The best locations for tea in high places

2011-03-25 09:52

In a world where Lapsang souchong means something and oolong is not a

question from a North Country lass, the Mount Nelson high tea reigns


One of the world’s great hotels, The Nellie, as she is known by the

cognoscenti, is in a class all of her own – a world of colonial

splendour shared by the likes of Raffles in Singapore and the Old

Cataract Hotel in Aswan.

But don’t think of this as a place for fuddy

duddy, old dowagers.

Here you will find a plethora of Prada loafers and Ferragamo slip-ons,

very low-key and subtle, ­casually elegant accessories, extremely

­popular with international visitors and the ­locals alike.

It is not unusual for someone like ­Leonardo DiCaprio to wander by the

­terrace totally alone and quietly ignored by the blasè and yet slightly

intense ­afternoon-tea crowd.

Elegant china, the gleam of silver and the smell of money, both old and

new, mingle with the fragrance of teas from the subcontinent and


The enticing odours of cakes and savoury goodies from the

famed kitchens beguile one into taking a little something to overcome

the hunger pangs that invariably arise in such an atmosphere.

The low-key buzz of conversation, and the quietly discreet glances that

size up who is “there” complete the picture of indulgent indolence.

In good weather, tea will be taken on the hotel lawns and the famous

outside terraces, otherwise in the pretty ­appointed lounge.

If tea is not to your taste, the adjoining bar will supply Bombay

Sapphire martinis or Campari and sodas for those who prefer something


Lingering long into the afternoon is no strain in a setting such as


A not-to-be-missed moment on the Cape Town social calendar.

 021 483 1948 for bookings


The Palazzo Hotel adjacent to Montecasino recently added a high-tea menu

to its ­repertoire.

While the hotel might be a little too faux-Tuscan

for some, the kitchen makes up for it with delightful creations.


at the hotel’s Café Rialto, afternoon tea for two is R195.

011 510 3000


The pink facade of the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga has been gracing the beachfront near the lighthouse for years.

Between 3pm and 6pm you can indulge your sweet tooth while watching the surf roll in.

Tea is a pricey affair if you are the greedy sort, but you can mix and match according to your taste.

For either four sweet or savoury selections it’s R95, with scones extra at R50 or R65, ­depending on if you scoff two or three.

031 561 2211


While the Irene Farm doesn’t strictly have a high-tea menu, it’s a great

place to have tea-like things.

Attached to a large farm stall are two

restaurants, both on a working dairy farm.

The menu of The Barn includes

scones, cakes and pancakes, all charged for individually and it’s an

ideal venue if you have young children.

If you bring your own container you can take freshly squeezed milk home with you too. – Gayle Edmunds
021 667 4822

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