Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly is one of London’s most famous department stores – and the world’s oldest. Established over 300 years ago in 1707, it’s quintessentially English and renowned for luxury hampers and food items. In 1999 Fortnum & Mason went global by launching an online store. Now, this old institution has taken it a step further and landed in my fabled land of Arabia, with its first store outside of the UK. That should tell us something about how the old world views the importance of being present in the Emirates. Kudos to Dubai and Fortnum & Mason!
Fortnum & Mason is located in a three-story standalone shop perfectly “sandwiched” between The Address Downtown and Dubai Mall. The ground floor consists of a delightful retail space offering Fortnum’s famous teas, preserves and marmalade, confectionery, biscuits, hampers, tea accessories, silverware and lots more. The Tea Saloon on the first floor and The Parlour on the second floor have large terraces offering striking views of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
Impeccable service made shopping easy. It’s difficult to leave Fortnum & Mason without their signature shopping bag filled with some delectable goodies. Can’t wait to see what they’ll have on offer for Christmas! Afterwards we were guided up a red carpeted staircase. As I entered the rather small, but oh so refined and proper Tea Salon, I half expected to spot Mrs. Hyacinth Bucket (Sorry! Bouquet…) sitting at one of the white tablecloth covered tables. No Royal Doulton with hand-painted periwinkle to be seen… but I’m sure Mrs. Bouquet would be quite content drinking tea from F&M’s St. James Eau de Nil fine bone china.
I guess asking for coffee was like swearing in church… but I’m just not a tea drinker! Anyway, the coffee left a lot to be desired, but that can be forgiven. This is after all a tea salon! What to order? Hmm… Afternoon Tea or High Tea? Oh dear! I didn’t even know the difference. Where is Hyacinth when you need her? Our attentive waiter soon explained that High Tea includes a warm dish (plenty to choose from) as oppose to the (for me) more famous Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches. But of course… both alternatives include scones and cakes.
My Eggs Royal arrived with a perfectly poached egg… but cold. The second time around the muffin, smoked salmon, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce arrived warm and perfectly matched. My husband’s Lobster Omelet Victoria with lobster bisque and shaved truffles was served piping hot and tasted delicious. Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture!
Time had come for the afternoon’s highlight. The oh so famous British scones with preserves and clotted cream. Is there anything more dignified than warm scones smeared with jam and a dollop of cream, accompanied by a pot of tea… or coffee? I don’t think so!
The scones were warm, fluffy and tender, but the clotted cream was a bit too thick and dense in consistency for my liking, but the taste was good. After eating scones to our heart’s content, it was time for cakes and lovely petit macaroons. The orange flavoured macaroon being my favourite. For my grand finale I had a huge piece of cake with raspberries and mascarpone cream, chosen from one of numerous cakes on display.
My next plan of action was to visit The Parlour – and indulge in Fortnum’s famous ice cream, made in London and churned daily on site; but after stuffing myself with scones and cakes I never made it to the top floor. A bit upsetting really, considering I’m such a sucker for ice cream – my ultimate weakness. Next time I’ll skip the red carpet and take the lift straight to The Parlour for a delightful and intoxicating ice cream sunday, the Knickerbocker Glory!