The Food Byte: Fortnum & Mason, Dubai

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fortnum & Mason is a desserts lover's heaven. There. I said it. One of the best places in Piccadilly, London has opened its doors in Dubai. For those of who aren't aware, Fortnum's is a British department store that excels in luxury food items among other things.

Here's a little bit of background and an interesting story: Fortnum & Mason started off as a candle store! During the reign of Queen Anne, William Fortnum served as her footman and noticed that the Queen did not like to re-use any of the candles previously lit in the royal household. As opposed to throwing stacks and stacks of left-over candles, Fortnum decided to sell them. Eventually, he influenced his landlord Hugh Mason to join him and expand his already existing grocery business. And from then on, there was no looking back.

Here's another fun fact: Fortnum & Mason has been the official grocer to the Queen for eons. It is quintessentially British. While Fortnum's is now a fully fledged department store, it is best known for its tea, wine and food. The interiors of the Dubai branch mimic the famous Piccadilly store's Food Hall.

On a sunny afternoon, I was invited by Fortnum's at the ice-cream parlour and sample their delights. The store boasts of a plethora of fine tea, cookies, chocolates, fruit jams and other sweet treats. The first floor is a tea lovers delight. The second floor is where the magic happens- the ice-cream parlour! I didn't want to leave this place. The interiors are absolutely wonderful and you will have a hard time deciding what to choose because there's so much variety!

We started our fun journey by tasting the famous Knickerbocker Glory, a sundae made of vanilla and strawberry ice-cream, shortbread biscuits, pineapple, meringue, strawberries, whipped cream...there's way too much in the sundae to remember!

We tried the mini version the sundae and it was delicious! I loved the combination of strawberry, vanilla and pineapple; the fact that desserts arrived in pretty looking tea-cups made the whole experience even better. All we needed was a little gloomy London weather.

While we were in the midst of devouring the sundae, we were introduced to Chef Tank, a jolly man who took us through a a step by step process of how the Knickerbocker Glory is made. We watched in awe as bowls and bowls of sugary delights were brought forth. Below is just a small section that I was able to capture on camera! Do you spot the white chocolate chips? How about my favorite, the popping candy?

 While the Knickerbocker Glory seems wonderful, leave it to the professionals to concoct this amazing dessert. I had a go at piping the whipped cream under the watchful eye of Chef Tank who happily dispensed advice as I struggled to perfect the finish touch. While I make several desserts at home, the piping bag has always been my nemesis. Nonetheless, I made an effort to get it right...and failed miserably.

Here's how the Knickerbocker Glory turned out, courtesy Chef Tank.

Then came the mouth-watering banana split. Who can say no to caramelized bananas, fresh strawberries, caramel ice-cream all topped with flaked almonds, whipped cream and chocolate sauce?

This is a masterpiece. The art of presentation is vital and Fortnum's has mastered it, don't you think? It's incredible what you can do with bananas and ice-cream! I recommend this dessert (forget all the other banana splits you've had).

The sugary journey didn't end there. We were lucky enough to get a chance to create our own  ice-cream! This was the time to go berserk and choose everything on the menu. But we didn't, thankfully. We were spoilt for choice and when we finally made our decision, we came up with this.

I went for the honey and raspberry ice-cream with lychee, figs, flaked almonds, popping candy and chocolate leaves. My friend went for vanilla, coffee and ginger ice-cream topped with pistachio, chocolate chips and popping candy.

The honey ice-cream was divine! All the other honey based chocolates you've had don't match up to this. You have got to try this flavor! The honey is neither too sweet nor overwhelming and you actually enjoy every bite.

The raspberry sorbet was equally delicious. The ginger ice-cream was a bit strong for me and so was coffee (it is not for the faint-hearted).

I had an absolutely wonderful time and am so glad Fortnum & Mason is open in Dubai. I strongly recommend you try the Knickerbocker Glory and honey ice-cream. You won't regret it. Just head there on an empty stomach!

Fortnum & Mason is located between The Dubai Mall and The Address Hotel, Dubai. 

Laurel said...

Mouth watering! Will definitely be visiting it with my kids. I'm new to Dubai, would love to read/know more about such places.

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