SEE, EAT, HEAR

OHLALA’s editor enjoyed an afternoon tea at Royal Saray Resort Managed by Accor in the company of turquoise waters, delightful handcrafted bites and tuneful melodies.

When stepping into the lobby of Royal Saray Resort Managed by Accor, the impression is that you are entering a palace – a royaltyworthy ambience. The décor brings a combination of marble and Arabic designs in expansive spaces. Cool off-white marble flooring is a reference to the pearl colour, an homage to Bahrain’s pearling heritage, and crystal chandeliers add a feminine touch and a sophisticated feel. The reception lobby invites you into an Arabesque courtyard inspired by the traditions of a royal Bahraini summer house.

To our joy, the high-tea afternoon was going to happen in this area at The Palm Lounge. We were greeted by Aby Mathew, the Food and Beverage Manager, who explained the experience we were about to embark on. We sat on a comfortable sofa with stupendous views of the Arabian Sea, which created the perfect atmosphere for an enjoyable time.

The afternoon tea is composed of sweet treats, savoury bites and freshly-baked scones, accompanied by tea or coffee. I ordered my favourite hot drink, an Americano, while my companion opted for a pot of Earl Grey tea. My coffee was spot on! With this kind of drink, you can’t really hide flavours, and the roast was just right at the correct temperature. There were no teabags; the tea was made with leaves placed in a special container to deliver a precious warm liquid.

In no time, a beautiful stand with trays layered in different levels showcased all the amazing bites we were about to devour. It is frequently said that people eat with their eyes first, and that’s exactly what we did. We took some time to appreciate the beauty of the carefully constructed treats. The small delights looked flawless and were painted in different colours with distinct textures, showing great attention to detail.

We started with the scones that were served with homemade preserve and clotted cream. Saying that they were dreamy and delicious is an understatement. They had a thin crust with the softest interior and were also warm, which made our gluttony even better (and more sinful). In my opinion, they were best eaten plain, and nothing was necessary to improve their flavour or texture. A sip of coffee and I needed nothing else for a perfect mouthful.

We moved to the savoury options. The Creamy Mushroom Vol Au Vent was a small hollow case of puff pastry filled with delicate mushroom pieces in a smooth sauce; the pastry was thin and flaky, as expected, and melted in our mouths. The Brie Cheese Walnut Bread & Fig is a classic combination of sweet and savoury that leaves no room for mistakes, and it delivered the desired dance of flavours on our palates. The Beef Bresaola Grissini Breadstick showcased a crispy breadstick encapsulated by an authentic lean Bresaola (fine dry-cured meat) slice. However, the star of the savoury dishes was the Cranberry Tarfile Chicken Sandwich that reminded my companion of a perfect Christmas bite and brought back warm memories that few foods tend to give us. A Smoked Salmon Mille Feuille completed the savoury bites selection.

If the amuse-gueules kick-started our palates, the sweets ended the experience on a decidedly high note. The selection offers Tiramisu, Mango Tart, Coffee Opera, Vanilla Mille Feuille, Pistachio Religieuse and Raspberry Macaron. The aspect that caught our attention most was that all the pastries were delicate and had the ideal texture. They were also all very different; from the flaky layers of the Mille Feuille to the perfection of the choux pastry in the Pistachio Religieuse. The Tiramisu had a balanced hint of coffee, and the Raspberry Macaron was crunchy on the outside and soft and luscious on the inside. It had a pleasant almond flavour and, unlike most macarons, it was not overly sweet.

Our food journey was reaching an end, and Aby came to see us once again. While talking to him, we discovered why the pastry dough was the afternoon’s highlight – the pastry chef has years of experience and is passionate about French desserts. And instead of overcompensating the sweets with sugar, he relies on his ability to produce impeccable delights with delicate textures.

If you are looking for an enjoyable afternoon with stunning views, delectable treats, and the sound of a lovely pianist, the Afternoon Tea at Royal Saray is the right place for you.

For more information or to make a reservation, please call The Palm Lounge at Royal Saray Resort Managed by Accor on 6672 0026.

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