Birthday At The Burj Al Arab

My Birthday was back in December and I was SUPER lucky as my boyfriend Alex took me to the Burj Al Arab for Afternoon Tea and planned the whole day as a big surprise! I absolutely love afternoon tea, and in over four years in Dubai I’ve never been to Burj Al Arab so this was a great surprise for me. I actually had a flight in the morning and landed around lunchtime, so I rushed straight home and got ready for when he said would pick me up, trying to decide what to wear for a surprise is always so tricky in Dubai! We got in the car and I still had no idea until we pulled up to the world famous Burj Al Arab.

The Burj Al Arab, often coined as the worlds only seven star hotel, is a luxury hotel that makes up part of the Madinat. It comes in at the seventh tallest hotel in the world featuring a helipad on its roof, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The building is architecturally stunning and can be seen far and wide across Dubai making for a great back drop for pictures.

As we pulled up I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to finally venture inside. We were shown to the lift and taken up to the 27th floor and came out into the SkyView Bar and Restaurant. All tables for afternoon tea are placed around the windows edge which makes for a fabulous scenic view of Dubai’s coastline whilst you’re tucking into the delicious courses of afternoon tea.

Immediately we were brought a glass of champagne and an amuse-bouch which was a delicate “baeri” caviar with balik salmon and cauliflower lightness served on a freshly made blini. Super small yet packed with an explosion of flavours. If this was how we were beginning the afternoon tea, I couldn’t wait to see what else would be brought out to us.

We were shown the menu of what would be served to us whilst double checking there weren’t any dietary requirements they hadn’t been made aware of. We cheers’d to my birthday and what a fabulous day we were set to have. We looked through the menu of the wide selection of hot beverages they served and both opted for a classic english breakfast tea which were served to us is beautiful bone china teapots and tea cups.

I don’t think I was quite ready for how many courses we were sat to have. If you’re planning on doing afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab DO NOT EAT the whole day before you go, and if you’re taking someone on a surprise, also tell them not eat, as you will be stuffed.

Following on was a selection of four different sandwiches. They were classic smoked salmon and crab meat with crushed avocado, lime and a hint of chilli in granary bread. Coronation chicken sandwich in a tomato and spinach loaf, topped with green apple and vadouvan whipped cream. Truffled hen’s egg and cress on pumpernickel and watercress. Roast beef and bresaola parcel with horseradish salsa verde, topped with celery leaf and dijon mustard and finally cucumber and mint cream cheese in a saffron focaccia and they were made and displayed to perfection. I loved the stand they were presented on which was in the shape of the Burj Al Arab, such a wonderful touch to add to a beautiful afternoon tea setting. The pairings worked brilliantly, and this is my favourite part of afternoon tea that I wish they brought out more of, but with the amount of courses there’s definitely no need to ask for extra.

Next up was a steak pie served with warm gravy. As me and Alex are both northerners this was right up our street. This gourmet style steak pie was so melt in your mouth and so delicious. Not too big so that it would over face you, but a generous portion that really was cooked to perfection.

We finished off our glasses of champagne and were promptly offered another, before the next course was placed out in front of us. Now this was an odd one I found. It wasn’t quite ice cream, nor was it quite sorbet. This palette cleanser was made up of pear and rose. I’m not a huge fan of rose flavourings, but this was delicate and worked wonderfully to cleanse the palette before the next course. It came as a crushed iced sort of pear sorbet with a rose jelly. Neither of us could finish the whole thing, so we took this time as a little bit of a breather before the next course was brought out to us.

The next course was an imperative of afternoon tea which are scones. We were given both a large plain and a large fruit scone and they were served with clotted cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd. Served warm we slathered on lashings of clotted cream and jam and enjoyed them with our pot of hot tea which was constantly being refreshed.

At this point I was wondering how much more I could eat, I was so full. Finally we were served the deserts which were salted caramel profiteroles, lemon meringue pies, mini chocolate tortes and a strawberry and a mango delice. At this point I was so over faced I managed a mouthful before I admitted defeat. I am much more a savoury person than a sweet person, and they kindly offered to box it up for me to take home, not before offering us both a round of different macarons AND chocolates.

We sat finishing our champagne and tea and I was presented with a singular wrapped rose AND THEN A BIRTHDAY CAKE, honestly when you just think they cannot possibly offer you anymore, they then come out with a birthday cake with a hand iced happy birthday note and a candle lit. So I blew out my candle and made a wish, and they placed the cake right into the box ready for me to take home.

The whole afternoon was perfection, to have afternoon tea with the sun setting over Dubai, drinking champagne with Alex I seriously felt so lucky and super spoilt! What a perfect way to celebrate my birthday together.

I thought we would end the day here, but Alex had other things planned. From here we then went over to Uptown Bar located in Jumeriah Beach Hotel and we were transported via golf buggy across the Madinat complex. The bar which has an outdoor deck with views of the Burj Al Arab was the perfect setting to have a few night caps, I’d had a very early start with work and had been up since 3:30am, so it was time to have an espresso martini or two. One of my favourite cocktails!

And to end of the night perfectly, he then took me across to the souk in the Madinat where the Christmas market was in full swing. I absolutely adore Christmas markets and I’d never been to this one in Dubai. Despite it been a warm evening outside, they’d pulled out all the stops to make it feel super festive here. They even had a fake snow machine blowing snow around!! We grabbed a mulled wine, and sat down on some beans bags. We wandered around the stalls and listened to the music playing before we called it a day.

It was the most perfect well thought out birthday surprise ever. As we couldn’t spend my actual birthday together as I was flying to Manchester that day, which was a great way to spend my birthday at home with my family, Alex made such an effort to make it a special one for me! So thank you Alex for such an amazing birthday treat ever, I loved every second of it. And for those of you who are wanting to do the afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, and are wondering if it is worth the money etc, it definitely is such an amazing way to treat your loved ones or even yourself! Click here to check out the details and the reservations for the two different sittings they offer throughout the day.

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