It’s Cafë Friday again! As promised, I bring you a local visit today. My best ladies and I took a little drive out to have High Tea at the very posh Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. It would be a crime to hot drink establishments everywhere not to mention this colonial style Cape English tradition. It took reserving the table a few months in advance to ensure our spot, but once again the expression rings true. Good things come to those who wait.
Forget anything anyone has ever told you about feeling like a lady and get your sweet self to this Tea Room. The space is elegantly decorated in soft colours. Feel free to wear your most risky pair of heels, because billowy couches pouffed and fluffed to their ultimate potential and stately classic wingback chairs await you. Have I even mentioned the cool welcoming terrace? Word to the wise, specify if you want to be seated here. It’s popularity can be a blessing or a curse. Once you’ve jealously walked through the terrace, heels a clacking, you’ll arrive in a beautiful traditional garden complete with the Lord Kitchener fountain, roses, crisp fresh grass, tennis courts and a pool. I recommend taking this stroll in-between savoury and sweet to clear you palate and freshen up your appetite. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit on a nice hot summer’s day.
It seems pointless to try and write about the food. It was beautiful and delicious. So much variety it was almost exhausting. I went for the tiniest portions, and still couldn’t manage to try a little of everything. Delicate de-crusted sandwiches to petite tart-lets and cakes, from light and tangy to devilishly rich chocolate cakes. Bites of sweet pleasures to finely seasoned naughtily fried savoury what’s-its. The buffet is truly overwhelming, but undeniably delicious. Perfect for those indecisive folk and those who like to have a little nibble of everything.
The selection of tea will make you stagger. A whole menu dedicated to tea varieties reaching to all eight corners of the globe. Don’t think you’ll get away with your homely ways here, the server will inform you of how long your tea is meant to steep, and just to make sure you don’t worry too much, will supply you with a little hourglass to help you check your timing. To make sure we try as much of everything as possible, we each ordered different pots of tea, and then had a cup of each. My most memorable was a pot of oriental citrus tea, for the life of me I’ll try to research the name, but it was wonderfully fragrant and quenching. It certainly helped balance out the richness of the food, and as Catherine Douzel, a person seemingly only known for this quote, once said – , “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” With such an exhaustive selection of teas, this is quite literally true. The only thing to complete this experience, would be to invite the right friends along, a challenge I believe I hit right on the head.
If you are curious about the Mount Nelson’s Afternoon High Tea, click here.