Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Burj Al Arab

Today, we went to the Burj Al Arab for afternoon tea. For those not familiar with it, it is a self proclaimed 7 star hotel here in Dubai, pretty much the nicest hotel in the world. You cannot enter the hotel without a reservation of some sort, either food or room. So, we made a reservation for the Indulgent 7 course afternoon tea. Not cheap, but pretty much as cheap as it gets at the Burj. So after about 15 minutes of oohing and ahhing in the lobby, we headed to the tea room. It was on the mezzanine level, overlooking the coolest fountain in the world.

We were promptly shown to our table, beautifully set with crystal and and sterling silver. We were seated on couches and comfy chairs. The hostess expained a little about the tea and where to find the washrooms, and then came back with cool, scented handcloths that had some kind of wnderful lotion in them that made your hands soft and wonderful. The menus arrived, and she then explained the champagne.

The menu consisted of 10 -20 teas to choose from, and several coffees and espressos. We ordered our tea, then the champagne (Moet & Chandon) arrived. We each got a glass (except Aaron, of course, who had sparkling juice). Finger sandwiches arrived, which there were 8 different kinds. (tuna, chicken cucumber, roast beef, egg, prawn, salmon and zucchini). Just a bit of advice - if you ever find yourself having this meal DO NOT get more snadwiches. there are still 6 courses to go and you will be very full!

Next came a salmon dish. It was the size of an appetizer, really. It was salmon wellington with spinach and a mango sauce. YUMM! After that, the smoking sorbet arrived. It was strawberry sorbet, served in a small, cone like dish, that was resting in a small fishbowl like dish. The fishbowl was filled with red liquid, into which they had put a small C02 pellet, which created smoke underneath the sorbet. Very cool.

At this point in the meal, a piano player arrived (who looked remarkably like Catherine Zeta-Jones) and began playing a grand piano that was right beside us. Several members of our party became somewhat emotional and overwhelmed by the moment. It was quite something.

Our tea then arrived, served individually in Sterling silver tea pots with steamed milk, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, 5 kinds of sugar and chocolate shavings on the side. Soon after tea came the scones with clotted cream and preserves.

Next came the fresh berry basket. It was an edible biscuit basket with fresh berries and cream in it. At this point we are getting pretty full, but soldiering on as there are two more courses to go.

The final two courses arrived together, a wheel of petit fours and chocolates, and a tray of french pastries! Yum.

All delicious.

Between each course, our silverware and plateware was removed and replaced with the appropriate ones for the next course. We had no less than 4 servers throughout the experience, which took well over 2 hours. It was delightful!

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