For Brits craving a taste of home, you can’t get more quintessentially English than afternoon tea at The Ritz.
I decided to pop on down to The Ritz-Carlton JBR to sample the delights on offer in the famous Lobby Lounge.
Taking afternoon tea at The Ritz has become somewhat of a regular feature in the social calendar of many a socialite and lady-who-lunches and I was under no assumption that it would be any different on UAE soil.
The Ritz-Carlton located on the Jumeirah Beach Residences strip along from the marina is a private luxurious hotel that plays host to all manner of families and business professionals alike who opt to stay here for the Ritz Carlton’s distinguished heritage.
Ushered in from the blazing sun and into the hotel lobby and through to the aptly named Lobby Lounge, yes it’s stunning in an understated, expensive sort of way and yes the enormous chandeliers hanging from the beamed ceiling that sparkle and glisten in the streaky sunlight are bigger than most people’s apartment but it’s all very tasteful. There is no chintz here, no patterned china or gilt edged table clothes, in fact it looks remarkably like any other hotel Lobby Lounge. Of course, for those in the know The Lobby Lounge,with its high wooden ceiling and Palladian windows is actually the architectural showpiece of The Ritz-Carlton Dubai.
I settled onto the sofa and was presented almost immediately with the menu showcasing the three different types of afternoon tea on offer; The Simple Treat, The Traditional Treat and The Royal Treat. The Simple Treat is a smaller version of the afternoon tea whereas The Traditional Treat is high tea as you know it. The Royal Treat includes a lass of champagne. Mindful that it was early afternoon I opted for The Traditional Treat, which I was told was a selection of tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones, pastries and tea leaves of my choice.
The polite (and perfectly made-up) waitress helped to explain the different types of tea on offer, of which there were over 20 all perfectly displayed in little glass cases inside a wooden box and available to smell should you wish to get a feel for the aroma of each. From black teas such as Darjleelng and Earl Grey to green and fruity teas such as Lychee with Rose and Ginger, there was a huge selection on offer which made choosing one near impossible. I opted for a traditional black tea, a Single Estate Darjeelng, a famous Indian tea that has a subtle aroma and a prominent Muscatel note. I’m told it’s the most sophisticated and refined tea, well when in Rome… (or The Ritz-Carlton).
Tea was served loose and in a nondescript white china teapot disappointingly which was so pocket-sized it poured only two small cups and had to constantly be refilled if like me, you like / need / want your caffeine fix.
The Traditional Treat was served on a simple chrome cake stand and featured three layers of delicious looking treats. My first thought, rather greedily was that I hope they refilled it (of course they did) and with eyes seemingly bigger than my belly I tucked in.
The English tea sandwiches were a mixture of traditional favourites such as cucumber and egg mayonnaise with the crusts cut off of course, smoked salon, coronation chicken and pastrami beef. All of which were delightful. Accompanying this savoury treat was a goats cheese Quiche which was full of flavour.
The scones and pastries were all served at once at the same time as the sandwiches which was surprisingly as normally the scones come out as the piece-de-resistance but none-the-less I was sure they would both be eaten. Devonshire clotted cream and mixed preserves were served alongside and were smoothed onto the perfectly baked scones with joy. The afternoon pastries consisted of macaroons which were amongst the very best macaroons I’ve tasted outside of Paris and delicious petit fours such as a mouth-wateringly good chocolate mousse and cheesecake. In fact they were so good I didn’t quite manage them all and the staff were more than happy to package them up for me so I could devour them at home at my leisure later that day.
All in all it was a sedate, stylish way to spend an afternoon, perfect for catching up with friends or treating visiting family. The harpist who plays throughout the afternoon from 3pm provided a blissful, relaxing ambience that could easily see you while away hour upon hour savouring delicious treats whilst escaping the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Prices start at AED 85 for The Simple Treat and range up to AED 270 for The Royal Treat
Click here for further information or to make a reservation