This month there are big things happening for Bahrain’s dining scene – the first ever food caravan is set to launch in the country, bringing diners all over the Kingdom a taste of the best in mouthwatering burgers and sandwiches. FACT’s Shabana Adam meets the people behind this delicious project…
A Foodie First In Bahrain…
Abdulla Alabsi is already well acquainted with the dining community in Bahrain and their wants and needs. He is the brainchild behind two popular food brands, Blaze Burgers and il Capo – the New York-style pizza place – and now, he’s filling in a huge gap in the food market with Planet Caravan – Bahrain’s first airstream-cum-moving restaurant. Abdulla explains: “Airstreams are luxury trailers recognised by the distinctive shape of their rounded aluminium bodies which dates back to the 1930s.
We love those retro airstream trailers, so we decided to make a food truck based on them. However, instead of getting a readyto- use airstream food truck, we decided to build one from scratch, something that will materialise our vision of the ultimate food truck,” he adds
The result; Planet Caravan, a 1972 Airstream Safari, and the first fully customised food truck in the GCC. Inspiration for the concept of Planet Caravan came from a futuristic, outof- this-world theme – much like what customers can expect from the incredible food that will be served on the go. “We thought of something new, simple and exciting,” Abdulla says. “The name Planet Caravan reflects our vision to bring exceptional food as if it was out of this world. When Planet Caravan stations at a location it transfers the environment into a dining hub.”
“We thought of something new, simple and exciting… The name Planet Caravan reflects our vision to bring exceptional food as if it was out of this world.”
From start to finish, that is, from the vision to the complete product, the process of getting Planet Caravan perfect has taken around 18 months. What has kept Abdulla going throughout this time? “There is nothing like this in Bahrain,” he says. “This is a state-of-the-art food caravan, manufactured in upstate New York. We took a 1970’s airstream trailer and gave it a total makeover with all the latest gadgets and equipment to modernise it like nothing you’ve seen before. Planet Caravan will present its audience with true gourmet food rather than being just a simple fast food truck,” Abdulla continues. “The way we imagined the final result is what pushed us to keep going toward achieving it.”
Planet Caravan came into being with the help of its manufacturer Nomad Airstream, a company based out of Plattsburgh in upstate New York, and one that has customised some truly amazing airstream trailers for everyone from Madonna to the world’s leading CEOs, as well as small businesses like hair salons and pop up shops, and even personal requests like bowling alleys and a cigar lounge, amongst many more BIG ideas.
Abdulla has been in constant communication with the Nomad team over Skype, as well as visiting the site a number of times to check on the project. “We’ve faced various challenges along the way,” he admits. “First was the fact that we need to build a European standard truck in the US, which took the manufacturer a serious amount of effort to change, due to various reasons.
“Also the size of the kitchen is narrow on an airstream, so we had to work on an optimal layout to fit all the equipment. Even getting the right signboard was a challenge and we found a new technology in California that allows us to install a paper-thin signboard on the trailer body,” Abdulla reveals.
Planet Caravan will be open for business throughout the winter season in Bahrain, and Abdulla is taking all precautions to making sure that it operates as smoothly as possible. “We are having representatives from the manufacturer coming all the way from the US to give technical training to our staff on how to operate the truck,” he says. “The foodies in Bahrain actively seek new places and new experiences and know how to find them. We want to give foodies in Bahrain what they deserve, an exceptional dining experience.”
Find Planet Caravan on Instagram @ThePlanetCaravan and follow for all the latest location stops and more information.