This hotel lobby café has a delightful Arabic feel, with a stand of palm trees reaching up to the atrium and a cloth-draped ceiling, but a painful lack of any souk-style hustle and bustle.
The staff assure us that Sunday to Thursday it’s a hive of activity, with lunchers from the nearby office towers on Sheikh Zayed Road. This mkes sense, as it wouldn’t take too much of their lunch hour deciding what to eat.
Far from extensive, the menu includes finger foods, salads, sandwiches and burgers. But if you have time, linger longer and sample their traditional afternoon tea – excellent value at Dhs120 per person.
The bottomless pit of mini sandwiches and the deliciously unusual conserves and clotted cream on the warm scones tick all our boxes. But it’s the jam-packed dessert tray that really gets us excited.
With chocolate mousse, berry clafouti and dried fruit brownies, as well as opera cake and Monarch’s own signature gateaux, there’s almost too much to choose from. But the mini portions permit extensive sampling, thankfully. The absence of live music and other customers is a little off-putting but it shouldn’t detract from a pleasant and relaxing afternoon tea experience.