What a meal. I know, they call it a tea… but lemme tell you – it’s a MEAL. Remember, my friend Koral and I’d gone to the Burj Al Arab for the afternoon tea at the Junsui restaurant. I’d described our entering and looking around the resort earlier here and I promised that I’d get to the tea later…..well, it’s later!
When we approached the elevators, they were just spectacular. Really. I mean, I’m not one to take photos of elevator doors (well, OK, from time to time maybe) but these were unusual.
Then, when we stepped inside, they were just as lovely inside as they were from the outside! Dunno how they’re kept so “un-fingerprinty”.
They quietly swooshed us right down to the mezzanine level and the doors opened into the lobby of the Junsui restaurant.
Walking through the entry was almost EXACTLY like the Tower of Terror experience juuuuust before all the glass breaks…. See the tiny little starlights??
And of course I had to pose in front of them.
Through the starlights, we approached the podium and the most lovely hostess received us, welcoming us warmly, and asking if we’d like to look around a bit before we were seated….. I think it was the cameras dangling from our wrists that tipped her off! <smile> We looked at the lounge area,
then in the bar area….
Then, I visited the ladies room and whoa lawsa mercy, was it amazing! Most ladies’ rooms in Dubai come with their own person, and this one was no different. When she skedaddled for just a second, and I was the only one in there, I snapped a few photos – I was gonna hang on to them for my “toilets of the middle east” post, but these are some awesome photos.
OK, so freshened up, washed, dried, lotioned and sanitized, we went out to be seated by our hostess who wore the most lovely costume and posed for us
– and we were shown to a window table! I was thrilled, and since we had made our reservations on the spur of the moment, we weren’t expecting to be able to sit at a window table, they’re very limited in number and highly-coveted. I was truly shocked. But then again, I *am* the luckiest person I know! But, now, this isn’t just a window seat, it’s a window-wall seat! See how nice my friend Koral looks sitting in front of it? She was kind to let me face it and gawk at the view.
As you can see, we weren’t up too high, just high enough that we could still see the grounds, the sunbathing area, the windsurfers….. and the beach. Just lovely!!
And the tablescapes were beautiful….. very soothing and un-fussy. Functional but elegantly done.
Oh, even the floor was interesting….see how the mosaics shimmer like a dragonfly’s wing??
One of my most memorable tiny moments from this experience was the presentation of the warm, damp jasmine-scented hand cloths to freshen up with prior to our meal beginning…. A comfortable, relaxing way to begin our tea experience.
So, we ordered our first drinks, and sampled them – simply delicious! Teas and fresh fruit juices – just right on a warm spring afternoon.
Now, we awaited the first of our SEVEN (yes 7!) courses……. Which arrived promptly. We asked our server to please explain what each item was as it was presented, and what was in it. He graciously did so, silly us thought we’d remember all of them! So, I’ve copied their menu here, and will try to match them up with my photos and memory.
See these chips and the four dips? They’re dusted in crack cocaine, I swear. They were crispy, fresh, and such an awesome palate-cleanser between courses that we *may* have overindulged. Just a bit. Is requesting THREE refills after we ate the initial bowl excessive???
Looking at the menu to keep track of them…..
Sesame Tofu with Asian Vegetable Salad
Soft Bean Curd, Sesame Paste, Bean Sprout, Spring Onion, Carrot, Spinach, Soya Sauce
Nope – what we were served was a fairly traditional Korean Bulgogi dish…. Attractively served on a lovely plate. The plate you see above? That was for one person…. we each got our own! Tasty, and we knew we were in for an international mixture of flavors.
Crispy Tempura Roll
Prawn, Sushi Rice, Seaweed, Wasabi, Mayonnaise, Tobiko
Odd – I’m guessing that their menu is “subject to change” because we were served some truly awesome Salmon sushi, topped with big fat sparkly roe – they were so pretty I almost didn’t want to eat them, but I’d never eaten salmon roe before, so down the hatch they went. Slightly salty with an odd “pop” to them when you bit them, sort of like a big ole tapioca pearl does? Yummy. And the cute little wasabi “leaf” beside them on the plate was just the right condiment. I’m not a pickled ginger fan, but it was fresh and attractively served alongside.
