Cape Town’s tea spots – afternoon tea, high tea, tea cafés, tea shops
Coffee? Tea? Tea!
“If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” William Gladstone got it right just like the Chinese: “Rather three days without food than a day without tea.” Surprise, surprise, there is a tea culture in Cape Town. From High and Afternoon Teas to a tea caravan – Cape Town has the right tea spot for you.
High Tea/Afternoon Tea
The Mount Nelson Hotel - daily Morning Tea from 9.30am – 12.30pm as well as Afternoon Tea from 2:30pm – 5.30pm with live music
• Drinks: A varied array of leaf and flowering teas from Nigiro Tea Merchants including the signature Mount Nelson Tea, a blend from six teas with rose petals out of the Mount Nelson’s very own garden.
• Snacks: Delicate finger sandwiches filled with rare roast beef and rocket, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise or cucumber, delectable dark chocolate cake, heavenly lemon meringue, freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and preserves, typical South African milk tart.
• Price: Morning Tea: R105 per person, R60 per child under 12; Afternoon Tea: R165 per person, R85 per child under 12
76 Orange Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 483 1948
Table Bay Hotel V&A – daily Mad Hatters high tea from 2.30pm to 5.30pm
• Drinks: A selection of fresh house teas, specialised coffees and homemade ice tea.
• Snacks: Blueberry muffins, raisin scones, homemade jams, lemon curd and Chantilly clotted cream, chocolate-peanut butter cake, red velvet cup cakes etc. Plus, something a little spicy: roasted parsnip, mushroom and cheese quiche or smoked salmon and asparagus quiche.
• Price: R160 per person
Quay 6 | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 406 5918
One&Only - high tea daily from 2.30pm – 5.30pm
• Drinks: Selection of 35 teas, representing eight different tea families: Oolong, green, black, white, infused and fruit teas.
• Snacks: A three tier-stand with chocolate delice, baked vanilla bean cheesecake, caramel and gold leaf éclairs, tea loaf, macaroons, tea sandwiches and fine buttermilk scones.
• Price: R145 per stand weekdays excluding tea/coffee, R145 per person on weekends, inclusive of tea/coffee
V&A Waterfront | Dock Road | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 431 5800
Grande Provence - high tea on Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm – 5pm
• Drinks: A selection of the Revolution tea range: Earl Grey lavender, tropical green, golden chamomile herbal, English breakfast, southern mint herbal, white pear, sweet ginger peach, Bombay Chai, dragon eye Oolong.
• Snacks: Freshly baked scones served with homemade plum preserve and whipped cream, chocolate mousse cake, carrot muffins, smoked salmon sandwiches.
• Price: High tea platter R95 for 2 people
Main Road | Franschhoek | +27 (0)21 876 8600
Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa – daily traditional high tea from 10am – 5pm
• Drinks: Dilmah teas with a variety of flavours to choose from, including vanilla, almond, Moroccan mint and others including all the standards teas; Cap Classique.
• Snacks: Scones with cream and preserve, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, sweet pastries, baked cheesecake with berry compote and carrot cake with cream cheese and roasted hazelnut topping.
• Price: R95.00 – R195.00
Minor Road 16 | Franschhoek | +27 (0)21 876 8900
Grande Roche Hotel – daily high tea from 3pm – 5 pm
• Drinks: 21 different teas sourced from various suppliers and filter coffee.
• Snacks: Sweet and savoury stands including chocolate dipped fruit, home made mini scones, chocolate brownie, apple crumble, fruit tartlets, profiteroles, cucumber sandwiches, ham & cheese sandwiches, Parma ham, olives, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.
• Price: R95 per person
Plantation Street | Paarl | +27 (0)21 863 5100
Taj – daily high tea from 3pm – 6pm
• Drinks: A selection of 20 different loose leaf teas (including Rooibos loose leaf tea) from Nigiro Tea Merchants, hot beverages such as chili-hot chocolate.
• Snacks: Chocolate eclairs, choc-chip scones, chocolate cake and other delectable chocolate delights.
• Price: R120 per person
Wale Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 819 2000
Vineyard Hotel – daily high tea from 12pm -3pm
• Drinks: A wide variety of Twinings and Dilmah teas: Ceylon, pure Rooibos, Earl Grey, Green Tea, Natural, Jasmine, Lemon, Oolong, pure chamomile flowers, pure Peppermint, English breakfast, organic tea, Lady Grey, Ginger spice, Blackcurrant, Peach, Lemon, Vanilla, Raspberry, Four red fruits etc..
• Snacks: A tray with a selection of finger sandwiches, vegetarian quiche, mini chocolate tart, lemon cupcake, mini fruit tartlet, poppy seed cake, coconut ice, Turkish delight, baked passion fruit cheesecake, scone with homemade strawberry jam, cream and cheese.
• Price: R95 per person
54 Colinton Road | Newlands | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 657 4500
12 Apostles Hotel – traditional high tea and Chocolate Tea by the Sea daily from 2pm – 6pm
• Drinks: Dilmah Tea: Earl Grey, Rooibos, English Breakfast, Ceylon tea, strawberry, peppermint and caramel flavoured tea, coffees, rich hot chocolate.
• Snacks: Scones, clotted cream, lemon meringue tartlets, cupcakes, mini koeksisters, finger sandwiches, Almond strawberry cupcakes, selection of biscuits, chocolate brownie, cream scones with strawberry jam, éclairs, glazed fruit tartlets, macaroons, chocolate extravaganza.
• Price: Traditional high tea R165 per stand for two, Chocolate Tea by the Sea R185 per stand for two
Victoria Road | Camps Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 437 4015
The Cape Grace – daily high tea from 11am – 6pm
• Drinks: Different teas sourced from various suppliers, different coffees and Graham Beck sparkling rosé.
