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FACT Review: Craft by Side Hustle in Abu Dhabi

The UAE’s first alcohol brewery has opened a restaurant that is all the rave.

There are many reasons to raise a glass to Craft by Side Hustle. Located at The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, it has become the first company to legally make alcohol in the UAE. Not only does it sell beer on tap that has been brewed on-site, but it also has a dining menu that will get you coming back for seconds. 

Craft by Side Hustle has been hitting the headlines with its blockbuster brewery. The passion for the project is evident, from the bartenders to the head chef. When we arrived, a waitress showed us the large fermentation tanks. The aim is to make 75 different brews, so that five to 10 will be available at any given time. “The brewery makes 25,000 pints a month”, she said.

Craft by Side Hustle

While the pints are pulling a crowd, the food has sustained them. Whatever comes to mind when you think of pub grub, think again. Craft by Side Hustle offers a surprising take on pints and pairings. The menu is inspired by southern-style smokehouses and prides itself on ageing and crafting the meats in-house. The menu spans starters, salads, sandwiches, smokehouse, smokehouse platters, sourdough pizzas, mains, sides and desserts.

Craft by Side Hustle

Some dishes on the menu wouldn’t look out of place in a high-end restaurant. The starters range from a Blooming Onion to Fresh Burrata. And, the Fresh Burrata impresses as it soaks up the seasoning. We never expected to order okra in a pub, but the Fried Okra was so good that we finished the bowl. Head Chef Troy Payne explained: “If I don’t like an ingredient, I try to find a way of cooking it, so I do. With the Fried Okra, I wanted to elevate it. I never used to like okra, but now I do.” 

Craft by Side Hustle

The portions at Craft by Side Hustle were generous; the pizzas were so large, they can be served by the slice. The Picanha Sandwich was a doorstop-sized draw. Crammed with lettuce, onion, pickles and tomato, the highlight was the succulent and soft Wagu beef. While the brioche bread doesn’t quite keep the sandwich secure, it didn’t stop us from mopping up the meat. 

Craft by Side Hustle

Unlike most pubs, there are also plenty of vegetarian options. The Vegetarian Platter came with spectacularly smoky corn ribs, cauliflower and pumpkin. Plus, the desserts range from Beignets to Mississippi Mud Cake, and the standout was the soft and smooth Steamed Toffee Pudding with rum and raisin custard. 

When we visited, Craft by Side Hustle was pouring pints aplenty. If you’re unsure if you’ll like a new beer, order a taster size. The options range from the El Jefe, with its crisp and clean taste, to the Fair Play, with its silky finish. The Jet Lag Relief, with its pineapple and papaya notes, proved the most popular. For beer enthusiasts, there’s a QR code on the side of the drinks, which you can scan for more information. 

Craft by Side Hustle

Craft by Side Hustle has an electric atmosphere. The venue has mastered a casual and contemporary vibe, from the mural paintings to the archway made from brewery barrels. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, there is no judgement. The crowd was mixed from families with children to groups of friends. Come with your curiosity, and you’ll be rewarded with a new dining destination. 

GO: Visit https://brewery.ae for more information. 

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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