Patisseries have sprouted up all over the country this year (which is fortunate, since 2016 has been a year in which we’ve needed cake more than usual). Here’s where to find afternoon tea in the cities near you – whether you’re after the five-star hotel experience, or something a little more informal.
Belle’s Patisserie (Birnam)
Linda Lipschitz is a doyenne of French pastry and American cakes. Her famed high teas – styled like a whimsical Parisian fling – are available all day and are all Kosher. For R165 per person, you’ll get a hot drink and a stand filled with pretty macarons, sandwiches (filled with egg mayo or tomato and basil pesto), mini cupcakes in flavours like salted caramel, and the Belle’s famous red-velvet cake. If you’re four people, the fourth person enjoys a free high tea.
The Manor House is the high-tea haven at Fairlawns from 11am to 5pm. The classic high tea has the sweet stuff by way of fresh scones with real clotted cream and strawberry preserves, pastries, macarons, pavolva, choc brownies, profiteroles and cupcakes. Savouries might include ribbon sandwiches of smoked salmon and cucumber, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise with watercress. Teas and coffees are included in the R235 per person charge, champagne or sparkling wine can be ordered by the glass. Reservations are essential.
The High Tea Company
This event is held twice a year by two entrepreneurs, Bonnie Chimanikire and Zodwa Sibanda. If you miss the one on 12 November, there’ll be another in May. It starts at 1pm and ends seven fun and interesting hours later. The beautiful and seemingly never-ending high tea is equally for good conversation and networking, steered by guest speakers from industries like film, business, humanitarianism and the media. The food side of things features sweet delights like red-velvet cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting, mixed-berry cupcakes, mini-vanilla lamingtons and fairy-dusted fruit slices. Savouries include mini quiches and small beef pot pies, roasted chicken drumlettes and wraps. Hot and cold drinks and wines are all included. The price is R650 a ticket.
JHB Culinary and Pastry School (Maboneng)
This Maboneng college will host its student-prepared high teas for groups of 15 or more over the festive season. Favourites include mince balls with freshly made prego sauce; beautifully presented open sandwiches of salmon, thin cucumber and homemade tzatziki; chocolate-and-raspberry marble cake; and moreish strawberry-and-lemon baked cheesecake. Everything, even the bread, is made there. All this for R160 a head.
Lila’s French Patisserie (Parktown North)
For a high tea the French way, with delicacies of sweet and savoury flavours in a lovely box to take to your preferred destination, call Lila Bultel (078 383 2929). Her macarons and éclairs are out of this world.
Moemas Patisserie (Parktown North)
Moemas will hone a menu for you – even if you want your high tea at another location – but why not choose from the Delightful (R140 per person) or Decadent (R190 per person) high-tea menu. Both include a welcome drink, plus tea or coffee. The Delightful offers mini fishcakes, divine tiny sandwiches, custard-and-berry tartlets and mini banoffee, while the Decadent has a few more expensive items like salmon blinis and Danielle Postma’s magical petits fours. Reservations are essential.
Patisserie de Paris (Blairgowrie)
Chef Paul Zwick’s patisserie has become something of a high-tea magnet, offering exceptionally good and unusual choices for R125 per head. The treats are gorgeously laid out on damask cloths with three-tier stands containing sweet or savoury hand-crafted pastries. Select from 20 items like salted-caramel cream puffs, real mille-feuille, pecan-pie tartlets, mini apple crumbles, petit fours, Belgian chocolate tarts, and mini cocktail croissants filled with salmon and cream cheese. The price includes a tea or coffee, but you’re welcome to bring your own champagne with no corkage fee.
Anya’s Tea Garden (Zwavelpoort)
Anya’s doesn’t offer a formal high tea, but as one of Pretoria’s most famous tea-and-cake stops, it’s definitely a must. The extensive range of specialty teas is perfectly partnered by exquisite cakes. (The baked caramel cheesecake is a winner.) They also offer a few banting options.
Chocolat et Cafe (Hazelwood)
Classic high teas can be arranged at this adorable café set right in the hub of the very popular Hazelwood area. Pop in any day for a slice of cake from the impressive cake table, and if you ask nicely, they’ll whip up tea sandwiches on the spot. They also cater for vegans and vegetarians, so no-one is left out.
Jam and Daisies (New Muckleneuk)
This quaint eatery in the leafy suburb of New Muckleneuk offers an Anytime High Tea at R130 per person. A glass of bubbly along with a pot of tea or cup of coffee is served with a slice of delectable quiche and your choice of cake.
Kievits Kroon (Kameeldrift-East)
Kievits Kroon pulls out all the stops with its high tea at R195 per person. The extensive selection of pastries, cakes and sandwiches makes it hard to choose, but the smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon pearl sandwich and the white-chocolate-and-coffee cake definitely stand out.
Rozenhof Tea Garden (Brooklyn)
Set in the beautiful gardens of the Rozenhof Guest House, this tea garden offers a lovely tea for two for R190 per person. Reservations are essential. Expect a delicious spread of scones, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits.