• Snacks: Finger sandwiches, sugar buffet and hot Malay savouries (spring rolls, beef stays, etc.).
• Price: Traditional: R75 per person; Sugar buffet: R12/item; Sugar and bubbles: R110 per person; Sugar and spice: R110 per person
West Quay Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 410 7100
NH The Lord Charles Hotel – daily afternoon tea from 2pm – 5pm
• Drinks: 10 different Dilmah Teas and filter coffee.
• Snacks: Daily changing mini buffet offering savoury and sweet options such as finger sandwiches, scones and different types of cakes.
• Price: R65 per person
Corner Main Road (M9) & Broadway Boulevard (R44) | Somerset West | +27 (0)21 855 1040
MannaBay – high tea daily from 4pm – 5pm
• Drinks: Twinings tea: Earl Grey, Ceylon, Rooibos, Peppermint, Camomile, Four fruits.
• Snacks: Freshly baked savouries, chocolate and carrot cakes and cup cakes.
• Price: Only for in-house guests
1 Denholm Road | Oranjezicht | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 461 1094
Nigiro Tea Merchants - ‘Anytime is Tea Time’ at Origin Coffee Roasting & Nigiro Tea from Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 2pm
• Drinks: 180+ teas sourced from various parts of the world: China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Malawi, Egypt, Turkey, Czech Republic and Greece. Green, White, Show Tea, Oolong, Black, Red, Fruit Infusion, Herbal Infusion and Rooibos.
• Snacks: Dim Sum, a vegetables and soya mince filled and wholesome bun; Zong zi – two bamboo leaves filled with sticky rice, shiitake mushrooms, peanuts and soya mince. Alternatively there are breakfast and lunch options.
• Price: The loose teas can range from R49 (per 100g) to the most delicate green tea which costs about R305.
28 Hudson Street | De Waterkant | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 421 1000
Lady Bonin – travels to different markets (e.g. youmeandeveryoneweknow market, Boulders Market), festivals and events
• Drinks: Loose-leaf teas as take-away hot teas or ice-teas, fresh daily blends; 23 different loose-leaf teas: blended black, Black, Green, White, Oolong, Flavoured Black Teas, Fruit Infusions, Herbal in glass jars sourced from their countries of origin and locally: China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, South America, Russia, UK, South Africa; blends to requests on site.
• Snacks: Cupcakes, delicacies and other savories treats that compliment each tea.
• Price: R15 for all teas and blends as a drinking capacity, Snow Lotus R40 drinking capacity. The jar prices vary between R35 and R85.
Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0)83 628 2504
Oways – the tea cafe is open from Monday to Friday 7.30am – 5pm, Saturdays from 9am – 2pm
• Drinks: Over 66 teas from Nigiro Tea Merchants (engage with the tea maker on the tea counter).
• Snacks: Cold and warm kitchen, tea and coffee inspired foods from East and West for food pairing with tea and coffee.
• Price: Average food (single serving of breakfast, lunch and dessert courses) is about R35, a medium sized pot of tea is R25 with teapot warmer, hourglass and correct temperatured water.
Shop 2 | Heritage House | 20 Dreyer Street | Claremont | +27 (0)21 671 2850
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and tea garden - open seven days a week from 9am – 5pm, high teas on request
• Drinks: Black tea, Earl Grey, Herbal, organic Rooibos, light Buchu tea and Lavazza coffee. • Snacks: Cakes (they have had the same baker for 25 years using tried and tested recipes): apple crumble, milk tart, brandy pudding, scones, muffins and lemon meringue.
• Price: R25 and up
Rhodes Memorial Restaurant | Table Mountain Nature Reserve | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 689 9151
Tibetan Tea House (Sophea Gallery) – open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm
• Drinks: The two most popular teas are the home made spiced Chai and Tibetan salty butter tea. They serve these in traditional Tibetan wooden teacups as Tibetan folklore states that “drinking tea from a wooden cup makes you handsome, popular and wise!” Also on offer: an excellent range of imported organic black, white and green teas, fruit infusions and flavoured rooibos teas that are sourced from a supplier who has made sure that organic is truly organic and that fair-trade principles are applied. Fresh herb teas and infusions from herbs such as rose geranium, lemon geranium and lemon grass organically grow in their own garden.
• Snacks: The emphasis is on ‘kind food’ and offers delicious vegan and vegetarian food based on Tibetan recipes. Despite the fact that Tibetans don’t really eat cakes the sweet toothed among us are well catered for with all vegan egg-free sweets menu. Scones, chocolate cake, apple crumble with vegan cream or ice-cream, lemon cupcakes which include a gluten free, egg free, wheat free version.
• Price: Meal prices vary from R35 – R58, teas from R12-R17 and cakes from R15-R23
2 Harrington Road | Seaforth | Simon’s Town | +27 (0)21 786 1544
Kirstenbosch Tea Room – daily afternoon tea from 8.30am – 5pm
• Drinks: Dilmah teas with a variety of flavours to choose from, including Ceylon, Earl Grey, peppermint, camomile, Green tea, ginger etc.
• Snacks: Cucumber and cream cheese or egg sandwiches on either white or wholewheat bread, mini spinach-and-feta quiches, home-made scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream and one cake.
• Price: R140 for two
Gate 2 | Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens | Rhodes Drive | Newlands | +27 (0)21 797 4883
Another beautiful tea-spot on sunny days is Tea under trees in Paarl. It’s a beautiful garden, almost park that offers several teas and a dreamy vintage environment. Contact Debbie Redelinghuys (+27 (0)82 825 5666) for more information.
by Antonia Heil
written for capetownmagazine.com