Trying to find a restaurant that will keep the kids occupied while allowing parents to relax and eat in peace can be taxing at times. This week we discovered a spot in Abu Dhabi that does just that, the newly opened U-Turn Diner.
Styled as a 1950s all American diner, U-Turn does a terrific job of replicating a past era, while injecting the small space with a modern twist. The restaurant is bright and colourful, with vibrant blue walls covered in retro-style advertisements for famous American brands such as Coca Cola and Chevrolet.
The diner is exactly as you would expect, with flashing neon signs declaring burgers and milkshakes. Seating in available in booths or at the counter, which rises up from the black and white chessboard flooring. It is the attention to detail that really encapsulates the spirit of 1950s Americana at U-Turn, with a working jukebox and salt and pepper pots made to resemble vintage telephones. In one corner lies a replica gas station pump, while male employees are dressed in turquoise waistcoats and female employees in a typical waitress uniform (complete with cap) in flurocent shades of pink.
It is not just the iconography of the 1950s that is replicated but also the atmosphere. As a guest, dining at U-Turn feels somewhat like being transported into a movie diner seen in films such as ‘Grease’ or ‘Back To The Future.’ Best of all it’s really family friendly and kids will love exploring the nooks and crannies of this fun and colourful space. But wait… there’s more… as U-Turn diner is the only place in Abu Dhabi where you can eat inside a train! Not an actual train of course but a replica, complete with “mind the gap” signs on the floor and sliding doors, much like a real metro train.
Children especially will love the train, which contains five secluded booths (which are also currently available for daytime dining during Ramadan) in which the doors can be closed to accommodate private dining. Once inside, the booths are spacious and comfortable, with leather seats sat facing each other – just like on a real train. Even the drivers compartment is utilised as part of the facade, with the control panel being home to the till and credit card machines.
Each element at U-Turn has been meticulously planned, to not only adhere to the 1950s theme but to ensure that diners have a thoroughly enjoyable time. The menu comprises American favourites, predominantly burgers and milkshakes but also staple Southern dishes such as mac n cheese, chicken and waffles and even Canadian poutine.
For children there is a selection of hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders and grilled sandwiches and as per the image of the children’s mac n cheese below – portions are more than generous.
We couldn’t eat at this slice of American nostalgia without sampling one of their signature milkshakes. Opting for the strawberry milkshake with milk, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and lashings of strawberry sauce. The resulting beverage/dessert can only be described as sweet, sweet heaven!
Now being enamoured with anything peanut butter, we were a little disappointed to discover that there was no milkshake of this flavour on the menu. Yet the kitchen staff were more than happy to create one for us by blending vanilla, peanut butter and a hint of caramel into a gloriously sweet treat, which we have named the ‘Out & About.’
Despite the abundance of salads, grilled sandwiches and pastas on offer, we decided that the burgers were the most appealing item on the menu for us and after much deliberation (there are fifteen burgers to choose from, not including the additional hot dogs) we opted for the Philly Burger and the M&C Burger.
The Philly Burger is a beef patty topped with a mix of grilled steak, onion, green peppers, Swiss Cheese lettuce and mayo – basically a Philly Cheese Steak in Burger format. The M&C Burger used the same beef patty topped with mac n cheese, marinara mayo sauce and lettuce. Strangely both burgers arrived with the top of the bun placed on the burger upside down, which we believe to be a signature stylistic choice by the team at U-Turn.
Both burgers were large and presented on a wooden board, accompanied by some golden fried chips (fries) presented in the silver basket of a deep fat fryer (another nice 1950s touch) and a side of sweetened coleslaw and a lone pickle. Both burgers were really tasty and this was mostly due to the juicy beef patty’s which were well seasoned and full of flavour. The M&C burger was the better of the two, with the macaroni encased within a prison of gooey cheesy goodness, which was throughly enjoyable, though it did not quite reach the greatness of the same dish offered at The Brunswick in Dubai. Though it must be said that the Philly Burger was also enjoyable, mainly due the thick slabs of meat and the sweet bun.
U-Turn is also the first establishment in Abu Dhabi to offer the infamous Freak Shakes that have been doing the rounds in Dubai for a number of months now. These desserts resemble a milkshake but are topped with everything from muffins to chocolate bars or even slices of pie! The Freak Shakes at U-Turn are slightly more subdued than their Dubai counterparts but are still likely to send you into a sugar induced coma. The M&M Monster for example, features (you guessed it) M&Ms, a snickers chocolate bar, peanut butter, chocolate milkshake and a scoop of ice cream.
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There is only one thing to do when you get the cravings for our M&M Monster Milkshake: having it as soon as possible! Bad moods or inability to focus on anything else are serious dangers if you fail to do so. We are here in Abu Dhabi: goo.gl/maps/23zqprJigVk #Uturn #UturnDiner هنالك شيء وحيد لتقوم به عندما تطلب مخفوق الحليب "أرماديلو ام ان امز مونستر" و هو أن تتناوله و لا تفكر بأي شيء أخر ! فلا وقت للمزاج السيء في حضوره. #milkshake #abudhabiburger #abudhabiblogger #abudhabifood #inabudhabi #abudhabilife #abudhabifood #igersabudhabi #myabudhabi #abudhabi #goodtimes #eatstagram #foodgasm #feedfeed #foodpic #foodideas #instafood #dubaifood #dubaifoodie #dubaiestaurant #foodspotting #dubaieats #zomatouae #foodporn #foodphotography #uae #Tasty #Delicious #yummy
U-Turn delivers American comfort food for the masses and diners are unlikely to be disappointed by the experience. For a family friendly dining experience, U-Turn certainly seems to tick all the boxes and best of all it’s open until 3am, making it the perfect place for a late night snack. Tucked away in the Golden Towers building in Al Nahyan, U-Turn diner is well worth seeking out for its huge portions and slice of Americana.
Location: Golden Tower, Al Mamoura, Al Muroor Road, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi
Hours: 11:00am – 3:00am
Phone: 02 418 2500
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