Very soon, summer will kick into the UAE in earnest. But before that, why not enjoy the terrific weather along with some scones and nibbles?
The Bulgari Garden Afternoon tea, which runs until the March 31 at The Palace Downtown Dubai, is unapologetically decadent. It’s a modern and whimsical take on the English tea drinking tradition.
As soon as you step into the lush lakeside garden, you are transported into a quaint place where harpists play beautiful tunes on one side and the towering Burj Khalifa gleams on the other.
It’s an experience that draws greatly on the fantastic weather that we have been enjoying in the UAE this year.
As soon as you enter the garden, the warm staff make it their business to make you comfortable in their garden filled with white chairs and tables. There’s even a tree with pastel birdcages and butterflies hanging off it. As far as setting aan elegant ambience goes, this afternoon tea had struck all the right notes.
But you may wonder what’s the connection between an afternoon tea and the perfume Bulgari? The flavours of the dishes such as the tart — lemon bergamot — are inspired from the Bulgari range of scents. There’s even an ornate counter lined with pretty perfume bottles to give you a teaser of what they smell like.
But it’s not just the fragrance from a bottle that wafted to our table. The sight of the three-tiered stand filled with sweet and savoury delicacies gave us an inkling to the scope of the afternoon.
On the top tier, there was the savoury roasted rib-eye beef with horseradish sauce and green pepper, coronation chicken on tomato bread with crispy walnut and a tangy cucumber gazpacho among other finger-foods. While the gazpacho was refreshing, the tiny beef sandwich was divine.
We could get as many refills as we wanted.
On tier two, it was a haven for those with a sweet tooth. The cheese cake had an orange and fig finish, while the strawberry tart complemented your piping hot tea.
But what’s a tea without some good old scones? My favourite were the green tea infused scones. Dab some jam on it and you know you will not stop at just one.
What my partner and I loved about the experience was that while the high tea was a byword for opulence, it didn’t leave you in a food coma. The bite-sized portions could be refilled, but it’s difficult to go overboard with it. Just like the steaming tea, the ambience was a catalyst to some good conversations. Just behind us, a large group of women were celebrating a baby shower and their happy chatter was a testament to how party friendly the venue was.
While the atmosphere was relaxing, it was underwhelming not to get freshly-brewed tea. My English Breakfast tea came out of a tea bag, which was unexpected. But it’s a tiny blip on an otherwise enjoyable afternoon.
If you are looking to pamper your loved one or try something other than your traditional brunch on a weekend with friends, be sure to try out the Bulgari Garden Afternoon Tea.
Where: The Palace Downtown Dubai
Credit card: Yes
Average cost per person: Dh200
Opening hours: Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until March 31 from 1pm to 4pm.