Enjoying a high tea with all the trimmings is magical any time of year, but especially so in winter. Piping hot tea in beautiful pots kept warm with tea lights, scrumptious treats, savoury and sweet – it’s a sure way to enjoy a chilly afternoon. These nine spots are among our favourite for afternoon tea.
Located in the new Silo District at the V&A Waterfront, The Yard combines flavours from India, Africa and South America to create unique, intercontinental dishes. Featuring a distinct Indian influence, you won’t find cucumber sandwiches or lemon curd on scones here. Instead, look forward to chicken kathi wraps, Mumbai-style sandwiches and falafel pita pockets. For the sweet-toothed, expect gulab jamun (a traditional Indian sweetmeat), cheesecake and saffron-spiced carrot cake. One of the most incredible offerings is the green-tea sponge cake served with coconut mousse.
The Yard offers a variety of exotic teas, including a traditional masala chai made the traditional way – on the stove. The high tea is available on Tuesdays to Sundays from 2.30pm onwards, priced at R295 per person.
If you yearn for spectacular views while enjoying afternoon tea, the Twelve Apostles Tea by the Sea is beckoning. Served in the Leopard Bar and Conservatory, enjoy incredible mountain and ocean views. On offer: freshly baked scones, cupcakes, macarons and finger sandwiches, as well as a selection of fragrant, loose-leaf teas – all regularly topped up.
Additionally (and equally popular), Twelve Apostles serves a vegan high tea. Enjoy the teas or cappuccinos with almond milk, and an array of delicious treats, all entirely vegan.
belmond mount nelson
High tea and the Belmond Mount Nelson are synonymous in Cape Town. Journey to a by-gone era in the newly renovated lounge and conservatory – the epitome of traditional high tea. Opt for morning, afternoon and evening tea seatings, featuring traditional to more exotic blends – a total of 40 tea varieties. If unsure, South Africa’s first expertly trained tea sommelier is on hand to guide you.
If you’re looking for something more in-depth, the tea sommelier also does tasting sessions, food pairings, masterclasses or traditional tea ceremonies. The food includes delicate sandwiches, cold meats, petits fours and cakes.
High teas range from R285 to R365 depending on time of day.
In the heart of Sandton is the Michelangelo Hotel, offering an indulgent high tea in the Piccolo Mondo restaurant. From Monday to Friday, it’s served at your table, while on weekends the space is transformed into buffet-style assortments. Enjoy course after decadent course. Traditional sandwiches and sweets sit with sushi, pastries and an assortment of canapés, plus a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and marshmallows.
Tea is served between 2.30pm and 4.30pm – stay for the duration to fully enjoy the experience. Weekday high teas are R195 and the weekday buffet is R395.
For days when you feel like revealing your inner Parisienne, The Patisserie is a little slice of confectionery heaven. The tiny café in Illovo offers a range of sweet delights and is most famous for its macarons – a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth – mellowed out with savoury options too. (If hosting your own high tea at home, The Patisserie can help up your offering’s ante.)
With a variety of different high teas on offer, choose one that best suits your appetite and budget. Tea is served in silver tea pots, and the whimsical decor will whisk you away to Paris.
Contessa is for tea lovers intent on exploring the world of tea. As a tea connoisseur, Sandton’s ‘little tea shop that could’ offers you a glimpse of what lies beyond the helms of Earl Grey and green tea (although they do serve these too). With a black-and-white checkered floor, elaborately framed mirrors and quirky wallpaper, the setting is reminiscent of a period film.
Contessa’s high teas feature a pot of exotic tea, perfect when shared with your favourite person, accompanied by an assortment of mini quiches, sandwiches, cakes and scones. Additionally, opt for a curated tea tasting.
High tea at Contessa is R159 per person.
the saint james on venice
Found in Morningside, Durban, The Saint James on Venice is a guest house also known for its delightful high-tea offering. Book one of the boardrooms for a private party or enjoy it while relaxing in the intimate garden. Due to the petite space, the experience at Saint James feels welcoming and familiar no matter where you sit.
The high tea is classic assortment of lamingtons, scones with strawberry jam and cream, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber-sandwich fingers and caprice croissants.
Jeera is the restaurant attached to the Suncoast Towers, offering a proper Durban-Indian high tea; distinct Indian delights made and served in the traditional high-tea format: rose macarons, smoked salmon bagels with paneer cheese and cucumber, and cumin finger sandwiches. Further delicacies include potato flatties, green-chilli chutney bombs and patha phyllo cigars.
The tea features a welcome drink and a traditional Indian beverage (choose between a mango lassi shot or a Bombay crush shot). The selection of teas include aromatically spiced Bombay and masala chais.
High tea is held from Monday to Sunday at R245 per person.
the beverly hills
Beverly Hills in uMhlanga offers high tea with a view. Choose from two options: during the week, indulge in a bespoke tea with a changing menu to make for regular surprises: a selection of sweet and savoury eats brought with the tea.
But the real treat is the theme tea buffet, hosted every Saturday and boasting a different theme each month. This year, look forward to Mardi Gras, ‘whimsical’ and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Saturday high teas also feature live music, at the cost of R185 per person.
Afternoon tea is served daily between 2.30pm and 5.00pm.