The Sheraton Hotel (Arcadia)
This iconic establishment offers a classic high tea with a bit of South African influence. For R195 per person you can feast on home-made marshmallows, Hertzoggies, milk tart, classic éclairs and cucumber sandwiches.
Audacia Manor (Morningside)
A true tea party can be enjoyed at this boutique hotel. Relax in the majestic old Durban home and savour the elegant savoury options such as mini croissants filled with roasted chicken and aioli, and homemade kefta balls with tomato chutney. The sweet menu includes delicate traditional English crumpets and crème brûlée tarts. The cost varies from R120, R160 or R180 per person, depending on the menu. Reservations are essential, and can be made for a maximum of 25 people, making this an ideal party venue.
Boutique Boulangerie (Glenwood)
For R160 to R200 per person, high tea lovers can build their own tea package and enjoy it at the quaint bakery. Pick from a combination of sweet and savoury items such as salted-caramel cheesecake with toasted nuts, ginger-and-sour-cream cake, mini pavlovas, pear tartlets, savoury scones, quiches, caramelised-onion-and-feta tarts, bruschettas and savoury pies.
Coral Lounge (Durban central)
Book a table at this glitzy Hilton Hotel spot and enjoy a luxurious high tea for R210 per person. The tea includes a range of pastries from the patisserie fridge, cakes, light savoury snacks, and a range of loose-leaf Ronnefeldt teas with options like Green Dragon, Jasmine, Cream Orange and Sweet Berries. High tea takes place every Saturday from 2pm until 5pm.
Jeera (Suncoast Casino)
Experience a stunning high tea with an Indian twist at this popular restaurant. For R175 per person, guests can indulge in a sensory tea service with a wide selection of unique speciality teas, including aromatically spiced Bombay and Masala chai, served alongside delectable sweet and savoury offerings like rose macaroons infused with fragrant rose petals, burfee shortbread and cinnamon éclairs. On the savoury side of things there are tasty smoked-salmon bagels with paneer, cucumber-and-cumin finger sandwiches, and Sandren’s butter-chicken cigars. The Jeera high tea takes place Monday to Friday from 2pm to 4.30pm.
The Palm Court at The Oyster Box Hotel (Umhlanga Rocks)
With a piano softly playing in the background, tea lovers can nestle into comfortable armchairs as a bevy of discreet waiters springs into action. This impressive colonial Palm Court space is adorned with chandeliers from the Savoy Hotel in London, making a fitting backdrop for the sumptuous buffet of pastries, elegant finger sandwiches, gleaming jars of jewel-like Turkish delight and an abundance of savouries. The afternoon tea runs daily from 2.30pm to 5pm and the cost is R290 per person.
Two Acres Tearoom (Hillcrest)
This tranquil Hillcrest teahouse and bakery offers a country tea menu with an à la carte selection of afternoon tea items. This can take the form of breakfast, tea or lunch and is ideal for baby showers and special birthday celebrations. Guests can choose from an array of delicious items to feast on while they sip on their choice of tea. Think custard tartlets, homemade marmalades and jams, salmon blinis and savoury pies. The restaurant suggests either an 11.30am or a 1.30pm booking for a tea party.
The Sugar Club (Umhlanga Rocks)
The afternoon Haute Tea at the lavish Sugar Club restaurant is hosted every Saturday afternoon. Sip on a selection of premium Ronnefeldt teas and select items from the high-tea buffet, such macarons, chocolate éclairs, smoked-salmon blinis and prawn-mousse profiteroles. A monthly themed menu adds to the five-star experience, which runs from 2.30pm to 4.30pm and costs R265 per person.
Belmond Mount Nelson (City Bowl)
Find a seat on the beautiful terrace or recline in the luxurious lounge and enjoy delicate finger sandwiches filled with rare roast beef and rocket or smoked salmon, and finish off with dark-chocolate cake, lemon meringue or freshly baked scones with clotted cream and preserves. Sip on signature Mount Nelson teas expertly blended from Darjeeling, Kenyan, Assam, Keemun, Yunnan and Ceylon leaves and rose petals from the hotel’s garden. Afternoon tea is served daily between 1.30pm and 3.30pm at R325 per person (R185 per child under 12). Or opt for the lighter morning tea, which is served daily from 9.30am to 12pm at R255 per person.
High Tea (Plumstead)
Relax in this tranquil garden venue and feast on savoury muffins, an assortment of cakes (carrot, lemon, granadilla, apple and mocha), chocolate mousse, pear tart and lemon meringue all made by Irma Brümmer, a Silwood-trained Cordon Bleu chef. Complement your snacks with a cup of Kamili coffee or a pot of exotic tea.
Kirstenbosch Tea Room (Newlands)
Enjoy a leisurely stroll in the Kirstenbosch Gardens and then treat yourself to a special English tea for two. Savour sandwiches, mini spinach-and-feta quiches and home-made scones while sipping on assorted Dilmah teas or filter coffee, all for R280 for two. The tea room is open daily from 8.30am to 5pm.
