Kay Woodward headed to Café Murano to take in the glorious art coupled with an exceptional High Tea.

When it comes to artistic entrances, the lobby of Marsa Malaz Kempinski, the Pearl- Qatar absolutely nails it. The hotel’s high ceilings soar majestically, the lofty spaces showcasing a jaw-dropping array of Arabian art. The Tree of Life is a stunning glass chandelier, surrounded by fluttering hummingbirds, handmade from Murano glass in Venice. There are 50 more chandeliers to check out if you have the time, but it’s high tea o’clock and we can’t wait.

Café Murano

Our destination is the aptly named Café Murano. There’s more fabulous art inside, from Silver Samurai – a crystal and glass sculpture created by artist Jiri Suhajek in 1999 – to the pearly mosaics that glisten all around. Mercy – our simply lovely host – welcomes us and we venture across possibly the plushest carpet in Doha to our table with a view. Outside, pools sparkle, palm trees sway and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf ripple. All this and high tea too? Excellent.

Café Murano’s High Tea includes unlimited tea and coffee, so we dive straight in, kicking off with the White Peony Loose Tea and Assam Breakfast Loose Tea. These arrive in glass tea cafetières, accompanied by a dinky three-minute timer. Once the grains have tumbled to the bottom, the tea leaves are perfectly brewed. Ahh. And also ooh! Because the afternoon-tea stand has arrived! Three tiers of colourful scrumptiousness float before us – a sweetand-savoury tower of wonder. This is where you’d probably like to hear about the cakes, but hang on, there’s etiquette to follow and the sandwiches are mostly definitely first.

These sandwiches are so neat, they look as if they’ve been prepared with a ruler and a set square. The bread is unfussy – white and brown – and obviously, crust-free. The fillings are divine. I’ll apologise now for the long list, but there is simply nothing I can bear to leave out.

The Egg Sandwich is egg mayonnaise with a hint of truffle. The Chicken Curry Sandwich bears more than a passing resemblance to Coronation Chicken and has just the right amount of spice. The Brie Cheese with Strawberry Jam is a subtle blend of savoury and sweet. The Salmon With Cream Cheese Sandwich is generous and delicious, with a caper and a tiny sprig of dill perched on top. But the Labneh with Cucumber Sandwich outdoes them all with pure sandwich glamour; as well as cucumber within, it’s cloaked with a thinly sliced layer of cucumber. It’s the prettiest sandwich I’ve ever seen.

We wish we could eat them all again. And guess what?

We can!

The sandwiches are as refillable as the tea and coffee. This is seriously the first time I’ve ever had an afternoon tea with unlimited sandwiches. Seconds it is, then!

Now for the sweet stuff.

The Chocolate Raspberry is a classic flavour combination, with chocolate mousse and chocolate inside a glistening raspberry coating. The Coconut Profiterole is wonderfully reimagined and topped with blueberry icing. The Pistachio Passionfruit Finger is tangy and zingy – pistachio-flavoured jaconde sponge is layered with mango jelly. The macaron is to die for: Italian meringue and lemon curd with a hint of vanilla, within a perfect ring of orange. It’s a mouthful of cloudiness.

Dotted with caramelised almond and dusted with silver, the Chocolate Bonbon is the perfect full stop.

Oh no it isn’t! The best part of any afternoon tea has to be the scone – there’s both fruit and plain – with jam and clotted cream. Yum, just yum.

Café Murano is open from 7am to 11pm. But go between 2pm and 6pm for High Tea that’s as exquisite as the art that surrounds it and you won’t need to eat ANYTHING else all day. ✤