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 at the tranquil La Patisserie - Sofitel, Downtown Dubai.
The French have always been known for their flare when it comes to pastries, so naturally I imagined that an Afternoon tea at La Patisserie at Sofitel, Downtown Dubai would be an occasion. For while most 5 start hotels pride themselves in their Afternoon Tea, they cannot all be on the same level. Afternoon Tea, with its rich English tradition, is one of those ceremonies in life that adds so much colour. I believe that God created this tradition so that little girls could wear pretty dresses and join their dads for an afternoon of refinement. With my little girl in Japan, it means I am alone today. Sigh!
La Patisserie, the venue for Afternoon Tea, is visible as you enter the hotel lobby. Depending on where you are seated, you can bathe in sunlight. Natural light! Water is a prominent feature and engenders a sense of tranquility and a haven in the bustling city that is Dubai. Artificial orchids adorn the lounge and notwithstanding they are no real, still create something pretty. All of this is incidental as I am captivated by a pianist playing relaxing but not too mainstream pieces. After all, it's the Sofitel and not a karaoke bar. Valeria, I understand, plays in the lobby from 1-5pm. So, while Afternoon Tea runs until 8pm, make sure you are there to enjoy her.
Afternoon Tea starts off with a glass of sparkling date juice and petit fours, the highlight of course the strawberries with cream and white chocolate. At a time when consumers are looking for added value, this certainly does that. On a side note, because the lounge is open for all see, there is no champagne option.
The Afternoon Tea set proper is substantial - more than good enough for two people. And do not forget that it is not a meal. Still, it is generously sized. The three-tiered birdcage style set has savoury sandwiches at the bottom, with sweet treats taking up the top two tiers.
Among the sweets, the Lemon madeleine lives up to its name - delightfully sour, while the Raspberry eclair just disappears on the tongue. It is remarkably light. As for the macaroons, well make sure you have the green tea macaroon!
As far as the sandwiches go, varieties of bread provide different textures and subtle variations in flavour too, maintaining the tea theme - there is Green tea, Red fruit, Lapsang Souchong and Toureg tea flavoured bread all with different toppings. My favourite is undoubtedly the Red Fruit tea jelly with foie gras. The baguette has a crunchy texture and the flavours work well, resulting in the foie gras not being over powered by sweetness.
Of course, Afternoon Tea without scones is like The Beatles without Lennon, and in keeping with the spirit of abundance, there are 6 scones - the highlight being the Earl grey tea scones. Accompanying jam, clotted cream and lemon curd are all made in-house - there is nothing as off putting as having jam from a can at an Afternoon Tea, so this is appreciated. The scones? Puffy, textured and do not break into crumbs when I bite on them.
Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are unlimited. I have the Earl Gray tea - you can never go wrong with this. A thought to consider is the tea pots though which do not allow me to control or maintain the strength of my tea, to the point that by my second cup, the tea is already strong. It is a pity because the Rosenthal china is exquisite. But a further redeeming fact, is the Ronnefeldt Tea brand. It is a most worthy successor to the former Damman Freres brand of tea which I enjoyed in the past.
Afternoon Tea at La Patisserie, Sofitel Dubai Downtown is an occasion that shows the necessary respect to Lady Bedford. There is a fluent blend of English and French modern influences and I did not even miss my cucumber sandwich. The pianist ensures that Afternoon Tea is is an experience. Furthermore, it is great value. At 199AED for two, not only does it offer some quality pastries, it also ensures that you may end up having a very light dinner. Afternoon Tea, other than allowing dads and daughters time to bond, also lets you disappear between the pages of a book for a few hours. Now what could be better than that, savoury and sweet treats and the soothing piano sounds in the background here at la Patisserie?
The Essentials La Patisserie Sofitel Dubai Downtown Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai +971 4 503 6666