Where to Find Doha’s Most Delicious Afternoon Teas?
The very British tradition of afternoon tea, a delectable bounty of fine sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones, with lashings of tea served in bone china teacups and saucers, began in the mid-19th century. History tells of an English Duchess, Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who started the tradition in the 1840s to quell her hunger between midday lunch and dinner, which in those days was served relatively late at 8 pm. Originally served tea, bread and butter and cake, the Duchess soon began inviting friends to join the ritual.
By the late 19th century, the pause for afternoon tea, usually between 4 and 5 pm, had taken off amongst the upper classes and morphed into an in-vogue social event. The British rule abroad also ensured that the afternoon tea custom travelled far and wide. With the rising popularity, chefs were compelled to create more elaborate and refined dishes - delicate sandwiches, including the quintessential cucumber sandwich, and bite-sized cakes and pastries served with loose-leaf tea. The addition of miniature scones with clotted cream and jam was a later addition in the 20th century.
However, changes to working day practices, demographics and hours, and to lifestyles in general, meant that indulging in afternoon tea soon became something for special occasions only. Despite that, you can still find afternoon tea on offer in almost every town and village around the UK. Even around the world, from Japan to Canada, Thailand to America, South Africa to Malaysia, Australia to Denmark, New Zealand to France, Indonesia to Qatar, afternoon tea is very much a staple delicacy on many menus.
To indulge in this little taste of history, check out our top five favourite places to have afternoon tea in Doha:
Top Five Afternoon Teas in Doha
Harrods Tea Room
From one classic British institution to another - Harrods is one of the world’s largest and most famous department stores, located in the exclusive area of Knightsbridge, London. First brought to life in the 1940s, the store grew from a grocery store to today’s luxury emporium, home to over 3000 brands and sixteen high-end restaurants, including the ever-elegant Harrods Tea Room.
Since taking over ownership of the London department store in 2010, Qatar is now home to its own Harrods Tea Room, located in the swanky new downtown area of Doha, Msheireb. With swish 1940s-esq decor, velvet chairs, booth seating, art deco lighting, highly polished wooden floors and a sweeping staircase, it is the epitome of the Harrods chic, sophisticated style.
The restaurant offers one of the finest tea menus in the world, not to mention some of the most delectable afternoon teas. The three-tiered collection features dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream and jam, and a variety of patisserie cakes and pastries made by world-class Harrods chefs. The menu changes frequently, but keep your eyes peeled for the oft-served cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches and the small but perfectly formed cherry Bakewells, apple crumbles and cheesecakes. While relatively pricey at QAR 250 ($65+) per person, the ambience, surroundings, and afternoon treats make this venue a must-do treat at least once in Doha.
Location: Barahat, Msheireb, Doha.
Opening Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 8 am - 10:30 pm; Thursday, 8 am - 11 pm,
Friday, 1 pm - 11 pm
Afternoon tea: 12 - 5:30 pm daily except Fridays, served 1 pm - 5:30 pm
Contact Details: +974 4442 8676
From the United Kingdom to France: La Parisienne is Doha’s Intercontinental hotel’s delightful take on a chic French pavement-style cafe, bakery and patisserie. Set out like an outdoor cafe, with an open-air terrace for winter dining, diners can order a host of French tidbits, from croissants and pain au chocolat, gateaus, pastries and deserts to crepes, filled baguettes, salads, charcuterie and cheese boards. However, for us, the piece de resistance is the afternoon tea menu…
La Parisienne offers one of Doha’s prettiest afternoon teas with a very French twist - delicate sandwiches, scones and British dessert favourites, such as Bakewell tarts, are out, and treasured continental delicacies are in! Mini cheese and (turkey) ham stuffed croissants and tiny quiche lorraines, bagels, and croque monsieur sandwiches share the stage with macarons, classic choux pastry Pistachio Paris-Brest, tartlets and mini brioche. And all the treats and goodies are served on tiered platforms, set around an adorable miniature model of the Eiffel Tower, alongside a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
The cafe is located in the Intercontinental Doha - The City Hotel in West Bay and costs a relatively reasonable QAR 120 ($30+) per person.
Location: Off Al Wadha Road, West Bay, Doha.
