11 mega things to do in Abu Dhabi this weekend: Jan 27 to 29

Even if the weather, rains on our parade…

Whilst rain is most certainly a blessing in this part of the world, it does pose rare challenges for your weekend plans. But we’ve been toiling away in the leisure time itinerary lab and we believe *checks blueprints* we’ve come up with an open-patent weatherproof weekend. Our strongest recommendation? Just eat through it…

Friday, January 27

El Mariachi

The Four Seasons’ Al Meylas Lounge is the staging point of an exciting Latin pop-up. Here, the hotel’s Executive Chef Christian Buenrostro intends to introduce us to a carnival of Mexican flavours available to experience under the theatre of a starlit sky. The heritage menu, paying homage to the chef’s passion for Latin cuisine will be supplemented by limited edition craft mixology and a schedule of themed entertainment, that includes the ‘aye aye aye’ of a live Mariachi band (on Fridays and Saturdays). The Mexican Pop-Up at Al Meylas has built a menu around produce sourced from local farmers. The chef’s legendary guacamole will make an appearance, as will fresh prawns cooked in chili-lime juice; authentic tortilla soup with avocado and sour cream; a scintillating range of aromatic tacos; slow cooked beef ribs with sweet corn puree; and chicken enchiladas with fresh cream and jalapeno.

Al Maryah Island. Tel: (02) 333 2222, fourseasons.com


Located in Al Qana, Pixoul is the largest gaming hub of its type in Abu Dhabi and includes the latest evolution of Location-Based Entertainment (LBE). In addition to futuristic VR tech, the venue will also operate the first certified eSports (that’s competitive gaming for any noobs out there) academy in the region. Strap on the headset and you can free roam individually or with teams a selection of strategy, racing and *finger guns* shoot-em-ups.

Al Qana, Sun to Thu midday to midnight, Fri to Sat midday to 2am, pixoulgaming.com

Hang time

Say bonjour to the second Abu Dhabi location of AirManiax right in the heart of the capital’s excitement hub, at Yas Mall (the first is in Marina Mall). It’s a gigantic indoor kids’ entertainment megaplex arriving, located on the ground floor of the mall, next to the Grand Prix entrance. This intelligently designed adventure complex is now open and offers multiple themed zones and attractions for all age groups of kiddlywinks.

Air Maniax Abu Dhabi is open now at Yas Mall, daily 10 am to midnight, prices from Dhs85 for 60 minutes. Tel: (02) 635 2544, airmaniax.booknow

Saturday, January 28

Treat ’em MENA

Taking place on Saturday January 28, 2023 — Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island’s all-day diner, Graphos Social Kitchen will be lensing under the gravity of some truly massive cheffing stars. At this one-off (6.30pm to 10.30pm) evening brunch, guesrs will be able to pick up dishes conceived by Mauro Colagreco, the chef-owner of Mirazur in Menton, France, which was ranked the No.1 restaurant in the entire world in 2019; Latin luminary and Mexican chef Santiago Lastra of Kol in London; Japanese master Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilège in Tokyo; and Asia’s Best Pastry Chef winner Maira Yeo of Cloudstreet in Singapore. The sips aren’t neglected either, with guest mixologists from The World’s 50 Best Bars, including Patrick Pistolesi, the charismatic creator of Drink Kong in Rome, and Coralie Dolliet of the top-rated Dubai night spot, Galaxy Bar. The price for this, what has to be one of the heaviest list of brunch headliners we’ve ever seen? Dhs495, all inclusive. @hiltonabudhabiyasisland

From mighty Oaks

Gourmands, get excited for an epicurean flight as two regional heavyweights get together for an almighty culinary collab. For one night only on Saturday January 28, multi award-winning steakhouse Oak Room welcomes a guest appearance from Tala Bashmi, MENA’s Best Female Chef 2022. This unmissable dining experience is a prelude to the Middle East & North Africa’s (MENA) 50 Best Restaurants 2023, which will reveal the top restaurants across the region at a huge ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday January 30.From Oak Room, expect the finest cuts and freshest ingredients. The influences from Fusions by Tala will ensure a modern take on regional dishes. It will all be perfectly paired with handpicked wines from Oak Room’s own Sommelier’s selection. Of course, great conversation is guaranteed as chef Tala shares the inspiration behind her dishes, showcases her culinary skills, and talks all things culinary with the city’s foodies. If you’re looking to learn more about getting creative in the kitchen, this is your cue to book this exclusive dining experience.

