A journal, inspired by my love for my daughter, that embraces quality food, service and experiences which make life worth living. In the words of Tennyson's Ulysses, " I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees." Seeking that incredible dining or hotel experience and writing about it. Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Afternoon Tea in Manama - Downtown Rotana, Bahrain
Afternoon Tea is a wonderful tradition that dates back as far as 1840 and has been a favourite part of my life for the last 20 years or so. There is something ceremonial and elegant about it, isn't there? I am always up for a cup of tea, especially when it is part of this wonderful tradition. I recently tried the Afternoon Tea at the City Lobby Lounge at Downtown Rotana in Bahrain.
As important as the actual pastries and sandwiches is undoubtedly the setting. With so much natural light coming into the City Lobby lounge, there can be no complaints. People -watching while sipping on a cup of Earl Grey tea never looked so appealing!
The cafe in the lounge has some wonderful macarons, and I am tempted to skip afternoon tea, but I decide to save them for another day. Besides, I think to myself, the Afternoon Tea set, coming in at 20BD including unlimited teas, coffees and Prosecco is a super value for money deal. I resist the macarons and order my afternoon tea. By the way, if you have never tried it, it is not a meal as such. Traditionally, it was enjoyed between lunch and the main evening meal.
I do indeed choose Earl Grey as my tea choice - there is a wide selection of teas and coffees. I do not stand on ceremony and have a glass of Prosecco too. Bubbly with afternoon tea has not been around since 1840, but it has become very fashionable to have the two together.
The set features, of course, scones. There are three types offered - chocolate, raisin and the classic plain scone. Home made jam and cream complete the top tier in this 3-tier stand. The plain scone is definitely my favourite as it balances the sweetness from the jam rather well. But this is what is fun about afternoon tea when you are two - you get to discuss your respective favourites. It is quite interactive.
The two bottom tiers have a selection of sweet in the middle and then savoury treats at the bottom. Of the sweet offerings, the Opera cake is, as expected, the highlight. Classic French. The cheesecake works well for me. It is creamy but firm, and more importantly, the perfect size. Finally, there is a macaron! With a custard filling. Delish!
As for the savoury, the lobster roll brings something different to the set. This is continued by the Truffle egg and Parmesan crisp - it is so good to see these usually-lager than life ingredients on such a small scale - lobster and truffle oil.
Overall, at 12 BD with teas and coffees and 20BD with free flowing bubbly, this is great value for money, especially if you consider that it runs from 3-5pm daily. My daughter, who has grown up with Afternoon Tea - she had her first in Singapore when she was 3 - enjoyed it. She liked the casual and relaxed nature of the service. I agreed with her. Afternoon Tea is the ideal way to experience the attentive service at the Rotana hotel while at the same time having some delightful sweet and savoury pastries and sandwiches!
There are those things we aspire to in life and the luxury of first class travel will be on many mortals’ bucket list. It is an almost hallowed space on the plane, separated by that dreaded curtain, and in today’s changing flying climate, it is even more sought after as airlines cut down on first class routes.For those who love champagne, it might be a fabled label that has attained almost mythical status in your life as one to be enjoyed. Now bring together first class travel and champagne on one of the world’s finest airlines, and you have something pretty special. My recent flight on Qatar Airways’ ultra luxurious A380 in First Class to Bangkok showed that bucket lists are there to be realized. More than that, it allowed me to have some of the best champagnes available in the sky right now.
The cabin is indeed luxurious, but it is understated, calmingand soothing on the eyes. There is none of the bling that is often associated with airlines in the region. Amenities are functional, …
Brunch. We all know what a big part of expat culture it is in Abu Dhabi. Last year I had the opportunity to try a lot of brunches with the aim of honing in on the top brunches in the city. People ask how one judges a brunch because they are so diverse and it is impossible to compare a family brunch to one that is more geared towards adults. That is true to some extent, but not entirely because there are certain criteria which cross all concepts. Nowadays, value for money is a very important factor. This doe snot mean a brunch has to be cheap though! Excellent Service is one of those things that you want at a brunch regardless of the concept. Also, remember that a brunch without atmosphere is just a lunch - a big difference. Quality of ingredients and dishes and drinks are crucial too. Finally, the most important factor for me is the concept. With so many brunches morphing into one another, I looked for a brunch that will be memorable; a brunch where the concept tries to break the mo…
There is something about Q's Bar & Lounge as my guest and I walk in. There is a sophistication about the venue that also has, in the same breath, a decidedly relaxed feel. It is small and intimate, and therein lies the beauty of this place. People are gathered around the bar, while some are seated at small tables. Cool. Chic. Trendy. Chilled. These are my first impressions of Quincy Jones' bar at the luxurious Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. We start off with a glass of the hotel's house champagne, the Ruinart 'R de Ruinart' Brut Champagne. It is, after all, one of those occasions that I feel I will not forget. The anticipation builds as we await the arrival on stage of multi-talented American performer Sheléa.
I remark to my guest that the bar is really a great equaliser. You have the overt opulenece that is the hotel, from the moment we walked in. But now we find ourselves in a space, while still having Versace touches like the signature cushions, just has ex…