Having brunch boomed a few years back in Riyadh. Restaurants started having their own breakfast and brunch menu. Even hotels got the drift and introduced their Friday brunches with some beginning theirs at 1:00 PM. Seriously that’s brunch. Anyway, we got wind that some restaurants and hotels have began with their afternoon high tea offers too. Out with the brunch, in with the high tea! Haha! This has been popular in other countries already, especially in the United Kingdom where it all started and where drinking of tea has been a social event for many. The High Tea is a bridge between lunch and dinner (otherwise known as merienda to us). It’s a mini meal to tide people over to the next big meal. It usually involves a mug of tea, some bread and cheese and sometimes meat too.
In Riyadh, a high tea is around the time when the asr prayer is finished. Or wait, don’t most people here drink tea all the time? Haha! “High tea” sounds so fancy when you think about but it was just named that by the British because it was eaten in the table with high back chairs compared to “Afternoon Tea” which is had at low, comfortable, parlour chairs. Yes, high tea and afternoon tea are different and yes, that’s confusing considering that they are eaten just a few hours apart with the afternoon tea at 4:00 PM and the high tea at 6:00 PM. But let’s just go with high tea since we’re not the British anyway and we only have one snack time before dinner. If you’re a non-tea drinker like me, you wouldn’t appreciate this as much but the high tea has already evolved though the years and it has included coffee and other drinks.
The Caramel Lobby Lounge of the new 5-star Rosh Rayhaan by Rotana has introduced their high tea offers and we were there a few days ago to try it out.
Actually I already had it a few weeks back when I was interviewed by Ms. Maria Cometti of the Women Skills Bureau for an article she was writing on The Pink Tarha. (The article is published! Yey! Check this link for our stint in their Inspiring Women page.) We had high tea over our conversation and the one thing that remained in my mind was how good their scones were. I must come back for the scones! So imagine my delight when we were invited for another high tea treat.
The high tea in Rosh Rayhaan starts with a choice of drinks. They have various drinks, and not necessarily tea only. They also have coffee. When I was here the first time, I had their siphon coffee and it was so pure and strong. They put the siphon on the table and I watched it make my coffee. Recently, Reina and I tried their coffee. She had the americano and I had their latte. I don’t have any complaints. They were really good coffee.
Reina also had their Sencha Green Tea. It came in a clear pot over a case with a lit candle to keep it warm. It also came with a double-walled mug. Their timer device makes it easy to brew a light, medium or strong tea. Just turn it upside down and wait for the sand to trickle fully into the tiny hour glass.
Apart from the coffee and tea, Caramel Lobby Lounge also serves other mocktails and blended drinks which are not part of their high tea set. These can be ordered ala carte. Reina tried the Hazelnut Blended Coffee and I tried the Sangria, a refreshing drink of fruits and ice. It has a new flavor that I haven’t tasted in the “sangrias” of Riyadh restaurants. It was a bit tart and not too sweet. Reina enjoyed her cold, creamy drink.
After the drinks came this circle shelf that holds the scones, sweet pastries, and small sandwiches. It looked really pretty and delicious.
Of course, I picked up the chocolate chip scones first because I can’t wait to eat this again. It’s so buttery and creamy and I can’t get enough of it. Reina had the one with raisins (because I don’t like raisins, haha). And it’s the same wonderful, delightful scones especially when it has a touch of the strawberry and apricot jams it came with. The jams add depth to the otherwise plain flavor of the scones.
The small sandwiches were so cute and they were delicious too. They weren’t bold in flavors but I think that’s the point. The high tea is just to tide us over the main meal so it’s really light and subtle. Reina’s favorite sandwich was the one with beef rolls while I like the one with seafood and salmon.
Other desserts came in the shelf too like a huge macaron-like crisp dessert with raspberry jam and cream in the center. We had fun pouring the sauce all over the green sponge. It has a really nice presentation.
The eclair, chocolate mousse, and mango tart are also well-thought of and presented. They were nice to nibble at especially over conversations. There’s a whipped cream like dessert there that we thought is sweet but it turned out it’s cheese cream with a roll of chocolate on top. It’s a great touch to cut through the sweetness of the other desserts.
Overall, we enjoyed the drinks and eats of the high tea. Add the super chic ambiance in the lounge, it’s really the perfect place to have the high tea with family and friends. We like how well-lit and bright the lounge is. Everything is shiny and new. We stayed at their sofas which was really comfortable and you ladies will love this space! Well that is, if you don’t require a covered booth or something. They has nice pink roses in their lobby and it really helped make the place look more elegant and sophisticated. We also like the circle designs that are prominent in their interiors. Their walls are made of glass where the sun rays can peek through (perfect natural lighting!).
The Daily Tea Party starts from 4:00 PM up to 8:00 PM. The set comes with unlimited tea and is priced at SR 120 per person. Groups of 3 or more will just pay for SR 99 each and kids up to age 12 are free. Their Themed Friday High Tea where they showcase tea themes from all over the world is at SR 140 per person. Groups of 3 or more will only pay SR 109 per person. Saturdays are great for ladies because they have a promo of SR 99 for two. Now that’s a great way to spend your time chatting away with friends huh.
If you’re not into high tea then you can just go ala carte and order from their drinks and pastries menu of Caramel Lobby Lounge. It’s a great space to enjoy!
Caramel Lobby Lounge
Rosh Rayhaan by Rotana
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]
T: +99-11-447 9888