Marina, Abu Dhabi, Fri 12.30pm to 8pm (package is valid up to 3 hours), Dhs245 soft, Dhs388 house, Dhs488 bubbles, Tel: (02) 2080000, albaterrace.com

Tea-up a great weekend with an elegant afternoon of finger food

If you’re over the idea of brunch, why not try a more sophisticated foodie outing? Afternoon tea at The Lounge in the Westin has ‘classy’ written all over it. Naturally, you’ll find a solid selection of dainty sandwiches, including cucumber and cumin cream sandwich, smoked salmon on rye toast and truffle egg vol au vent. The sweet tray involves opera cake, lemon crèmeux with pineapple caviar, matcha tea tartlet with banana and passionfruit and of course, freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream. The final layer of opulent garnish comes courtesy of those golf course garden views.

The Lounge The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl, 2pm-6pm daily, Dhs99 for 2 persons with unlimited hot beverages. Tel: (02) 6169999, marriott.com

Saturday February 29

The perfect spot for catching the all UAE Tour cycling action

The UAE leg of the cycling World Tour has already begun and The Galleria has erected a special fan zone where people can get into the spirit of the event. The action, which ends on February 29, will be broadcast daily on a HUGE LED screen – and for those that like to spin their own pedals, you can get on your bike in the virtual cycling zone. Visitors will also find a Scalextric track, foosball and a Wheel of Fortune game. It’s worth noting that on Saturday The Galleria will host the ceremonial start of the tour’s final stage along the waterfront promenade from 12.40pm to 1.30pm.

The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, each leg of the tour will be broadcast daily (until February 29) between race hours (approx noon-4pm), free access. visit thegalleria.ae / @TheGalleriaUAE 

Create a corking painting at this arty party

If painting comes naturally, or if you are just a beginner, you have to check out ArtistPals Painting Party. Held at Cupital Cafe, this ladies only painting party will see you starting with a blank white canvas, but thanks to a fantastic teacher, you’ll leave with a masterpiece after just two hours. You’ll be provided with all the art supplies you need, and the session starts at 11am. The theme this week is Desert Caravan. Seats are limited and cost Dhs140 per person.

Cupital Cafe, Khalifa Park Area, Abu Dhabi, Sat Feb 29, 11am to 1pm, Dhs140 with supplies, Tel: (052) 921 6224artistpals.com 

Get your outdoor yoga on for free at the capital’s own Ripe Market

We all love a little weekend amble round a market. Meandering through the stalls, picking up artisanal treats, organic veg and, yeah – why not those paisley harem pants, you can pull them off. At Abu Dhabi’s Ripe Market, you can put them to good use – Sara Lane from Bodytree Studios hosts weekly free yoga sessions.

Ripe Market, Umm Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi, 4.30pm-5.30pm, free. Tel: (04) 3157000, @ripemarket

Last chance: catch the Al Burda Endowment exhibition

This exhibition shows the best of contemporary Islamic art from winners of a government grant. The wonderful works range from sculpture to textile-based work, photography experiential projects such as Aljoud Lootah whose structural installation titled Falak is made using camel leather, copper and metal structures. Installations such as the one created by Nasser Al Salem, is more interactive, and involves a green-lit room where viewers experience projected images of calligraphic text.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, until Feb 29, 9am to 8pm, free. Tel: (02) 6575937. alburda.ae


Images: Supplied