An XXL weekend, deserves an XXL list…

This weekend you’ve got one extra day to celebrate this life of yours, to spend time in the company of these loved ones of yours, and to give thanks that all this is yours.

Thursday, October 21

New at the cinema this week

The French Dispatch. Wes Anderson’s racket is one of ripping yarns told through a highly stylised poetic lens. His movies are stories in a most honest, and classical sense. This one has been described as ‘a loveletter to journalism’ and is separated into three distinct chapters — extended vignettes based around characters connected to an American newspaper, the eponymous French Dispatch, based in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé (literally translating ‘boredom or lethergy-on-indifference’). The connective binding is provided by the central character, who assembles a team of the finest journalists of the era, and it is through them that we watch the acts unfold. Evident from the trailer is — the absolutely dizzying star count of the extended cast list, a continuation of Anderson’s unique brand of dry humour, trademark switching up of cinematic style, and little doubt that this is going to push all the right Wes buttons.

Tickets: Book now

If music be the food of love

Pizza would be the jazz… The Jazz@PizzaExpress ‘ Thursday Night Live’ brunch is based around an NYC Broadway theme, you can deep dive into classic Italian style pizza, and get down to the soulful sounds of live music. The house beverage package is just Dhs199, which we think you’ll agree, will take some topping.

The Hub, WTC Abu Dhabi, every Thursday from 8pm, Dhs199 house, Dhs249 for bubbles and mixers, Dhs349 for premium bubbles. Tel: (02) 444 7752, @jazzpizzaexpressad

Out of the box

Yeah circuits are fun, but have you ever tried launching your fists into an indestructable punch bag for 50 minutes with a plasma storm light show goes off all around you. *Ding ding* Step into the gym/ring for HIIT, Classic and Ladies only sessions at Punch, and fight yourself fit. More than just a spot of fisticuffs with an inanimaye sack, these HIIT workouts obviously work on your overall fitness and focuses on you knocking that ‘UAE stone’ clean out. The Classic classes go deeper into the skills and techniques behind the gentleperson’s sport of pugilism — tightening up your footwork, jab combos, defensive postures as well as helping you develop your strength, speed and agility.

Punch Boxing Club, Zayed Sports City, Dhs100 for one class (newbies get two for one), and it’s Dhs800 for an unlimited month pass. Tel: (02) 666 9717, @punchuae

Friday, October 22

A tale of two chefs

Abu Dhabi Culinary Season is back and the first event on the chopping block is ‘Food Forward’. This episode will take place at Sayad restaurant in Emirates Palace, between October 19 and 22 and sees Chefs Anthony Demetre (the Michelin star-winning talent behind London’s famous Wild Honey) and Faisal Naser (local legend) create a menu that blends the culinary worlds of Europe and the UAE in a dazzling gastronomic adventure. Stand out dishes include Emirati fish and chips of battered fish marinated and spiced with Emirati masala, crisp confit chicken wings with black truffle and hand-cut macaroni and classic English custard tart with golden sultanas, pine nuts and salted butter.

Sayad, Emirates Palace, Until October 22, you can book your table now on the website or by calling Emirates Palace directly on (02) 690 9000. 

808s and heartbreaks

On Fridays Cove Beach’s 808 hits the sand with big 80s and 90s sounds — it’s a hip-hop and R&B deck-trospective with legendary DJs: DVS, Keeny, and Nuf. Ladies get comp’d Spanish grape blends between 5pm and 7pm. From October 8.

Cove Beach, Makers District, Al Reem Island. Tel: (056) 39 87895, @covebeachabudhabi

Putting on the spirtz

Alba Terrace, the chilled Med-style diner created by Tom Aikens is launching a lush little lunch deal within its leafy confines. The Weekend Spritz includes foods fresh outta the wood-fire oven such as a pizza and aubergine parmigiana, there’s also slow-roasted lamb leg, burrata with rocket pesto, crispy artichokes, and tarte tropezienne. The house package lets you hit up the brass-clad bar for trendy blended aperitifs, including the famous orange spritz that lends its name to this lunch.

The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen, Fri and Sat three hours between midday and 5pm, soft Dhs148, house and blended beverage package Dhs288. Tel: (02) 208 0000,

Saturday, October 23

The way to your heart

Popular flex-hub, The Studio offers beachfront field trip classes at top five-star ‘flop and drop’ spots, Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas and Beach Rotana. You can select hatha sessions, sunset yoga, chakra cleanses, yin and yang yoga, forgiveness yoga (perhaps of particular interest for those observing Ramadan), full moon yoga, pink moon yoga and more, for as long as the weather holds. This Saturday there’s a Heart Chakra Healing session with Inner Seed’s Laura.

Group session pricing from Dhs75. Tel: (02) 621 0000, you can find the full schedule at

Double dip


We went to try the new Duo brunch at the InterContinental and were instantly smitten. It’s held across two of their flagship dining venues — the popular Pan-Asian restaurant Cho Gao, and the world class churrascaria, Chamas. Fill up on flame-cooked meats, dainty dim sum,  seafood salads and some other exciting curveballs (shout out to the chicken and rice stand chilli sauce).

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Saturdays 12.30pm to 4pm, soft Dhs249, house Dhs 349. Tel: (056) 680 2161,

Watching stars under the stars

cinema in the park abu dhabi

The free outdoor cinema at Umm Al Emarat Park is back for another season of cracking alfresco family films. There are two showings per day (5.30pm and 7.30pm), three days a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). This Thursday it’s a big screen outing for Foggy Bottom’s finest, Mayor Humdinger — and apparently there are some pups involved too — in Paw Patrol: The Movie; on Friday we get to see a girl embark on an epic sea journey, The Rock proved he’s got bars and an animated chicken upstage literally everyone in Disney mega hit, Moana; and this Saturday — tune in for the third movie in the superbly casted Madagascar trilogy.

Movies are free, but entry into the park is charged at Dhs10. Located at Umm Al Emarat Park, 

An artistic palate

Art on the walls, art on the plates, art in their heart. Abu Dhabi’s Art House Cafe is all about providing a passionate experience, and the dining element is at the core of that. They’ve got a massive menu but their famous shakshoka is probably our pick of the brunch. Every inch feels, and smells like a truly inspirational, creative space, surrounded by botanical greens and abstract scenes. And because its a place that celebrates the creative spark, you can go full Picasso on a plate for Dhs20, there’s the option to paint masks (Dhs30) or even a miniature brick (Dhs10).

Al Huwelat St, Bateen Area, Opp Al Bateen Villa No 15, 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 666 0175. @arthousecafead

Images: Getty/Provided