Opening Hours: 7 am - 10 pm daily
Afternoon tea: 2 - 6 pm daily
Contact Details: +974 4015 8888
AtTEAtude Tea Lounge
AtTEAtude is a tea and coffee lounge located in the boutique Al Wadi Hotel in Msheireb. Styled to reflect Qatar's heritage, modernity and hospitality, the lounge (or majlis) is warm, inviting and comfortable, with a blend of modern and cultural features and a plush atmosphere. Diners are offered a variety of freshly made pastries, croissants, desserts, light lunches and snacks, and the option of afternoon tea in the lounge or on the outside terrace overlooking the streets of Msheireb and Souq Waqif in the distance.
Afternoon tea at the lounge is a mix of cuisines - Middle Eastern, classic British afternoon tea and European. Guests can expect a choice of savouries, including the likes of melon and bresaola canapes, vegetable and melon wraps, baked tartlets and halloumi cheese with zaatar, and pastries, including delights such as cranberry and orange scones with clotted cream and jam, chocolate and pear verrines and sweet tarts. The tiered treats are served with a choice of beverage, though as the cafe lounge's name suggests, the tea choice is extensive.
At the cost of QAR 175 ($45+) for two (QAR 87.50 ($20+) per person), the afternoon tea at AtTEAtude, winner of the Best Tea Room 2021 and Favourite Lounge and Tea Room 2022 at the FACT Dining Awards, is great value for money.
Location: Wadi Msheireb Street, Msheireb, Doha.
Opening Hours: 8 am - 11 pm daily
Afternoon tea: 3 - 6 pm daily
Contact Details: +974 4009 9999
Image: Raffles Doha
From relatively good value for money to Doha's most expensive afternoon tea - the Malaki Lounge at the ultra-luxury hotel, Raffles Doha, offers guests a decadent afternoon indulgence in opulent surroundings for a very pretty penny!
Afternoon tea at Malaki Lounge is an experience in itself; the quintessentially British afternoon tea in a quaint coffee shop is elevated to something extraordinary. Guests are invited into the lap of luxury, seated on divinely comfortable, plush sofas and chairs, surrounded by the most sumptuous decor, waited on hand and foot and served handcrafted gourmet food. Indeed, the locally sourced, organic and sustainable produce menu includes delicacies made superior by ingredients such as truffles, lobster, wagyu beef, tonka bean, hibiscus and honey blossom. An afternoon tea here is not an everyday occurrence for most, but one that everyone should aspire to at least once.
Located in Doha’s newest and futuristic city, Lusail, in the iconic Katara Towers - two high-rise towers representing the curvature of the scimitar swords on Qatar’s national seal - an afternoon tea experience at Malaki costs QAR 295 ($80+) per person. Dining is by reservation only ([email protected]).
Location: Marina East Street, Lusail City, Doha.
Opening Hours: 8 am - midnight daily
Afternoon tea: 2 - 9 pm daily
Contact Details: +974 4030 7100
Image: Al Aziziyah Boutique Hotel
The Victoria Lounge is a smart English drawing room-style cafe located in the lobby lounge of Al Aziziyah Hotel in Doha's Aspire Zone. The hotel itself is a boutique resort designed after a Victorian manor house, with of-the-era ornamental and lavish interiors and beautifully manicured gardens to match. It is the perfect place to while away a few hours in almost countryside tranquillity, despite the city's hustle and bustle.
The afternoon tea served at the Victoria is a myriad of exquisite bite-sized morsels, from delicate sandwiches, mini-filled brioche, tiny bruschetta and savoury pastries to dainty desserts and pastries, such as petite cheesecakes, tarts and pannacotta treats, and freshly baked scones. Each tiered offering is served with tea or coffee.
While afternoon tea is the Victoria Lounge's speciality, the hotel also offers this English between-meals tradition in their Glass House restaurant - a greenery-filled conservatory-style eatery with a terrace overlooking the hotel lawn. The Glass House afternoon tea menu includes a selection of canapes, sandwiches and savoury bites and French pastries. However, on a Monday, everything turns pink. The afternoon tea on a Monday includes pink treats, such as Chicken on a Beetroot Bun, Avocado and Strawberry on Beetroot Toast, Strawberry Macarons, Red Velvet Cake, Pink Panacotta, and pink drinks like the Pink Latte and the Strawberry Lime Mojito.
Afternoon tea at the Victoria costs QAR 120 ($30+) per person, while the offering at the Glass House costs QAR 150 ($40+) per person.
Location: Al Baaya Street, Aspire Zone, Doha.
Opening Hours: Victoria Lounge: 7 am - 11 pm daily
Glass House: 6:30 am - 10:30 pm daily
Afternoon tea: 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm daily
Contact Details: +974 4445 5555
Main image: Shutterstock/Tahir Mahmoud
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