This is one of those posts, where I hope to tempt you visually into an afternoon tea with a difference. For a few days each week (Saturday and Wednesday), the tiered platters that we often associate with afternoon tea are stored away, and instead a lavish help yourself afternoon tea spread is set out to be enjoyed in Al Bayt at The Palace, Downtown Dubai.
Start off by selecting your seat in the lounge, a view of the Burj perhaps on the terrace, or indoors with some a/c and the same view and some dappled sunlight, or perhaps a little further back, where you can have some privacy and seclusion when the curtains are pulled across, giving the illusion of having your own private banquet area. Once you have decided where to sit, take a brief tour of the tea section and allow the tea sommelier to tantalise your senses as you have a brief introduction to the large selection of TWG Teas, choose something that you are familiar with, perhaps some Darjeeling, English Breakfast tea or Green Tea, or let the sommelier guide you to some of the special blends including a Weekend in Dubai, Emperor Sencha and Green Beauty.
Whilst I loved the tea selection on offer, I’m a huge coffee fan, and, wanting to be ‘bedazzled’ I ordered the 24 carat gold leaf Cappuccino, which was served with a generous topping of sparkling dazzly gold leaf as well as four delectable macarons which were exceptionally good and also featured on the buffet table, thankfully as they were too good to share.
Let me suggest here, that you take your first walk around the buffet selection to help you formulate your ‘plan of attack’ – the central table is full of bite sized sandwiches, and savoury cold treats which are beautifully prepared and a nice size for nibbling on as you chat. There is a table laden with some hot savoury choices just a little way away, don’t miss this, the mini quiches were quite divine.
Walk a little further around the large central table and feast your eyes on the sweet treats, the week we were there, the theme was chocolate, so imaging the table laden with deep dark rich smooth dark chocolate, lighter chocolate mouses, decadent cakes, strawberries dipped in chocolate, feel virtuous as you bite into one of these, as well as jars full of the most delightful chocolate bonbons, take one, take two and then dip your hand in again, they are one of the ‘hidden gems’ of the table.
But don’t stop there ! Walk back to the hot section and then take a look at the scones which are served warm, I’m a bit of a scone addict or snob, it’s the Brit inside me and can tell you that these were good, actually they were exceptionally good. The plain one was light and fluffy and just calling out to be slathered in clotted cream and strawberry jam. The other, had chocolate chips inside it and was rich enough as it was, but of course feel free to slather on more cream and perhaps some more jam too if you wish.
Traditional afternoon tea and an arabian version are served daily, with the exception of Saturdays and Wednesdays when Connoisseurs of Afternoon Tea is available. The theme for the afternoon tea changes every month, with the current theme being Arabian Tea Festival
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Disclaimer : afternoon tea courtesy of The Palace Downtown Dubai, as part of a business meeting, with absolutely no obligation to share.