Other than Downton Abbey and Bridgerton, the British aristocracy’s greatest contribution to culture, pop and otherwise, (in my opinion) is the Afternoon Tea. Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Russell, did us all a solid back in 1840 when she gave into her mid-meal hunger pangs and invented an afternoon ritual. A ritual that is now the pinnacle of elegance. Exotic teas from distant corners of the world, finger sandwiches and pastries so dainty baby birds could eat them, all served in opulent surroundings. What’s not to love? Afternoon tea in Dubai gets the city’s larger-than-life treatment. We’ve picked six that are whistle-worthy.
You know what rivals the splendor of the manor houses of nobility? The world’s only seven-star hotel. Like the cake stand that exotic food is served on, the extravagance of the afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab’s atrium lounge restaurant is also multi-tiered. Salmon gravalax encrusted with generous lashings of gold leaf and bluefin tuna tartalettes sit pretty next to sakura and grapefruit spongecakes, and high tea classic, clotted cream and scones. Wash it all down with flutes of Louis Roederer Brut champagne and a smorgasbord of teas ranging from matcha, chocolate tea, perfumed black teas and fruity herbal teas to the tune of live classical music.
From 3pm to 6pm, daily. Call 800 323232 or email email@example.com
📍 1st floor, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – Jumeirah St – Umm Suqeim 3
This afternoon tea at the charming lobby lounge of the freshly opened Hilton Palm West Beach is buzz-worthy. Its beehive-shaped afternoon tea stand is a bright yellow dollhouse toy come to life. The playful bee theme continues in the menu dripping with honey – literally fresh honey from Hatta. Each of the hive stand’s drawers swarm with pastries such as the carrot-shaped carrot cake and Hatta honey cake. Inventive savoury treats like asparagus quiches, ricotta and bresaola cereal rolls, and truffle arancini with coffee foam also bumble their way into the mix.
AED 289 for 2 people; from 2pm to 5pm daily. Call 04 230 0067
📍Palm West Beach – The Palm Jumeirah – Dubai
Since the previous high tea stings like a bee, here’s one to make you float like a butterfly. Perched on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building, this glamorous Art Deco restaurant puts the ‘high’ in high tea. A floral garden and sweeping staircase entrance introduced during a recent refurbish add European chateau vibes to the lounge where the High Tea In The Sky is served. Sat amongst pillowy clouds, you’ll nibble on a variety of finger sandwiches, pastries, English scones, and luscious mains like fennel risotto and seafood gnocchi . Refreshing mocktails – there’s an aloe vera juice called ‘Liquid Spa’ – teas and coffees are included.
From AED 550 per person; daily 12:30pm to 4:30pm. Call 04 888 3828
📍Burj Khalifa – 122nd Floor – Downtown Dubai – Dubai
Named after the legendary NYC tearoom where wealthy 1890s socialites would ‘peacock’ or strut their jewels and designer clothes, the Waldorf’s signature lobby lounge packs oodles of history and airy light-filled sea views. Part of that legacy is the iconic afternoon teas served here with storied dishes such as the legendary Waldorf Salad and the famous red velvet cake (a Waldorf chef fuelled its popularity). Lemon curd with scones, macaroons of the day, chicken and mustard and egg and watercress sandwiches, and Newby teas are other highlights. Dress up in your best plumage to continue the afternoon tea tradition.
AED 170 per person; from 1pm to 4pm. Call 04 818 2222
📍Crescent Rd – The Palm Jumeirah – Dubai
There are two tantalising afternoon tea in Dubai to choose from at this gorgeous ancient Egypt-themed property’s luxe salon. One’s their award-winning Floral Afternoon tea that infuses flower essences in savoury and sweet dishes served on ornate Victorian-era trays. Cured salmon with hibiscus extract, rose-shaped brie mousse with edible flowers and Jasmine-flavoured chocolate ganache are some of the showstoppers.
AED 175; from 2pm-7pm. Call 04 324 8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
However, the second’s a visually arresting Treasures of Arabia afternoon tea that tucks away regional delicacies in miniature sandook – a traditional wooden chest. Osmaliyeh (pastry) wrapped shrimp, and falafel with white sesame are some savoury treats. Meanwhile, stuffed apricot kashta (cream) & pistachio, date & caramel coffee cake sweeten things up. Unlimited Moroccan tea, Turkish coffee or Arabic coffee is included.
AED 160; from 2pm to 7pm. Call 04 324 8888 or visit www.raffles.com/dubai
📍Wafi – Sheikh Rashid Road – Oud Metha Dubai