The lobby lounge in the Royal Mirage is breathtaking, but the veranda overlooking the sea takes the biscuit. We sunk into huge deep chairs outside in the cool, late afternoon breeze and feasted on the fabulous view while contemplating which of the three waist expanding tea options we should try. You have the choice of an Arabic tea, a traditional British one or a chocolate one (all Dhs75). We opted for the Arabic and the chocolate. Both arrived on immaculate three-tier silver cake stands. The former had tiny bowls of tabouleh, moutabel, hummus and salad accompanied by warm bread, baby wedges of melon and some classic Lebanese pastries. It was an appealing local interpretation of the classic formula. The chocolate collation included cake, mousse, tart, an éclair, a small chocolate statue and the obligatory cream scones (but not chocolate ones). Unfortunately the attractive presentation was in contrast to the mediocrity of all these confections.
But don’t let that put you off what is still a highly enjoyable afternoon. The service was slick and the waiters were good humoured and spontaneous. This is one of Dubai’s most spectacular venues, and is particularly attractive at the end of the day. We loved watching the sun sinking down into the sea over the rim of a fine tea cup. For an Arabian afternoon tea experience, this is a must.