Dubai’s first food truck?
No doubt you’ve seen this lovingly restored Citroën food truck prancing around town at either Dubai Food Carnival or at private events. Well thankfully we don’t have to pay full whack to hire it out, but we can have a taste at monthly pop-up dinners now open to the public through Lime & Tonic.
The venue for the first pop-up I signed up for last week was Capital D Studios in Dubai’s so-called warehouse district of Al Quoz – a fashion-cum-production studio. But don’t get too attached, every 16th of the month will bring a new venue. It’s a little bit like L&T’s earlier secret supper clubs, except we’re privy to the venue when booking. Unlike other pop-ups and supper clubs around town (these two terms are often used interchangeably here), this one is not an invitation-only event, but open to paying diners.
Ghaf Kitchen’s charming vintage van greets us on arrival, yet whilst it’s very much a mobile kitchen, in this case dinner is prepped behind-the-scenes and in a production kitchen off-site. So it’s not strictly speaking a food truck like in the movie Chef, but it’s as close as we’re gonna get for now in Dubai. Well that’s until licensing laws start to change allowing food trucks to operate from public areas, like beaches, parks and so on. The only other recent addition to the scene, is burger van @FindSalt.
Mocktails in mason jars are served from the studio’s bar, whilst guests mingle and graze on canapés. It’s a tad steamy though with more air-con units required. Four long wooden tables are decked out for 40 or so peeps all under a glow of red lighting – and hence why most of my photos are destined for the bin. Check out fellow food blogger, Coffee Cakes and Running’s photos here. The menu is seasonal and therefore will change each month. You can view it online when booking, and dietary requests are taken into account. Dishes are served sharing style with two each of starters, mains and desserts – and they’re all generous portions.
What do we munch on? Luscious chunks of cured salmon. A pigeon cooked two ways – in fact one is so moreish, I nickname it Kentucky Fried Pigeon (and no I don’t eat KFC). Spiced monkfish. Sous vide lamb loin. I adore learning about new ingredients and here we have some interesting and unusual edible greens for garnishing – the pink-stemmed ice plant; Yka purple leaves from South America with its tangy flavour; and Alaskan nasturtium flowers. Desserts are typically British and rich in this case – a treacle tart and rice pudding. The latter’s texture in particular is not really my cup of tea. I’d much rather lap up the Eton Mess that Ghaf does so well. A wonderful scoop of walnut brittle ice cream is enough of a sweet ending for me. Note here, many of the team at Ghaf are ex-Caprice restaurants, i.e. Rivington Grill and The Ivy here in Dubai, so even though they cater to many cuisines as you’ll find out soon from another event, their heart lies with Brit-inspired fare.
The studio is buzzing with an intimate dinner party vibe that many restaurants here would crave. The pop-up is priced at AED360, but Lime & Tonic did offer an AED50 discount so do look out for promos. Prices are comparable to a top-end Dubai restaurant so it’s not cheap – just remember, booze is dependent on the venue ;). If you’re looking for an alternative dining experience and love meeting new folks, then add the Ghaf food truck…erm pop-up to your dining bucket list.
What different dining experiences have you tried and tasted here? Would you like to see food trucks licensed in public areas?
P.S – Further info below. The October 16th venue is now confirmed as Mojo Gallery – click here for more info and to book. Use the Lime & Tonic promo code ‘POPUP050’ for an AED50 discount.