Orchid Lounge

Sample the afternoon tea at the Dusit Thani in Abu Dhabi
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Time Out Says

We at TOAD like to think of ourselves as afternoon tea connoisseurs, since we’ve enjoyed tea, scones and cakes everywhere from Parisian tearooms and The Ritz in London to Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel.

But even if we’d never tried high tea before, our standards would still have been higher than Orchid’s at Dusit Thani.

We were disappointed before we even sat down. As soon as we entered Orchid, the afternoon tea lounge on the ground floor of the hotel, the stench of stale cigarette smoke hit us. The lounge looked nothing like the light and airy room the photo on its website had led us to expect; instead, it was dark and dingy so we could only just make out the beautiful pink orchid artwork at the back of the room.

No one was playing the grand piano in the corner by the bar, so we decided to sit outside on the suntrap terrace, which was better. It would have benefited from plants, candles or artwork, but the lanterns in black bamboo were a nice touch and the black wicker chairs with white cushions were stylish and comfy. Large parasols shaded us from the sun as we relaxed with shisha, although when the sun dropped blankets would have come in handy.

Service was attentive and friendly, but the food was a big letdown. We had the choice between Thai and English afternoon tea, and opted for one of each – although the only discernible difference was the jam.

The Thai version came with mango, the English with strawberry jam with generous chunks of fresh fruit.

There was no tea menu which was a shame; the selection was limited to a handful so we opted for English breakfast, which was served in transparent teapots and cups, while the food was delivered on three-tier cake stands.

First impressions count, and one look at the selection on offer told us it was going to be dry.

The savoury selection of crustless, stale sandwiches was limited to cheese and tomato – how boring – salmon and cream cheese, prawn mayonnaise on rye bread and beef which was so dry we didn’t touch it.

The scones were better; a good size with a golden top. They were dry, too, but were rescued somewhat by the jam and cream.

The sweets were the highlight. Not delicious by any means, but at least they looked the part. We nibbled on star-shaped iced biscuits, bite-size chocolate mousse cake, a large fruit pie with a thick crust and a brownie with a smudge of vanilla icing and blackberry on top.

The food wasn’t replenished, but we were full by the time we’d finished.

At Dhs95 per person, the Orchid afternoon tea is a touch cheaper than its competitors but we would rather have paid a little more and enjoyed it. If we’d visited for a special occasion we’d have left feeling disgruntled.

The bill (for two)

Thai afternoon tea for one Dhs95
English afternoon tea for one Dhs95
Total (excl. service) Dhs190

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 25 Feb 2014

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Show number 02 698 8137
Abu Dhabi, Al Muroor, Al Etihad - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

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