Our favourite spots for that most British of occasions
Time Out Bahrain staff
Proper afternoon tea with those little tiddly sandwiches with the crusts cut off that, unless you’re right posh, you probably only had as a kid when you were decked out in your Sunday best and taken to visit the ancient maiden aunt whose house smelt of cabbage and boiled eggs.
Ooh it brings back memories, the sulphuric egg smell convincing us that auntie was really a witch and coming home feeling ill from over indulgence on her exquisite cakes.
For someone who smelled of lavender talcum power and looked as if she was about to fall off her perch any minute, Great Aunt Clara could sure russle up one of the best fresh cream Victoria sponges I’ve ever tasted and I’ve been searching ever since for a pineapple upside down cake to match the delicious caramelised tang she used to pull off almost every visit.
We’re not sure these are quite up to Auntie Clara’s standards but we reckon she’d approve.
TSpoon, Kempinski Grand Hotel We were delighted when TSpoon opened with direct access off City Centre Mall, the perfect wind down after a hard few hours’ shopping.
The elaborate afternoon tea offers a selection of 40 teas and coffees from around the world and, in particular, the finest tea library with leaves and infusions of fruit teas and organic teas carefully selected to complement an extensive menu of cakes and pastries, handcrafted in house by pastry chef, Clement Raybaud whose specialities include lemon tartlet, raspberry mille feuille a la minute, Bakewell tart, chocolate éclairs, almond and pine seed croissants and delicious macaroons.
And of course not to forget the sandwiches including foie gras on crispy bread with chutney, smoked salmon and black pepper on brown bread and French brie and truffle on toasted brioche and freshly baked plain and raisin scones with Devonshire clotted cream, wild strawberry jam and lemon curd.
There’s also the monthly Taste of Fashion event, resuming in September, at which neighbouring high-end stores showcase their latest offerings and guests can win great prizes. Daily 2-6pm, price BD13.500. TSpoon, Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel, Bahrain City Centre (17171000).
Ritz-Carlton It doesn’t get much more posh than the Ritz-Carlton, some of our colleagues won’t even go there in jeans (which we think is a bit extreme). And if you’ve got guests visiting, the surroundings and the tea itself will really wow them.
There is, as you would expect, the prerequisite selection of traditional finger sandwiches alongside halloumi wraps and falafel sandwiches plus a selection of cakes.
And then you can add a choice of scones – plain, raisin or chocolate chip – or tea cakes such as French madeleines and pecan, raspberry and coconut brownies.
And if that’s not enough to get your taste buds buzzing, throughout July until Ramadan, they’ve running tea ceremonies Chai Masala introducing the India tradition of tea with herbs, spices and creamy milk served with Indian sweets and delicacies. We’re going along to check out the traditional entertainment of tablah and sitar player and Indian dancers. Afternoon tea daily 3-7pm, from BD15. Chai Massala Wed & Thu 3-6pm, BD5++. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Seef (17 580 000).
Tea Club, Amwaj This place is in a beautiful location, right on The Lagoon in Amwaj. Perhaps a mite warm for outside at this time of year but the inside’s lovely too with squishy, comfy seating to complement the daybeds, funky décor and interesting nic nacs for sale alongside the huge selection of more than 3,000 teas which make an impressive display.
It does get busy with an eclectic mix of clientele so it’s best to book and then you choose your own selection of goodies from a wide selection of pastries and, to put yet another twist on afternoon tea, a range of cute sushi-style sandwiches.
It’s not specifically afternoon tea but you can stay and try as many different teas as you like for just 500fils a time. Tea and cakes served daily from 9am to midnight, from BD6. Tea Club, Amwaj Lagoon (38 887 107).
House of Coffee First things first, this place is worth a visit simply for the architecture. Hidden away down a side street in Muharraq, it’s part of the Sheikh Ebrahim Cultural Centre which also boasts the Bin Matar House gallery. From outside it’s a traditional Bahraini home faithfully restored but on the inside you’ll find a spacious and modern café with a selection of pastries, cakes and other foods from Café Lilou – yep you read that right. It’s not a traditional afternoon tea but we’ve whiled away many happy hours here and its surroundings in the heart of old Muharraq close to the culture centre and the newly restoured souq, make it a favourite with visitors. Tea and cakes selection from BD6. House of Coffee, Muharraq (17 322 548).