A rather pukka cuppa in Dubai

The blog has been a bit quiet again as I have just spent a couple of weeks back in the Middle East on domestic business.  As it had been around two years since I had visited Dubai, I decided to visit for a couple of days to relax a bit and to catch up with friends.

Of course, Dubai is known for many things, like expensive, decadent cars…

 Also available in gold….

 …and with matching superhero…

Dubai is also known for its uber tall buildings, both record breaking…

…and unfinished.  I remember this twisty one getting under way in either 2008/2009…

And finally, Dubai is also known for its fantastic shopping malls and fancy hotels with amazing food. I didn’t have time, or the need to shop during this trip, but the one thing I had never done when living in the UAE was to have afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s iconic 7 star hotel.  So I called the week before to book the table but I should have called sooner, as it was fully booked for the date I wanted.  Oh dear, but AED 450 (approx £82 or $120) per head for the 7 course champagne filled extravaganza, my disappointment swiftly passed.  

After consulting my friends “in the know” about Dubai’s best places to hang out, I booked a table at the Al Fayrooz lounge, Al Qsar Hotel, Madinat Jumeriah – another (mere 5 star)  luxury hotel known to be popular with the locals for weddings.  Its afternoon tea was highly recommended, plus we would have a great view of the Burj al Arab – which was of some consolation. Although still pricey, at AED 220 per head with champagne (approx £40 or $59), or AED 150 per head without champagne (approx £27 or $40), the table was booked.

My playmate for this indulgent exercise was none other than my blogging mentor and old school friend, Marina.  It was an early birthday present for Marina as she will be celebrating a significant birthday later this year.  After all, you must have a decent justifiable reason to push the boat out.

I arrived at the Al Qsar by taxi, sweeping past some very modern Arabesque landscape architecture –  golden horse heads surrounding a fountain…

Gorgeous flowers and beautiful chandeliers in the hotel lobby made a stunning entrance…

My blogging mentor Marina in the main Al Fayrooz lounge getting ready to snap the colonial style interior…

Our view…

The main attraction for the visit – our tea, just after it arrived…

We started with the middle layer of finger sandwiches.  They were amazing – an endless supply of light roast beef, egg mayonnaise, cucumber (of course) cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese and chicken mayonnaise.  Once we had troffed those,we moved on to the lower layer – scones…Fresh fruit and plain scones were served with lemon curd or jam and clotted cream. 

These scones took me back to when I lived in Devon; my dear late mother and I often sneaked off to the Primrose Tea Rooms, Lustleigh for a real Devon cream tea….  There is the permanent debate on whether you should put cream then jam on scones, or the other way around.  You can see the right way here. We both left our toasted teacake, instead moving on to the top layer –  Victoria sponge, banana cake and English cake. After an initial inspection, Marina remarked “That’s not a Victoria sponge; it should have jam inside!”.  Its authenticity however was confirmed on closer inspection…

More yummy points were awarded once I sent this little cake home. 

We thought we were done by this stage.  Our delightful waitress Jasmine knew better though and asked us if we would like a refill and if we’d care to have a look at the cake trolley. As full as I was, I was just thinking how something chocolate would round things off nicely, and dah-nah, the Al Qasr delivered.  I chose the chocolate mint cake and Marina had a raspberry macaroon…

By this stage, we were well and truly full to the gunnels, so just sat back. Then the birthday cake arrived…  
Happy birthday Marina! After a token nibble and barely able to move, we finally flopped back into our chairs, enjoyed the view, the atmosphere and chatted, only disturbed when the birds stopped by to pick up our crumbs….
My very own Burj birdie….
 
On the way out, Marina and I checked out the hotel shops.  No postcards here though.  Other than in the UAE, you don’t find many hotels at sell Vertu phones…
Although we didn’t get to the skybar afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, we had a very relaxing afternoon complemented by a great quality afternoon tea served by attentive staff in lovely surrounds with fantastic views. This afternoon tea is highly recommended.  But you’ll need to run it off the next day!
 
 
 

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