Afternoon tea in Dubai
We’ve tried the city’s top teas – here’s our verdict
Strolling through Dubai's cool and quirky City Walk district can feel more like being in the middle of England than the Middle East, with its café-lined streets complete with vintage red telephone kiosks and post boxes.
So the presence of a quintessentially English eatery harking back to the Victorian era of elegance and sophistication makes for a perfect fit.
As soon as you step through the doors of The Victorian you are taken on a trip back in time.
The walls are adorned with striking paintings from a bygone English era, while the floral-patterned furniture makes for a regal atmosphere befitting of a traditional tea room.
So far, so Victorian-era. Not to mention the music, a popular wedding march is playing. It’s all a tad unusual but makes for a very pleasant atmosphere.
Already impressed by this slice of old world culture, we can't wait to find out what tastes of England are in store on the menu.
Soft slithers of chicken liver, served with fluffy mash and a sharp balsamic vinegar, are presented with an artful flourish and the dish tastes just as good as it looks.
The traditional fish and chips is given a regal revamp. The beautifully bubbly batter encases delicious white chunks of cod and is served with tasty sweet potato chips, complemented by truffle aioli, sweet chilli sauce and excellent mushy peas.
To top off an excellent meal, it is hard to resist the rich array of decadent desserts, including a palate-pleasing Eton mess and bakewell tart with clotted cream.
The Victorian oozes class from its delightful décor through to its dishes that are befitting of any discerning diner.
The setting for afternoon tea is luxurious and refined. The tea stand comes with a dainty selection of little finger sandwiches that are colourful and well-presented. The volume of sweets far outweigh the savouries here, so if you’re not of the sweet-toothed, you may be disappointed, since those delicious little sandwich bites will be over all too quickly. Keeping things traditional, a crumbly plain scone and a sweet raisin rendition are included on the stand, coming with a serving of strawberry jam, clotted cream and lemon curd. There’s also a double decker Victoria sponge slice encased in white chocolate for a little decadence, chocolate and date offerings a fruit tart and two strawberry macarons. The portion size of a stand is just enough for one, and with some refreshing tea blends – try the honey-sweet and flavoursome Ceylon tea – you’ll end the afternoon perfectly satiated.
Dhs160 per stand.
City Walk is fast becoming a go-to hub for all things foodie, we’ve got Michelin-starred chefs, family-friendly cafés, tapas, burgers, salads and more.
If you’re after something on the quaint side, though, head to Jolie, a floral boutique café.
The café is kitsch, but cute, with tea-shop-style white-washed furniture and, of course, plenty of fresh blooms. The flowery theme is strong: the ceiling is covered in silk roses, while your coffee will come with a fresh rose. Your meal will most likely contain edible flowers, too.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is a delightful menu sure to pique any diner’s interest. For a morning-time meal don’t miss the avocado on toast. Topped with slices of grilled halloumi, the avocado is guacamole-esque, and the crispy sourdough toast lying beneath is smothered in a tasty, tangy beetroot hummus. The lobster crêpes, meanwhile are decadent and delicious, with sizeable lobster chunks tossed in a light Marie Rose sauce. Cakes and afternoon teas are also delightful.
For a relaxed meal in a pretty setting, Jolie is très bon.
A bona fide family-friendly Dubai institution, Reform Social & Grill is that rare thing – a community pub. Set in the Lakes, it is perfect for a weekend meal with a few drinks, mum and dad able to chill out in the garden while the kids play on the small playground and makeshift football pitch alongside it. In the week the place is also rammed, but with people popping in for a pint and bite to eat on the way home after work. And those bites are very good, by the way. Pâtés, steak tartare and salads pepper the starters – and the pear and stilton tart is a corker, too – while there are four packed sharing platters to choose from, top grills, good salads and a lovely ploughman’s. A special shout-out to the burgers as well. Juicy and fat. Just as they should be. Good breakfasts, too. This place is highly recommended.
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