Dubai; We’ve seen a whole host of Michelin star chefs descend on the UAE in the last few months – all for lunches and dinners. However we now have our first Michelin-starred afternoon tea in Dubai and all thanks goes to media darling Gary Rhodes. One can now partake in the quintessential British ritual at Rhodes in Residence in Grosvenor House’s Tower Two.
The invention of the afternoon tea dates back to the 1840′s and is widely credited to one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope 7th, the Duchess of Bedford, to appease her mid-afternoon hunger pans between lunch and dinner especially in the summer when dinner was served later around 9ish.
Rhodes in Residence is in fact the open-plan lobby lounge on the mezzanine level of Tower Two – may not sound that appealing but it’s in fact quite a cosy, compact number with faux fire and Union Jack cushions adding to the traditional Brit atmosphere. Pick a table or ensconce yourself in a sofa, whilst perusing the afternoon tea menu. You have three choices – a tiered afternoon tea stand with a choice of tea or coffee (AED 150), or upgrade to a glass of champers with Gosset (AED 250) or Taittinger Rosé (AED 275).
Sticking true to tradition, expect to start with finger sandwiches – cucumber and chive creme fraiche, quail’s egg cress and mayo, smoked salmon, lemon chicken and roast beef – all with the crusts chopped off as per tradition. May be a waste, but ever so decadent. Moving onto more savouries, we shared some divine mini Scotch eggs (with quail egg), salmon pâté cones and warm salmon croquettes dipped in hollandaise sauce, but note these dishes do change.
It’s then onto Gary’s light, fluffy and warm miniature scones – made famous as petit fours at his signature restaurant here, Mezzanine – served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. A host of cakes then dock up – warm raspberry buttered crumpets (FooDiva’s fave), Victoria sponge, chocolate muffins, lemon and blueberry cake and Dundee honey fruit cake – followed by the finale of a mini red berry Eton Mess, true to the original recipe. The menu features an extensive tea leaf selection including hard-to-find smokey Lapsang Souchong.
Service was impeccably prompt and courteous, whilst our request for more scones was happily accommodated…at no extra charge. And guess what…just for Wimbledon season until July 8th, fresh strawberries and cream are included in the afternoon tea menu, whilst watching the tennis live.
Rhodes in Residence is located at Grosvenor House Tower Two, Dubai. Open daily from 7am to 1am with afternoon tea served between 3pm and 6pm. T; +971 4 3176000. Afternoon tea packages from AED 150 to AED 275.
Unlike the Duchess of Bedford, after indulging in this spread (photos here show tea for four ), I can guarantee you won’t have much of an appetite for dinner – in fact stick to a light lunch as well. I’ll sign off with a quote that resonates strongly with moi…“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James, American-born writer and Anglophile (1843 – 1916).
Would you agree?