Always on the lookout for a unique Afternoon Tea we recently discovered that the Four Seasons Resort Dubai had partnered with acclaimed Iraqi haute couture fashion designer, Zeena Zaki. To give you some background, Zeena Zaki launched her brand in the UAE back in 2003, and now has a presence across the GCC and internationally, along with showcasing her collection at Paris Fashion Week. Each of Zeena’s gowns is designed to embrace the female form and bring out the confidence and beauty of their wearers, while also making them feel powerful.
Needless to say, we are excited to hear of the collaboration, and slightly curious to see how it translates to an Afternoon Tea experience, so we make our way to Shai Salon at the Four Seasons Resort Dubai and prepare ourselves for a fashionable Afternoon Tea. Shai Salon is located just to the right of the lobby, making it easily accessible. The lounge offers a bright and airy space for guests to enjoy a relaxing beverage, Afternoon Tea and a few light bites, ideal for catching-up with friends or a business meeting.
The three tier Afternoon Tea stand is presented before us. Sweets at the top, savouries in the middle and scones at the bottom. We begin with the savoury items, starting with the Seabass Tartare, a combination of seabass, bulghur, cumin, coriander, lemon juice and capers. Light, fresh and a great start to our Afternoon Tea experience. Moving on, the Beef Iraqi Kubba Arancini, this is my favourite savoury item. The arancini has been stuffed with minced beef that has been seasoned with cumin, paprika, onion, and finished with roasted almonds and brown raisins. Fortunately for us the Beef Iraqi Kubba Arancini is served as a pair, allowing us to further enjoy this savoury delight. No Middle Eastern inspired Afternoon Tea would be complete without the regions favourite, Grilled Halloumi. Served on brown bread with a light yet sweet date jam this is a treat for the senses. Note to self, buy date jam, it is a great alternative that can be used with sweet or savoury items. Concluding the savoury items is the Eggplant Moussaka, simple ingredients, fried eggplant, sautéed garlic, onions and tomato deliver a solid ending to our savoury journey.
If you were intrigued by the savoury items, wait until you discover the sweets. We begin with the Halawa Tahin Apple Puff Pie. A crispy puff pastry with apple, halawa tahin cream and green apple julienne, a zesty start to the sweets. The Saffron Cake, which is not only our favourite sweet but our favourite bite of the experience, offers a lush saffron anglaise cream which is used to soak the sweet brioche, further complimented by whipped cream, delicious. The Luqaimat is another favourite amongst the table, and we enjoy the creativity that has gone into elevating this humble sweet. The Fig and Walnut Lokum alongside the Grapefruit Biscuit are also enjoyable, although perhaps on this occasion, they are outshone by the more lavish sweets. The Date, stuffed with almond and covered in gold powder is a gentle nod to the region’s history and culture.
We are thoroughly enjoying our fashionable Afternoon Tea and are extremely excited to see how the team have reinvented the classic Scone. The warm fluffy scones come in four varieties, Za’atar, Plain, Raisins and Bell Peppers, served with a side of yuzu orange jam, date jam and clotted cream. The Za’atar and Bell Peppers, are the two most unique flavours, with the Bell Peppers being our favourite, especially when enjoyed with date jam.
Shai Salon, where Zeena Zaki and Four Seasons Resort Dubai have come together to create the city’s most fashionable Afternoon Tea offers a delightful and unique experience. The Iraqi couture designer shares some of her country’s favourite assortments of sweets and savouries for you to enjoy. Experience couture in the most delicious form at Shai, adorned with elegant, embroidered napkins and signature ribbons in the open space.
Four Seasons X Zeena Zaki Afternoon Tea is priced at AED 285 for the Traditional Afternoon Tea or AED 385 for Bubbles Afternoon Tea.
Shai Salon, Four Seasons Resort Dubai, +971 4 270 7805