Tag Archives: Burj Khalifa

Asian Tea at the Burj al Arab – a review

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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.

Gorgeous elevator doors.  Really!

Gorgeous elevator doors. Really!

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”.

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They quietly swooshed us right down to the mezzanine level and the doors opened into the lobby of the Junsui restaurant.

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Walking through the entry was almost EXACTLY like the Tower of Terror experience juuuuust before all the glass breaks…. See the tiny little starlights??

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And of course I had to pose in front of them.

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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,

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then in the bar area….

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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.

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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

Our lovely hostess, isn't her costume beautiful?

Our lovely hostess, isn’t her costume beautiful?

– 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.

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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!!

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And the tablescapes were beautiful….. very soothing and un-fussy.  Functional but elegantly done.

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Oh, even the floor was interesting….see how the mosaics shimmer like a dragonfly’s wing??

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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.

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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.

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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…..

Korean Bulgogi

Korean Bulgogi

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.

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

Salmon Sushi with Roe

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 Bite in Puff Pastry

Asian Chicken Bite in Puff Pastry

 

 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!)

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

Dim Sum Collection

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!

Oh look!

There's a guy paddleboarding!

There’s a guy paddleboarding!

(oh, look outside!  There’s a guy paddleboarding…..)

 

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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*

 

Fried Green Tea Ice Cream

Fried Green Tea Ice Cream

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.

Chocolates

Chocolates

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.

At theTop of the Burj Khalifa – tallest building in the world

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Wow.  Just wow.  I mean, we just went up into the tallest building in the world.  There’s not a whole lot of superlatives that haven’t been used to describe it….. huge, amazing, intimidating, wondrous, I mean, it’s really really tall.

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You can read all about the specifics and all the statistics here on their website and be amazed at how tall it is, how long it took, how many people it too, just all the specifics.  I’m just here to give you my impressions……

Wow.  First, you pay to go in.  I didn’t know that, but found out.  If you’re a planner, good for you.  If you’re a planning slug, you lose out.  Buy tickets in advance = AED125, and walkup is AED400.  That’s about $46 for planners and $148 for you slugs out there.  Me?  I planned!!

Our appointed time was Friday morning at 10 am, I’d hoped that the seasonal fog and haze would have lifted by then, but it would still be early enough that the crowds wouldn’t be there yet.  Close.   The fog was gone, but the haze was still with us.  *shrug*

We arrived at the Dubai Mall, parked and walked through the mall to get to the entrance.  It was kinda cool, because the mall was pretty much deserted at this time of the morning!

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I stepped outside and snapped a few photos of the scenery of the day…. pretty, wasn’t it?

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Presented ourselves at “will call” as instructed after our online purchase.  We had our tickets now, and were just waiting for our allotted time…..

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When the big countdown clock in the assembly area hit 10:00, the woman manning the turnstile scanned and then stamped each person’s ticket.  They then could proceed to the security area where all pockets were emptied into bins and scanned, all pocketbooks, bags and pouches were scanned, and people walked through the detector things.  If anything alerted the security people, they would also “wand” you…. Just like going into the courthouse back in Dothan, Alabama.

Once you were through security, you proceeded to a moving walkway that was wonderful because to get to the actual base of the building, the elevator entrances are about a mile from the entrance at the mall….. OK, maybe not an *entire* mile, but dang close to it.  I was grateful for the moving walkway.

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It let you off close to another  area that had a director’s chair and plaque in it noting Tom Cruise’s movie Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol that was filmed there…..  I made TBG stand beside the chair for a photo.  Oh, and the areas around you are quite lovely and surprisingly sedate, white, black and chrome are the colors that prevail.

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OK, next, up a really really really long escalator, I took our photo to entertain me…….

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We arrived at another area with a queue for the elevators.  Two elevators for this tour.  The tour guidepeople were not shy at all about “helping” folks enter all the way into the elevators, either.  Different cultures have different requirements for their personal space…..  frankly, TBG’s personal space requirements were NOT met during this elevator ride.

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I’d noticed that the elevator had a mirrored ceiling, so to distract him, I got him to look up with me so I could take our photo in the elevator.

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When the doors closed, I’d been a bit apprehensive about these….. thinking “what if I feel motion sickness”??  No danger of that, the trip was over before I could clear my ears from popping the first time, honest!  Seriously fast.  Honest.  Like 40 mph fast!

Then, the doors opened.

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It was like the entire city was laid at my feet.  Seriously.  It was like I couldn’t get enough of looking at it – but I did remember to take some pictures!

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I went through a revolving door following some other folks and had this sudden spike of absolute panic – I was OUTSIDE.  With the wind.  And the air.  And the nothingness below me.  Breathe deeply – there are other people out here even children can come it must be safe there is no way they’d let you up here if it wasn’t safe look there is an old man and old woman and they can do this so just shut up and breathe.

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Yes, I was a bit nervous, a bit shaky…. a picture of TBG’s elbow?  What the heck?  Well, I tried to take photos of us, but I was stressed and it was too bright and and and……

OK – I got this.  I stepped closer to the handrails and again, just stood there gawking at the view.  Amazing.  And, you can see exactly where the city ends and the desert begins, reminding me that if it weren’t for the brazillion gallons of desalinated water used daily, there would be no green places in Dubai, it would all be sand and more sand.  Wow.  And the roads, they make no sense on the ground, and still made no sense from this height.  Loops and curves to the oddest manners – I’ll never get it.

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And then, I looked up.  And realized that again, there was nothingness above me.   To calm my mounting panic, I took this photo – it only shows this level of the building, not the many floors above it!

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Now, at the top was a gift shop, pretty nice, a bit pricey, but where else can you get things like that??

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Instead, I opted for a pressed penny like the ones I get from Disney Parks!

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So, after an awesome time looking out over the city, we headed back down the elevator, and onto a long escalator for the ride back to the Dubai Mall, and…. a…. you guessed it!  Gift shop!

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Enjoy the photos, I enjoyed the experience of going up in the world’s tallest building!