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Afternoon Tea, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

As one arrives at The St Regis Abu Dhabi one cannot help but be enchanted by its opulent beauty. Large hanging crystal chandeliers, an imperial grand staircase, profound pillars and soft golden tones greet every guest with a charm that can only be attributed to The St Regis Abu Dhabi.

The St Regis has a long-standing history with the tradition of Afternoon Tea. In the 19th century, Lady Caroline Astor, mother of St Regis founder John Jacob Astor IV would invite her friends for Afternoon Tea.  Referred to as “The” Mrs. Astor, the undisputed Grande Dame, she ruled New York high society and her Afternoon Tea was said to be extraordinary.

The Afternoon Tea Ritual begins with selecting the tea. A tea trolley is presented before me featuring the five main teas and a selection of over fifty herbs, spices and fruits. Tea can be divided into five basic categories: black, green, oolong, white and yellow, but it’s the herbs, spices and fruit that give it its unique flavour.

There is no easy choice, but fortunately Tea Sommelier Ivan is on hand to talk me through the process. We discuss the variety of teas and accompaniments that can be used to compliment the Afternoon Tea, considering my mood and if I’m looking for something uplifting or relaxing. After sometime I select a blend of rooibos, wild berries, mild citrus, elderflower, peppermint, verbena and hibiscus. Stand for three minutes and enjoy. The tea tastes spectacular, the wild berries are prominent followed by a subtle hint of peppermint, the colour is a deep rouge with amber undertones, remarkable.

First to be served are the savouries, at the top of the three-tier curate stand are three open Scottish Loch Fyne Smoked Salmon sandwiches. The salmon sits atop a base of brioche bread topped with dill, shallots, horseradish, wasabi and mayonnaise. A delicate helping of salmon roe is perfectly balanced on top of the salmon, adding an additional level of sophistication. The fresh salmon is beautiful and I love the horseradish, this is my second favourite item from the savouries, we will get to my first in due time.

On the second tier the Smoked Duck and Quince Jam sandwich, again the presentation is wonderful. The smoked duck pairs perfectly with the jam and takes away from an otherwise overpowering duck taste.

Finally, the last tier, the sandwiches. Here you will find my favourite item from the savouries, the Egg and Truffle sandwich, I never thought it possible to be pushed to my limits of excitement by a sandwich but then I hadn’t discovered this sandwich. Imagine, eggs with a dash of truffle oil served in perfectly cut sundried tomato bread. Simple but perfectly executed, this sandwich will forever be in my thoughts.

Other sandwiches include the Chicken Tikka and Cucumber and Cream sandwich, which I did have a bite from before returning to my beloved Egg and Truffle sandwich.

The sweets are served on a separate three-tier curate stand. First tier, lemon curd, clotted cream and strawberry preserve, second tier piping hot homemade plain and raisin scones and the third and final tier a selection of mini pastries. Thoroughly enjoyable, the fresh scones are delicious and the highlight of the sweets.

If you are looking for an afternoon well spent in plush surroundings, five-star service and an Afternoon Tea fit for royalty, we would recommend The St Regis Abu Dhabi.

Any hotel that has a tea sommelier on hand to compose a bespoke tea blend according to a guests preference is a hotel that demonstrates relentless attention to detail. It is this type of attention to detail that seperates the nice from the memorable.

Price AED 160 per person or AED 220 with a glass of bubbly*

The St Regis Abu Dhabi, 02 694 4553

*Prices subject to 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and 4% municipality fee. 

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