By Naushad Khan
The origins of High Tea are varied and its claim to fame seems to rest with many, so I think it would be best for me to describe it as I have always understood it to be. In fact, the way I learnt about High Tea was at one of these very special mid afternoon meals at the elegant and landmark Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai. Essentially a high tea was taken in the afternoon when the people returned from work and it was too early to have supper. This was the meal between lunch (the midday meal) and supper (the late evening meal).
High Teas are served across the globe and are very popular to this day. In Cape Town we are fortunate that many of our hotels and some restaurants serve a high tea daily.
The Mount Nelson high tea is definitely an institution in the Mother City and is often cited as the benchmark when visiting other establishments in the city. However, there are some very worthy contenders with spreads that are sure to please.
Here are two high teas that had my taste buds doing the waltz whilst sipping exotic teas.
• The Table Bay Hotel must rank as one Cape Town’s best located hotels, with views of Table Mountain from the elegant lounge. Their high tea is served daily from 2.30pm to 5.30pm. They serve a plated starter of deliciously baked quiches and the ever-popular cucumber sandwiches with freshly brewed teas to match.
With the sounds of some fine music in the background, this setting is an opportune space for special occasions with family or friends. It also has the ingredients – both edible and not – for any special celebration and does not cost the earth.
The second course is anchored by the all important high tea must-have: soft buttery scones served with clotted cream, strawberry jam and fresh creamy cheese. You will also enjoy some savoury pastries and teas from different parts of the world as you settle in and get ready for the buffet of sweet treats.
Chef Bobby Kumar has ensured that his high tea menu is friendly enough for all his guests. The menu includes gluten free and dairy intolerant options and is also halaal.
His creations will have you in sweets heaven for hours and include enticing fruit-infused treats include Plum Frangipane Torte; Citrus Drizzle Cream Cheese-Granadilla Cake; Mixed Berry Pavlova, and Strawberry Mascarpone Tart.
Gluten free options include Peppermint Crisp Cups; Jelly, Balsamic Strawberries and Cream; Saffron and Cashew Nut Squares; Chocolate and Nutella Macaroons; and Coconut Ice Rolls.
And some real local star desserts include Ystervarkies, Lemon Meringue Tart and The Table Bay’s famous signature Rainbow Baked Cheese Cake.
To make your reservation, call 021 406 5918; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make your booking.
• Crisp sea air and crisp service is what you can always expect at the stunning Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. They serve a two hour ‘Tea by the Sea’ experience, which is served daily from 10am to 4pm in The Café Grill, The Leopard Bar and Conservatory.
This made to order serving includes freshly made sandwiches and sweet treats that change regularly. These are served with teas of your choice. The Conservatory does offer one a more private experience and is well suited for that very special occasion. The location of this property is unrivalled and guests are spoiled when it comes to views. It’s just magical wherever you are on the premises.
Should you feel a bit more adventurous, then the high tea buffet in The Cafe Grill on the lower level will surely do the trick for you. There is just so much to choose from so it is best to take it one bite at a time. It will be difficult to choose from the variety of sandwiches, light scones, lemon meringue tarts, cupcakes, mini koeksisters, almond strawberry cupcakes, biscuits, brownies and macaroons, to name but a few.
To Book, call 021 437 9255; or send an email to email@example.com.
More High Teas in Cape Town
The Mount Nelson
Open: Daily, 2.30pm to 5.50pm
Bookings: 021 483 1948; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cape Grace
Open: Daily, 12pm to 6pm
Bookings: 021 410 7100; email@example.com
The One and Only
Open: Daily, 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Book: 021 431 4511; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Taj Hotel
Open: Daily, 3pm to 6pm
Book: 021 819 2000