Asian Chicken Satay with Pickled Vegetables and Rice Cake
Chicken, Cucumber, Carrot, Shallot, Rice Cake
Nuh uh. Not at all what we had…. This was an Asian Chicken bite, served in a richly-browned puff pastry, and served on a bit of a banana leaf. Quite yummy and all that we sent back to the kitchen were crumbs from the pastry. Really. (Oh, and see the silverware in the background? We got a set of it for every single course served. 7 sets of flatware. Two of us. 14 sets of flatware for one meal…. so happy I wasn’t the dishwasher!)
Selection of Dim Sum -Har Gao, Siew Mai, Chaw Siew Bun, Vegetable Dumpling
I have never met Dim Sum I didn’t like. Even the overcooked ones on a Chinese buffet in a strip-mall in the US, you know? But this stuff was really good…. Well-prepared, attractive, and the flavors of each were wonderfully distinctive. Steamed to perfection, they each left me wishing there were actually more of them in the little basket. A treat!
(oh, look outside! There’s a guy paddleboarding…..)
Thai Fish Cake served with Tom Yam Goong
Tom Yum Soup, White Fish, Red Chili, Egg, Sweet Chili Sauce, Peanut Oil, Coriander
Now, of all the things we ate there, (and there were a LOT) this was the only one that neither of us truly loved….. something was odd about the dried fish, made both of us cough. Yes, cough. And, we noticed others around us doing the same thing! As I recall, the scrambled egg was on a (McDonald’s hash-brown-shaped) shredded radish patty of some sort – but it didn’t taste of any radish that I’ve ever eaten…..…kind of interesting, but not a favorite. The dark colored strips are dried fish…. They made us all hack for some strange reason. *shrug*
Ice Kacang with Sesame Ball
Shaved Ice, Corn, Peanut, Lychee, Assorted Jelly, Grenadine, Sago, Condensed Milk, Sesame
Hmmmm…. Nope, another swing and a miss. If I am remembering this correctly, we had a deep fried serving of green tea ice cream….. kind of interesting flavor – when it first hit your tongue, nothing. Just cold and creamy. But as it melted, that subtle green tea flavor wandered right in and sat down on your tongue…. Made me happy. And, anything that you add shaved creamy milk chocolate to is my friend…
So. Pretty much, you can see that what’s on their menu is not what we actually ate, right? Not that it mattered, because we’d not researched the menu before we got there, had no clue what to expect. Plus, there was very little that we didn’t really enjoy food-wise. We just knew that we were going for a 7-course Asian Tea, and it sounded cool as hell. And it was.
Asian Flavor Petit Four
We actually got an assortment of chocolates, instead – they were on the prettiest serving stand, though – I was sooo full, I couldn’t even eat a chocolate!
Listen, I was thinking after initially seeing these tiny little portions, we were gonna have to stop somewhere on the way home and grab a shawarma so we weren’t starving… but holy cow, we were literally stuffed by the time we left there. I think that a bit of it had to do with those amazing rice cracker things that were dusted with that addictive crack-like substance….they were *amazing*. Fresh, crisp, and so very tasty with a bit of the sauces on them – now that we’re no longer there, I can tell you with a slight bit of embarrassment that we ate FOUR BOWLS of them! Can you imagine the guys in the kitchen?? “Man, crazy American women with all this high-class food and they’re pigging out on RICE CRACKERS? Crazy”. Yeah, you know they said it.
The cost for all this deliciousness, and awesome atmospher? AED 275 per person
So – just shy of $75 bucks each. Yeah, it was a tad bit steep, but a LOT less than the high tea there, and we had such a good time, wandered around the lobby of the hotel and enjoyed such excellent service, it was truly fun. Not stuffy at all, just a fun experience with a good friend in a nice place. What more can you ask for?? Put it on your list of “must dos” in Dubai.