Tea At The Ritz?

All the elegance - as is only to be expected - can be found at the Ritz-Carlton. But did it live up to its famous reputation for afternoon tea?

Clotted cream and strawberry jam, gleaming silver teapots and cake stands, fine white linen and tinkling palm court music; are all synonymous with tea at the Ritz. However, some aspects of tea at the Ritz Carlton Dubai were more tarnished than polished. The lounge itself is demure in its grandeur with a lofty vaulted ceiling, colossal chandeliers, thick pile carpets on highly polished wood and deep comfy sofas around low tables. We opted to sit on the veranda where we could soak up the last of the afternoon sun and enjoy the sea views, but you’ll be stunned by the interior on a hot June day.

There are several options at the Ritz: ‘Light tea’ (Dhs78) — your choice of tea with sandwiches, scones and pastries, ‘Royale tea’ (Dhs120) — the same but with a glass of Kir Royale to start, ‘Ladies tea’ (Dhs60) with berry fruits and cream instead of pastries and ‘Persian tea’ (Dhs36) — Iranian sweets , dates, cucumber, grapes and strawberries with black tea. We opted for the ‘light’ version and from a choice of 15 teas settled on Moroccan mint. Flustered waitresses watched by a stern man in a suit set up the table for us with a selection of scuffed cutlery crying out for a polish. Our food arrived on a cake stand, which was also much the worse for wear. Scuffing of silverware is not in itself a particular problem (perhaps it is just a sign of a venue’s popularity) but it seemed out of place in the Ritz Carlton, particularly when accompanied by smudgy plates off which we had to eat. We expected more attention to detail.

Our four tiny sandwiches also lacked finesse, especially the unseasoned and soggy cucumber one and the chunky brown wedge filled with smoked salmon and musty alfalfa sprouts. Then there was the square of arid pumpernickel with a mound of soft cheese and grainy mustard and the merest ribbon of proscuitto on top. The scones were fine, but not like Grandma used to make. We enjoyed the chocolate cone filled with mousse and the tiny fruit tartlet. We thought the pistachio mousse cake had an unusually glossy finish to it, then we realised it was still wrapped in plastic; another case of unnecessary inattention to detail.

For the elegance of the lounge, the Ritz cannot be beaten in Dubai and we desperately wanted the quality of the tea to match it. Unfortunately, we discovered that attention to detail was lacking, and this detracted from what would otherwise have been a sumptuous experience.

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