Restaurant review: Afternoon tea at L’Ami Dave
This French restaurant at Mansard Riyadh is one of the latest Riyadh destinations to offer an afternoon tea experience…
There’s something whimsical and romantic about being inside L’Ami Dave. The new French fine-dining concept at Mansard Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel evokes an old-world grandeur without being stuffy. It is delightful.
Its measuredly maximalist interiors come draped in heavy, lush fabrics and adorned with Art Deco touches. A beautiful black and white marble floor shines underfoot, ornate chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and plush, comfortable chairs stand invitingly.
Our fancy is tickled even more when we’re invited to its newly launched afternoon tea. We’re seated in the main dining room next to the glass door, with a view of the stunningly gorgeous room on one side and the hotel on the other. It’s like sitting in a film set. The table is set perfectly, and everything is polished and gleaming.
After an exceptionally courteous waiter checks that we’re indeed there for the afternoon tea, the ceremony begins. The menu features three distinct tea sets: Rive Gauche (SAR120), L’Opera (SAR200), and Versailles (SAR330) for a truly indulgent experience. All include baskets of sundried cherry and flaky plain scones, honey and lemon madeleines, and a variety of cold savoury bites.
Spoilt for choice
We opt for the Rive Gauche and Versailles tea sets, where we have to pick two cold savoury bites, two hot snacks, and four dulce for each set. Good luck choosing from the extensive selection.
Shortly after, our food is delivered to the linen-clad tables by staff who operate as smoothly as a Swiss timepiece. Finger sandwiches, scones, frilly pastries – it’s all here, served on whisper-fine crockery and presented on a gold cake stand, and all as good as you’d hoped.
Our cold savoury bite varieties are organic egg salad with truffle and rosemary on white bread and French roast chicken and lemon mayonnaise on 6-grain bread (from the Rive Gauche Tea Set), as well as foie gras mousse with dried fruit shortbread slices and – our absolute favourite – prawn and avocado shooters with orange tobiko (from the Versailles Tea Set).
Then it’s time for the hot snacks. Chicken and leek pie “en bouche” and quiche Lorraine with spinach, turkey and Emmentaler from the Rive Gauche Tea Set are a big hit. But we especially love the Wagyu Wellington and escargot stuffed in mushroom caps from the Versailles Tea Set, which we happily scoff in accompaniment to our TWG teas.
And, of course, it won’t be afternoon tea without the scones. Though somewhat crumbly and a little on the bland side, the scones are still enjoyable when loaded with a dollop of clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Sweet-wise, we get the green tea matcha opera slices, Éclair with dulce de leche and salted caramel glaze, and macaron pistachio cream with strawberry biscuits. But one of our favourite morsels from the Rive Gauche Tea Set is the pretty raspberry and clotted cream choux.
We also try the mini French toast, lemon cream cheese tartlets, three milk cake, and lavender pot au crème from the Versailles Tea Set. Each mouthful is as gratifying as the last, and it reminds us of why we fell in love with afternoon tea to begin with.
Oh, and did we mention the unlimited servings of TWG tea? That’s your caffeine for the day, sorted.
Verdict: If you’re not celebrating, a visit here for an afternoon tea will make you feel like you are (or should be). However, we’d only wish that there were more variety of teas to pick from. Having said that, we’d go back for afternoon tea at L’Ami Dave in a heartbeat – the only thing we’d do differently would be to wear looser trousers. Plus, the bow-tied and white-jacketed staff is unobtrusive. So, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to signal – they’re likelier to hold back than hover.
L’Ami Dave Afternoon Tea, Mon to Sat 3pm to 7pm, Mansard Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel, 4248 Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Road, Riyadh 13315. Tel: 011 829 0949 / 011 829 0950. @lamidaveriyadh