Oak Room x Tala Bashmi, The Abu Dhabi EDITION, 7pm onwards, Saturday February 28, from Dhs500. Tel: (0)2 208 0000, book here

Functional gymaholic

This Aussie-born cult fitness brand has a reputation for fierce but fair workouts, with dramatic conditioning results. The classes combine a mixture of HIIT sessions, functional training (which is where the ‘F’ comes from in the name), circuit training and a cool-down period where you lock your trainer in the eyes and mouth obscenities at them. Though that last part is entirely optional. Each 45 minute class is designed to burn fat, build muscle, improve functional form, torch up to 1,000 calories, make you sweat through your eyeballs and dry wretch over a bin, at least the first time. There’s no doubt that this outfit changes lives, it physically vibrates with positivity and community, it gets results fast and comes with a three-day free trial.

Zayed Sports City, Main Football Stadium, Dhs105 per class, unlimited month pass for Dhs1,100, discounts for multi-month purchases. Tel: (056) 332 3113, F45_training_zayedsportscity

Seville-ised behaviour

The brand-new Sevillana Saturday Spanish Brunch at B-Lounge is inspired by the flare, fare and finesse of southern Spain’s gastronomy culture. Your meal begins with a variety of chorizo, salads, and a fully-loaded cheese board. A click of the castanets and it’s on to mains. The star of the show is the Iberian seafood staple — paella. Delicate blends of rice, meat, stock, seafood and vegetables — prepared theatrically at the live cooking stations. There’s also meat, seafood and skewers (grilled to order), the Spanish meatball delicacy — albondigas, prawns in a tomato and garlic sauce, fresh fruit, and a dessert spread built around churros and a chocolate fountain. Enjoy your meal against the backdrop of a live DJ and with the choice of either a soft beverage or house beverage accompaniment. Those opting for the latter can even take advantage of the house-prepared sangria. Hasta la fiesta.

B-Lounge, Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, every Sat 12.30pm to 3.30pm, soft Dhs185, house Dhs285. Tel: (02) 697 036, @sheratonabudhabiMarriott.com 

A song of fire and bikes

You can still get your fix of sky theatrics and engaging carnival fun at Abu Dhabi’s ongoing Zayed Festival. The weekly firework fiesta at the family-fun filled extravaganza is located at Al Wathba, will continue at the festival every Saturday taking place at 10pm, all the way up to the festival’s close on March 18, 2023. That’s not all that’s going on with a “oooh” and a “bang” at the Zayed Festival of a weekend. Announced this week, we can now look forward to the return of Extreme Weekends. From now until Feb 25, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday  (at 6.30pm and 8.30pm on each of the days) visitors to the festival will be able to watch a stunning, death defying motocross stunt show as well as an extreme car drifting performance.

Al Wathba, until March 18, 4pm to midnight (1am on weekends), tickets Dhs5. zayedfestival.com

Sunday, January 29

A constant battle

A brand new ‘digital paintball’ experience has just opened in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall and it looks like a solid bullseye for the Call of Duty generation. There are a few different ways you can play at Battle Park — gather the squad for iBattle, a team deathmatch spawned in an abandoned prison-themed layout, from Dhs75 for a 20 minute game. There’s also a virtual shooting simulator with sessions priced from Dhs40, and target shooting from Dhs50.

Marina Mall Floor 2. Tel: (800) 228853, @battlepark.official

On thin ice

There’s a full kitbag of indoor sporting entertainment available at Zayed Spot City, but one of our favourite active highlights is getting on the ice skating rink — a exceptional way to chill out from just Dhs55 — and there are even lessons available if, like us, you’re still a bit Bambi on stilts. You can also go on strike with Cosmic Bowling (7pm every Wednesday) at the compound’s Khalifa International Bowling Centre. Because in space, nobody can hear you gutter ball.

Zayed Sports City, Dhs20 per individual per game or Dhs140 per lane per hour. Tel: (02) 403 4200, zsc.ae

Splatter-all damage

As the name suggests, this house of artistry is all about getting a little bit messy all in the pursuit of creating colourful abstract masterpieces. They run a few different programmes for adults as well as kids — with sessions in neon work, fluid paint, pendulum art, and spinning art. Prices start at around Dhs139 for an hour and include all the materials to go full Picasso on a piece of canvas.

AL Seef Village Mall. Tel: (02) 582 3353, @splatter_rooms

Images: Provided