Le Cafe Afternoon tea - Sofitel, Abu Dhabi
Well, moving on to Afternoon tea at The Sofitel. Unfortunately we booked for a Friday and arrived at 4pm, around the time they were clearing the tables after brunch. It was therefore a bit noisy. Afternoon Tea is served in an adjacent lounge, Le Cafe. It is a gorgeous lounge with white sofas and tables making it feel fresh and light.
The seating is challenging. I found the table much too low and the chairs, while comfortable, seemed inappropriate for eating. The lounge, I felt, is more designed for drinks and very light snacks. Our orders were taken and I helped myself to a newspaper, one of about 8 available to guests. There was also selection of magazines. Good.
As usual I ordered the Earl Grey. Boring. predictable. I know, but while I am adventurous in other areas of dining, I do not sway from Earl Grey. The tea set consisted of a 3 tier tray stand with your usual selection of afternoon tea goodies, with some interesting and delicious options. I loved the foie gras and fig jam combo sandwich. The salmon was pretty good too. However, I don't see why they've gone with the three level sandwich. It is big and lacks the look of refinement. The sweets were ok, with nothing particularly memorable. However, a stand-out item was the scones. I think scones are the centre piece of a good tea, and while they were crumbly, I still enjoyed them.
A disappointing aspect was the service. Somewhere they got my tea order wrong, and first time I was given mint tea and later I was offered some Chinese/Early Grey blend. Pretty basic stuff here. The end result was service that was pretty standard. You know, with all these 5* properties coming up, hotels need to realise people will not return to a restaurant because the food was exceptional or the view spectacular. They will invariably return because the service was exceptional.
Overall it was nice. A safe word. I cannot say I was wowed. Service makes a huge difference.