FatSu Dubai: Beach Canteen

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Dubai is marketed as a glitzy destination for the cash-laden and is home to some über-fancy restaurants. You might imagine then that a month-long celebration of its food offerings would centre on the branded and the bling, but what I like about the Dubai Food Festival is that you can choose to go full-on star quality, or you can seek out and enjoy the smaller, local, more laid-back options.

On Jumeirah's Kite Beach, you can find the Dubai Food Festival's Beach Canteen. Made up of brightly-coloured converted shipping containers, each housing a different food concept, this is the place that puts the second F in DFF. Open mic nights, chilled-out happy people, and plenty of bean bags, all facing the lively, breezy beach. Every few days there's a foodie-themed movie playing in the open air - the chefs will usually offer up something relevant as a special on those days; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's viewers were treated to exploding popcorn and space foam from The Inventing Room.

Beach Canteen is the most vibrant and visible of Dubai Food Festival's venues to spotlight local talent; each of the pop-up restaurants represents a permanent location elsewhere in the city. It's giving a lot of great exposure to independent food concepts, many of them very new, and most of them staffed by the owners, and this fact lends the whole place a friendly, neighbourhood buzz. You could come and sit here for the whole day, people-watching - and the food is really good too: from rotis to rice pudding, gourmet fries and gluten-free cookies. Top of my list for a visit while you're up for the Festival.

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