6 great spots for afternoon tea in Dubai
Dating back to the polite society of Britain in the early 19th century, afternoon tea is an institution that perhaps owes more to tradition than essential sustenance. It was developed as a means for upper-class ladies to gather and mix after an afternoon of, well, not a great deal – but where refined dresses could be worn and gossip shared.
What’s changed? Not that much, really, although we’re pretty sure the food has improved. If you want to partake in this indulgence, there are a lot of places bringing out the small plates, the cake stands and the generous pots of tea. Here are a few of our favourites…
Afternoon tea with a distinctly nautical touch is on offer in The Atlantis in their signature restaurant, Ossiano. With your table beside the Ambassador Lagoon, which is home to more than 65,000 marine species, you can tuck into a range of treats prepared by chef de cuisine Gregoire Berge. It begins with the likes of blinis, Arctic king crab and avocado sandwiches, lobster eclairs, smoked salmon, and cream cheese and saffron pancakes – not forgetting the caviar, of course.
The sweet selection is equally opulent. There’s a lollipop carrot cake, a linzer tart and some caramelised apple cake. Scones? Of course. Chocolates? Yep, dark chocolate pralines, chocolate dipped dates, chocolate cupcakes and an almost obscenely indulgent chocolate financier.
The acoustic guitarist is a nice touch but, really, the atmosphere down here is more than enough on its own. But remember, don’t feed the fish. On Saturday, April 22, Ossiano is hosting a special one-off chocolate afternoon tea for AED785, which is part of the hotel’s Chocolate Week.
Where: Atlantis, The Palm Jumeriah
When: Saturdays, 2pm-4pm
Price: AED 295 (soft drinks), AED385 (with bubbles).
Contact: +971 4 426 2626, website
Demoiselle by Galvin
Any place that has Harrod’s in their DNA ought to lay on an above-par afternoon tea, and this one has a dose of French style, too. Guests can choose between the “classic” and the “chocolate” offerings, with the former all homemade finger sandwiches – try the air-dried beef with horseradish and capers – and freshly baked scones. The chocolate variety serves up plates of chocolate eclairs, Manjari ganache and a chocolate mille-feuille. Yum.
Where: City Walk
When: Daily, 2pm-7pm
Price: AED98 (classic); AED114 (chocolate).
Contact: +971 4 590 5076, website
Take a break from making millions, or even have a refined meeting to ensure you can make a million more, in this upscale lounge in the Four Seasons DIFC – complete with great views of Burj Khalifa. In addition to the tea selections, the food options serve up warm scones (orange, cheddar, and walnut), savoury bites such as the lobster toast and truffled beef tartare, and a range of pastries, including the appropriately named raspberry financier and a dark chocolate yule log. And they’re all delivered to you on a specially designed four-tiered tea stand. Fancy.
Where: Four Seasons DIFC
When: Daily, 2pm-6pm
Price: AED170 (Jing Tea Selection), AED255 (with Italian bubbles), AED270 (with French bubbles).
Contact: +971 4 506 0000, website
Not many places will beat the views at this afternoon tea. Located on the top floor of the iconic Burj Al Arab, with expansive views over the Arabian Gulf – with The Palm and the World Islands in the foreground – this is a place to let the rest of the day slowly ebb away. Pastries and cakes are all served with a choice of homemade jams and, of course, plenty of Devonshire clotted cream. But, well, back to that view...
Where: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
When: Sat-Thurs; first seating at 1pm, second seating at 4pm.
Contact: +971 4 301 7600, website
Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum and Mason has sold tea for more than 300 years and has buyers across the world to bring the best leaves and blends back to their stores. Their afternoon tea, then, is rightly famous. It begins with a pot of their renowned Afternoon Tea – although you can choose any blend you like – and includes a classic china cake stand loaded up with light finger sandwiches on the lowest tier, scones, jam and cream on the second, and delicious cakes and pastries on the top tier. But start wherever you like.
Where: The Waterfront Promenade, Downtown Dubai
Contact: +971 4 388 2627, website
A newcomer on the block, the art-crafted afternoon tea at the Lounge in the new Address Boulevard wins many prizes for quirky creativity. For instance, they serve the pastries in a small chest of drawers, with a different selection in each, like canapes and exotic sweets. Then there’s a cheesecake that is shaped to look like caviar. There are scones, too, of course and a range of teas. Welcome to the club, guys.
Where: The Address Boulevard, Downtown Dubai
When: Daily, 2.30pm-6.30pm
Price: AED140 (with welcome beverage), AED195 (with a glass of bubbly)
Contact: +971 4 561 8555, website