For one, there’s no Starbucks, yet. Or breakfast options. Or clear signage
Review: Why our first visit to food truck stop Last Exit MadX was an early morning disappointment
There was much gleeful rubbing of hands when my colleagues and I saw signs for a “new” Last Exit; one that we could hit up in the mornings on the way to work from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
There was some initial scepticism about the look it was going for — broken-down funfair meets abandoned ghost town. But understanding dawned when we heard about the Mad Max-style theme. That explained the spikes and chains, the hulking, stripped-down cars, some with admittedly cool roof-mounted guns, and the overarching colour theme of every shade of brown.
Last Exit MadX opened on Thursday, August 10, near junction 11 on Sheikh Zayed Road, 10 high-speeding lanes away from the original outpost on the opposite side of the highway. But as we discovered on our first visit there earlier this morning, there’s a lot more than that separating these two food-truck stops.
For one, there’s no Starbucks. Or any other coffee shop in sight. No coffee, at 8 in the am, on our 450th kilometre of this week. Or if there was one, it was one very well-hidden gem. To be fair — now that I’ve had my first cuppa — MadX only opened today, plus the website does list a Starbucks and there were a few spots for the food trucks that are presumably yet to roll up.
Of course there is a possibility that they’ll roll right past their destination, owing to the confusing signage, which is rendered still more obscure by roadworks currently in situ on that exact stretch of highway. Fellow commuters, beware, the service road to get to this new, mean Last Exit needs to be spotted way before you actually catch sight of the park. Keep your eyes peeled for a sign post just before you need to veer off the road, which says “Take Exit” — not the “next” exit, but the one you just drove past.
As were moaning the near miss this morning, we saw a few cars making a U-turn from the right, and driving in the opposite direction to get to MadX. This is not recommended at all — because you’ll be facing the cars exiting the park head-on. But the need for coffee, maybe a spot of breakfast, saw us taking the illicit turn anyway, all to no avail. Unlike the culinary variety of its counterpart, the capital-bound Last Exit has all of zero breakfast options and just as many healthy food alternatives. For now.
Perhaps this spot is better suited to evening drivers, commuting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, who want to catch dinner at the various pizza, burgers, Thai and Indian food joints currently available, including 800 Degrees Pizza, Burger Pit, Dirty Dog, Johnny Rockets, Pad Thai and Jaldi Jaldi.
As for us, we dodged a few oncoming cars on our way out, made a pit stop at the next petrol station and got to work in good time, disappointed but not defeated. We’ll leave it a few weeks and try again.