Café Grill, The Leopard Bar and Conservatory at 12 Apostles (Camps Bay)
Sip on ‘Tea by the Sea’ while you soak up the breathtaking sea-and-mountain views. The Twelve Apostles offers a selection of home-made traditional pastries, warm scones and finger sandwiches along with coffee or fragrant teas from around the world. Tea is served daily from 10am to 4pm in the Café Grill, The Leopard Bar and Conservatory at R275 per person. A high-tea buffet is also available on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm until 4pm.
Lady Bonin Tea Parlour (City Bowl)
While this quaint tea bar isn’t your standard high-tea spot, you can still sample a selection of teas such as pumpkin chai latte, matcha latte, Morocco choco minto and more. If you’re hungry there are delicious tea-infused sweet treats on offer.
O’ways Tea Café (Claremont)
Tuck into tea- and coffee-themed treats that are paired with different beverages. The teas range from Nigiro teas and infusions and Chinese green teas to unique South African rooibos blends. Book a spot for a tea-appreciation course or pop in for a few cups of your choice paired with muffins, cheese cake or barley cake.
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden (Rondebosch)
Offering a panoramic view of Cape Town, this family-friendly cottage restaurant boasts gardens with playground to occupy the kiddies while guests enjoy homemade mini quiches, bagels, lemon meringues, scones and a selection of tea and coffee.
Signal at Cape Grace Hotel (V&A Waterfront)
An afternoon tea can be spent gazing upon the yacht marina while sipping loose-leaf teas poured from dainty teapots. The cream tea consists of homemade scones with strawberry jam and cream for R75 per person. Afternoon tea includes freshly baked traditional and savoury scones, finger sandwiches and either loose-leaf tea or coffee for R185 per person. (Add a glass of sparkling wine for a festive afternoon tea at R255 per person, or have the champagne tea for R420 per person.) Teas are served daily from 12 noon to 6pm.
The Vineyard Hotel (Newlands)
The afternoon tea in the garden lounge includes a selection of freshly baked cakes, teas and barista-made coffees. The Lady Anne’s Afternoon Tea three-tiered stand comes decorated with sandwiches filled with cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and peppered beef; sundried tomato pinwheels; spinach-and-piquant-pepper wraps; vanilla rocky-road cheesecake; pink-lemonade cupcakes; basil crème pâtissière tart with rhubarb and strawberry; scones with home-made jam, cream and cheese; and a selection of biscuits and tartlets. The price of R165 per stand includes one cup of tea or filter coffee.
Vista Bar and Lounge at One&Only (V&A Waterfront)
At an afternoon tea at One&Only, a selection of confectionery is on offer, such as chocolate delice, baked vanilla-bean cheesecake, caramel-and-gold-leaf éclairs, macarons, tea sandwiches and buttermilk scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The afternoon tea buffet is available from 2.30pm until 5:30pm daily at R295 per person and includes selected teas and coffees.
Anthonij Rupert (Franschhoek)
Indulge in high tea at this gorgeous venue for R140 per person. Sweet options might include gluten-free almond-and-chocolate cake, orange polenta cake, baked cheesecake and strawberry macarons. Savoury treats could be the likes of phyllo cups with butternut, feta and spinach, smoked-salmon mousse bouché, or mini cheddar scones. You could opt to sip on the fine tea selection from TWG Grand Crus Prestige Teas for an extra R15 each, with options such as French Earl Grey, Moroccan mint or royal Darjeeling. Reservations are essentials and bookings are for a minimum of two guests.
Grande Roche Hotel (Paarl)
This grand hotel offers high tea seven days a week from 3pm to 5pm at R210 and R250 per person for group bookings over 25 people. The snacks are served plated to individuals or as part of a buffet, depending on the number of guests. Savoury items could include ham-and-cheese sandwiches, Parma ham and olives; or you might enjoy sweets like apple crumble. The high tea includes bottomless Ceylon or rooibos tea or coffee.
Pierneef à La Motte (Franschhoek)
Enjoy the estate’s Winelands Tea in the restaurant, on the stoep or in the picturesque garden. The offerings include sausage rolls, savoury tarts, choux pastries, macaroons, soet-koekies and tea cake alongside a selection of the finest teas of the world. Coffee drinkers can enjoy a steaming cup of La Motte’s house blend. Following the custom of the old Cape, guests can order a glass of sweet wine or La Motte sparkling wine at an additional cost of R45. Available Tuesday to Sunday from 3pm to 4.30pm at R165 per person.
La Residence (Franschhoek)
La Residence will whip up a full high tea at R400 per person. A selection of loose-leaf teas and speciality coffees is on offer, with finger sandwiches, decadent sweet treats and warm English scones with preserves served to complement the beverage selection.
Have we missed out your favourite spot for high tea? Tell us about it in the comments below.