Christmas is in fashion
Some of the quaintest, most whimsical treats of the season are being served up at the Raffles Dubai, and they deliver a double whammy by being aesthetic and appetising in equal measure.
Set under a hand-painted, wall-sized advent calendar in the Raffles Salon, their famed fashion-themed Collection Afternoon Tea in its Christmas edition mixes up the classics and some specials in stunning new avatars. Fruit cake is wrapped in Santa’s coat and his hat is a clever chestnut concoction, the stolen is dusted with snow and marzipan lends itself to ribbons and bows.
The savoury bites include baby blinis topped with caviar and gold leaf, and an exotic espresso marinated foie gras. The piece de resistance is Mrs. Santa’s High Heels, an edible red shoe with white trimmings that is heartbreakingly difficult to eat after photographing from every angle.
With a 20-feet tree, a 6-metre gingerbread village and a miniature train in the vicinity, there is much to be said about festive spirit and the courteous service at this stylishly beautiful venue. It is also heartening enough to make you feel right at home.
In between all the shopping and feasting, take some time off and book yourself and a companion to a true Yuletide treat.
Details: The Christmas afternoon tea is priced at Dh249 per couple or Dh449 with flutes of effervescence, and is served from 2 to 7 pm, everyday throughout December. Call 04 324 8888 or email email@example.com
Two ways with tea
Raising the bar this festive season is At.mosphere Lounge on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, which combines European traditions with Dubai grandeur perfectly.
The chic, stratospheric venue serves up a duo of exclusive afternoon tea experiences, accompanied by the relaxing strains of harpist Harjoot Singh and Artur Grigoryan on sax.
Select the La Gourmandise option for a classic collection of mini sandwiches, pâtisserie, scones and fresh berries, served with your preferred hot or refreshing beverage from our extensive menu of global teas and coffees. Or, upgrade the moment with the venue’s Luxurious Menu, which includes signature delicacies, main course selection and a chilled flute of something sparkling.
Details: The teas run daily through December from noon to 4.30pm. The traditional La Gourmandise menu is priced Dh320 per person for non-window tables, while the Luxurious Menu costs Dh420 per head, with an extra Dh50 for a window table, and Dh650 per person including a bottle of sparkling beverage. For reservations, call 04 8883828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
High-falutin' or low-brow?
Those who never can quite agree on what to order might want to check out Taj Dubai, whose Art Deco-themed Byzantium Lounge has just reintroduced the time-honoured tradition of afternoon tea. Choose from one of three options while sitting back in with its plush, upholstered chairs and eyeballing original artworks by local artists.
Fans of doing things properly will want to book the the hotel’s thoroughly traditional affair, which features smoked salmon blini, plain and raising scones with clotted cream and preserves, and a selection of topping sandwiches: cucumber, roast beef and horseradish cream, cheddar, or egg and cress. For something sweet to follow, there’s pistachio macarons, Valrhona chocolate cake, citrus pâte des fruits and mini red velvet cupcakes.
The Taj Afternoon Tea is an ode to India and its vibrant colours, chaos and charm. Besides traditional items, the luxury hotel group serves up its version of Indian street fare, including samosa and papri chaat and pea tikkis, as well as subcontinental classics such as kala jamuns, saffron sandesh and cardamom pound cake.
But this is a special season, and the hotel’s Festive High Tea is the one we’d most likely opt for. This includes Scottish smoked salmon and avocado on rye, pulled beef and brie sandwiches, Lobster and truffle potatoes on toast, a quiche of morel mushrooms, devilled quail’s egg vol au vents, Black Forest Yule log, pistachio coconut cubes, tiramisu pyramids, mini mince pies and cinnamon scones with clotted cream and preserves.
All three teas come served with a choice of premium Newby teas and herbal infusions.
Details: Both the traditional and the Taj afternoon teas cost Dh200 per head, while the Festive High Tea costs Dh225. Both are inclusive of municipality fees and service charges. To book, call 04 438 3127 or email email@example.com.
Stuck with last-minute gift-shopping and need to take a break? Pop into Karat, at The Address Dubai Mall, right next door to the shops. The stylish lobby lounge is the focal point of the hotel and a lovely place for relaxing and socialising as you rest your weary feet.
Guests can tuck into a mouthwatering selection of seasonal pastry creations and festive cookies, all of which will be complemented by special festive hot beverages.
Details: Available from3pm to 6pm through to December 30, the festive afternoon tea at Karat is priced at Dh180 per person for adults, while children aged 6-11 years get 50 per cent off. Those aged 5 years and below eat for free.
That smell of baking
What’s Christmas without the aromas of freshly baked goodies? If you agree, head down to La La Farine café and bakery over by the Dubai Water Canal at the JW Marriott Marquis, and stuff yourself silly in this elegant bakery.
On the menu are Christmas cookies, traditional German Stollen and aromatic gingerbread, all accompanied by luxury Tchaba tea.
Details: Running through to December 26, Festive Afternoon Tea in La Farine costs Dh250 per couple and is available from 3pm to 6pm. Call 4 414 3000 or book at Jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
For something a little bit off the beaten track head over to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, whose Sultan Lounge serves up a delectable array of all things Christmassy for its Festive Afternoon Lounge. When we visited on a sampling recently, we were treated to some stunning fruitcakes, beautifully painted macarons and an endless array of bite-sized treats. The hotel promises two types of scones, marzipan stollen, clementine macarons, opera cake, a feuillentine Yule log and mince pies.
And not only are you sure to feel like royalty with the excellent service, there’s plenty of opportunity for festive selfies before and after at the hotel’s life-size gingerbread house right next door.
Details: Through to January 7 from 2.30pm to 6.30pm, priced Dh220 per person paired with a variety of signature teas, and Dh250 per person with a glass of sparkling bubbly. Children between the ages of 4 and 12 enjoy a 50 per cent discount, while those under the age of 4 eat for free. Call 04 453 0444 or email JZSRestaurants@jumeirah.com