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August 02, 2012

Kayli Vee Levitan’s best tea spots in Cape Town

Taking time out for yourself in Cape Town can take many forms. You can take a walk on the beach, enjoy a spa treatment, tuck into gourmet food and wine or sip on a perfect brew with a few sweet treats to delight you at high tea.

Often the perfect way to catch up with friends or loved ones, high tea not only offers an afternoon of exciting new teas and treats that delight the eyes and palate, you can also enjoy all of this while admiring the splendour of your surroundings.

I sampled a few high teas on offer around the city and found a few gems.

The Table Bay Hotel

Time: 12h30 – 17h30

Table Bay Hotel

The Table Bay Hotel was my lucky high tea number one. For R185 per person the first course is savoury; mushroom quiche, salmon quiche, vegetable wraps and a range of sandwiches. The second course features plain, currant and red pepper scones served with strawberry and stunning grape jam, lemon curd and clotted cream. The third course is a buffet of cakes, tarts and hot desserts. With each course you choose from a list of 1 000 teas, which is no easy task.

It’s an over-the-top, extravagant experience, where you feel spoilt, but not quite as comfortable as I would have liked. Staring out the double doors over the sea, I felt a tad regal, and when the pianist started playing, My Heart Will Go On the picture was complete. Although I must be honest, by the end I didn't want to drink tea or eat cake ever again.

Location: Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront
Contact: +27 (0)21 406 5000
Website: www.suninternational.com

Vista Bar & Lounge at The One&Only

Time: 14h30 – 17h30

Vista Bar & Lounge at The One&Only

The One&Only’s Vista Bar surprised me. I always thought that it was unnecessarily pretentious, but their high tea for R145 per person was lovely.

It was a relatively simple buffet with a lovely selection of savoury pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches and quiches as well as petit fours, cakes and tarts. We were taught about the 30 or so teas on offer and were able to make an educated choice, rather than a random one. With book in hand, we sat munching happily watching the rain hit the lagoon and I was happy to change my opinion about the Vista Bar.

Location: One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront
Contact: +27 (0)21 431 5800
Website: www.capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com

Kirstenbosch Tea Room

Time: 8h30 – 17h00

Kirstenbosch Tea Room

As this was the only high tea I went to that was not hosted in a hotel, it was quite a different experience.

Unless previously arranged for 12 guests or more, there is no high tea buffet.

The Kirstenbosch take on high tea is an English Tea for Two for R120. You have a choice of either egg and horseradish, cheese and tomato or cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, as well as a selection of cakes, mini quiches and biscuits to choose from.

I quite liked the fact that there is somewhere to go for a simple, mini high tea, and that you can amble around the gardens afterwards.

Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Contact: +27 (0)21 797 4883 
Website: www.ktr.co.za

The Taj Hotel

Time: 14h00 – 18h00

The Taj Hotel

The Taj Hotel does not want any competition, so they created a completely different high tea offering.

Every two months the theme of their high tea changes. For R95 per person we had a refillable food stand stocked with Indian savoury delicacies including samoosas, tikka chicken pies and spiced biscuits, as well as sweet delicacies including cardamom cheesecake, condensed milk and pistachio squares and buttery almond biscuits. The sweet and spicy masala tea was the perfect accompaniment.

Finally, I had a pot of the most delicious tea I’ve had the pleasure of drinking, “Blooming Richness”, a Chinese Flower Bud show tea, which arrived in a tight little bud and bloomed into a gorgeous flower.

The theme from 1 August is South Africa, so prepare yourself for some koeksisters, melktert and other South African favourites.

Location: The Taj Cape Town, Wale Street, Cape Town
Contact: +27 (0)21 819 2000
Website: www.tajcapetown.co.za/blog

 

 

 

The Mount Nelson Hotel

Time: 14h30 – 17h30

The Mount Nelson Hotel

Probably Cape Town’s most well-known high tea venue, The Nellie was the last venue on my journey.

Served on the Windsor Table, guests spill out on to the patio and into the garden. For R185 per person you are offered an extensive buffet. My favourites were the salmon wraps, spinach muffins, roast beef sandwiches, baby crumpets, apple crumble with clotted cream and the chocolate and banana pie.

I roamed the table a few times looking for scones and couldn’t find any, but considering how much I have eaten over the past few weeks, it was probably for the best. The setting itself is lovely and I was so lucky to be there on a warm, sunny day.

Location: Mount Nelson Hotel, Orange Street, Gardens
Contact: +27 (0)21 819 2000
Website: www.mountnelson.co.za

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Time: 14h00 – 18h00

Created for, but not limited to, two people sharing, the 12 Apostles high tea at only R195 per stand is a reasonable treat. Hosted in the warm and inviting Leopard Room and balcony, each stand is served with two drinks and a range of sweet and savoury nibbles.

The highlights for me were the pastrami, wholegrain mayo and rocket sandwich, the chicken and roasted almond roll and the light shortbread.

The atmosphere is so relaxing that we lost ourselves in the afternoon and only realised once it was dark outside that it was probably time to go home.

Location: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Camps Bay
Contact: +27 (0)21 437 9000
Website: www.12apostleshotel.com

I was concerned that the venues would offer the same experience but each venue offers something special – The Table Bay Hotel is an extravagant and opulent treat; The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is affordable and so inviting; Vista Bar and Lounge at One&Only is high-end affordability, Kirstenbosch Tea Room is simple and perfect for the whole family; The Taj Hotel is such a different but well-priced experience with brilliant service; and the Mount Nelson is a Cape Town favourite.

I have eaten enough cake and sandwiches and drunk enough tea to keep me going for a while. As much as I loved sitting down to high tea in all the venues, my body is very happy that it’s over. My mind, however, is ready for the next one.

Kayli Vee Levitan is a writer for FoodBlogCT. Follow her on Twitter at @KayliVee for more of her foodie escapades.

View more images of her diary below: 

Guest writer Kayli Vee Levitan shares her Cape Town high tea gems, a journey that began at the decadent Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

Vista Bar & Lounge at The One&Only

Kirstenbosch Tea Room

The Taj Hotel

The Mount Nelson Hotel

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