What’s On samples the best afternoon teas in Dubai, including Burj Khalifa, Fortnum and Mason, Zabeel Saray, Burj Al Arab, Waldorf Astoria, Reform and more.

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At brunch, you can munch your way through half a pound of sushi, a steak, a chocolate cake and a wheel of brie should it take your fancy. Afternoon tea is an altogether more refined affair. The English ritual is all about delicious yet delicate portions – think dainty finger sandwiches and pastries followed by lighter-than-air scones dotted with cream and jam, all accompanied by fragrant loose-leaf tea served in the prettiest china cups. If you’re yet to experience this most civilised of meals, you’re in luck – tempting new options are cropping up everywhere.

Before you look through this lot, we’re giving away Afternoon Tea as part of our 35th birthday celebrations. Click here to enter.

From the Queen Of Hearts jam tarts to the Cheshire Cat cheese sandwiches, the Alice In Wonderland-themed afternoon tea at Reform Social And Grill has bucket-loads of charm. Tea at the gastropub, which must be booked in advance, is on the informal side, but the freshly baked scones were still some of the best we’ve tasted. The dinky bottles of strawberry milkshake with ‘Drink Me’ labels attached were an especially cute touch. This one has girls’ day out written all over it.

The Lakes, Dubai, Sat to Thur 3pm to 5pm, Dhs95. Tel: (04) 4542638. Taxi: The Lakes Club. reformsocialgrill.ae

Reform Social and Grill Afternoon Tea

For a more affordable afternoon tea experience, this pretty patisserie in Souk Al Bahar is worth a visit. Its Royal Afternoon Tea – which includes choux pastries, dainty macarons, savoury sandwiches and Marriage Freres tea – is just Dhs75 per person.

Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, Sun to Thur 9.30am to 12.30am, Fri and Sat 9.30am to 1am. Tel: (04) 4207741. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. eugenie1856.com

Eugenie Afternoon Tea, Souk Al Bahar

The ‘thé l’après-midi’ at the vast new Waldorf Astoria on the Palm offers a Parisian afternoon tea in addition to its classic London menu. Scrumptious French-style finger sandwiches – filled with duck foie gras terrine and crab salad (or roast beef and smoked salmon in the London version) were a highlight, as were the comfortable wing-backed chairs which are perfect for whiling away an afternoon in the hotel’s elegant Peacock Alley. The scones were a tad on the salty side, but the pastries, including a salted caramel éclair and a sable Breton lemon mousse, were delicious. Our Parisian friends would approve.

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 2.30pm to 6pm, Dhs150. Tel: (04) 8182222. waldorfastoria.com/dubai

Walforf Astoria Afternoon Tea

Given that Fortnum & Mason has been serving afternoon tea in London for some 300 years, Dubai’s new branch of the historic store has a lot to live up to. The bijou addition to Downtown – complete with giant topiary teapot outside the entrance and Tiffany blue china – does look the part. Served upstairs in the tea salon, the meal kicked off in suitably English style with sandwiches of coronation chicken and rare beef, followed by warm, crumbly scones with clotted cream and  preserves. If the macaroons and mini-cakes aren’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can pay a visit to an elegant table in the centre of the room laden with treats such as Battenberg cake and chocolate eclairs.

Near Dubai Fountains, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 9am to midnight, Thur to Sat 9am to 1am, Dhs245. Tel: (04) 3882627. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. fortnumandmason.com

Fortnum and Mason Afternoon Tea

It’s one of the most modern hotels in Dubai, but when it comes to afternoon tea, the Conrad keeps things classic. Served as tradition dictates in the hotel’s lobby, each course is accompanied by a different tea served in elegant white china cups. The red Arabian tea, served with bite-sized morsels of duck bacon and quail egg, asparagus wrapped in bacon and crab in lettuce, was a favourite. Champagne flutes filled with sparkling date juice added to the sense of occasion.

 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily noon to 5pm, Dhs150. Tel: (04) 4447444. Metro: World Trade Centre. conraddubai.com

The Conrad Dubai Afternoon Tea

A local variation on the classic English tea, this bite-size feast includes chicken shawarma, kofte finger sandwiches, saffron and cardamom scones, and sweet treats aplenty. The views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains are splendid, and a violinist provides the easy listening. A shiny finale is a cappuccino with a 22-carat gold dust topping.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4287806. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. Daily 2pm to 6pm, Dhs150. theaddress.com

Palace Downtown Afternoon Tea

This is tea with a Turkish twist, featuring sweets from the two-time winner of the Continental Pâtissier of the Year, Eric Lanlard. When he’s not collecting awards for his kitchen skills, Eric is baking treats for the likes of Madonna and Elton John. His new cake at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is the orange blossom financier.

The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4530000. Taxi: The Palm West Crescent. Daily 2.30pm to 6.30pm, Dhs155. jumeirahzabeelsaray.com

Zabeel Saray Afternoon Tea

This tea might be the most British meal in Dubai. Scones, sandwiches, homemade jams and clotted cream are all here, obviously, but also Eccles cakes, Bara Brith and Battenberg cake to get the Brits in a tizz. They also have a tea sommelier.

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (04) 8007256. Taxi: Fairmont The Palm. Daily noon to 6pm, Dhs95. fairmont.com/palm-dubai

Fairmont Afternoon Tea

Their ultimate tea package comes with seven courses, so book a whole afternoon off for this one. You’ll get a mixed berry tart, finger sandwiches and freshly baked French pastries. Warm English scones with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade jam are superb and there are more than 30 teas to choose from. There’s a smidge of lychee and rose sorbet to cleanse the palate before wrapping up with chocolates and mini biscuits.

Skyview Bar, Burj Al Arab, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3017600. Taxi: Burj Al Arab. Saturday-Thursday 1pm, 1.30pm, 4pm and 4.30pm, Dhs450. jumeirah.com

Burj Al Arab Afternoon Tea

This one sure is pricey, but you do get a premier afternoon tea for your wedge. Things kick off with a glass of bubbly and Beluga caviar. There’s an organic baked chicken and mushroom quiche to follow, plus finger sandwiches and pretty pastries, including traditional English scones.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Tel: (04) 8883828. Metro: Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. Daily 3pm to 6pm, Dhs800. atmosphereburjkhalifa.com

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