Afternoon Tea, Cream Tea, High Tea or plain old koek en tee – call it what you want, just have it often. Cake and tea are not mere indulgences, I feel, but necessities to comfort us through this rough old ride called life. My motto? Must. Have. Cake.
Every once in a while, therefore, it is imperative to stop what you’re doing and break for something sweet and hot. Some gin maybe. A glass of bubbly? And nowhere better to do this than at The Table Bay Hotel. A favourite haunt of celebrities and glitterati, this grand 5-star Waterfront hotel offers an Afternoon Tea fit for royalty. Truly, it is plush. Gliding down the escalators from the V&A into the lofty lobby of The Table Bay is enough to make you feel like a Hollywood star. After the fabulous spread of their High Tea, you might want to try on a tiara too.
The nice part about it is that you can choose how much to splurge – have a 1-, 2- or 3-course tea (these things do exist, and they are a good idea), choose from a huge variety of speciality teas, augment with a little cocktail, wine or bubbly, and off you go. One afternoon of your life, sorted.
The menu choices are as follows:
High Tea: R 280.00 a 3-course High Tea inclusive of three TWG teas from the tea menu.
Tea Royale: R 340.00 3-course high tea offering inclusive of three TWG teas from the tea menu, served with a glass of MCC bubbly.
Sinful Delight: R 140.00 A Selection of Sweet Treats from the Dessert Buffet, inclusive of one TWG Tea from the tea menu.
I was invited by Table Bay Hotel to preview the High Tea Winter Menu and took along my 16 year-old teenage son. Not expecting him to make much of the experience, I’m glad to report he loved every second, every little mouthful. He even ordered a speciality tea, the TWG 1837, for its caramel and citrus notes, he said, and this he enjoyed hugely, pausing to give comments on how he felt this tea paired with the food. Want to bond with your teenager? Take ’em to tea at Table Bay.
The 3-course tea we were served starts with little savoury dainties, moves on to a selection of cocktail sandwiches, then freshly-baked cranberry or buttermilk scones, and finally a full-on cake and pastry extravaganza on the buffet table. At R280 this is great value, I think, considering the location with its stunning view of Table Bay across the yacht basin, the impeccable service and the exceptional quality of the food. I’d never be able to manage a 3-course tea on my own, and in future will stick to scones and tea, with a little glass of something on the side. Melt-in-the-mouth snoek tartlets, crispy halfmoon pastries and samosas were a tasty start to the Tea.
Interestingly, local flavours, fynbos and indigenous plants are worked into some of the savouries and sandwiches, like here:
- House cured & smoked linefish with cream cheese, spekboom spinach, pickled agave shoots, lemon zest & green onion in roosterbrood.
- Malay-spiced beef on a Parmesan cracker with coriander chutney
- Chakalaka, dune spinach & Healy’s cheddar puff pastry roulade
- Cream cheese, chives & Cucumber in Rice paper
Next came scones and a cocktail for mum. The delicate pairing of my TWG Bain de Rose tea, lemon curd and cream scones with the refreshing, delicate cucumber & Hendricks gin martini is highly recommended. No doubt you’ll have great fun making up your own personal pairings. There are many other cocktails to choose from as well as a great selection of wines, bubbly and imported champagne.
Pastry Chef Bobby Kumar came to our table to chat, a really nice surprise, and it is clear he has a great deal of love and passion for his craft. The buffet table is spectacular, with very vividly-coloured cakes,tortes, dainties and sweet delights, but it was the tastes of these that really thrilled us. Chef Bobby bakes like an angel, producing ethereally light, subtly-flavoured creations that makes you sit back and go ‘Wow! Can’t believe the magic happening in my mouth right now!’
Have a look at this for some motivation to make your High Tea booking right now:
(More than 15 cakes and dainties to choose from. I know, right? Crazilicious.)
- Mango mousse on banana blondie with feulletine
- Apricot and almond cake
- Mini gateaux opera (layers of almond sponge cake, coffee syrup, choc ganache, coffee buttercream, chocolate glaze) – this was SENSATIONAL
- Cape citrus and condensed milk caramel custard
- Not-so lemon meringue pie (lime mousse on a biscuit base with meringue and raspberry caviar, absolutely incredible)
- Cardamom and pistachio éclairs
- Ginger and orange Financier
- Salted espresso caramel and hazelnut-chocolate tart
- Banana cupcakes with maple pecan frosting
- Rose macarons sandwiched with vanilla cream cheese
- Assortment of homemade choc truffles
- Almond frangipane strawberry tart with lemon gelée
- Tiramisu Swiss roll
- Chocolate praline mousse sphere on a flourless cake
- Saffron and almond milk with homemade Oreo cookies
- Bain de rose panna cotta, macerated raspberries and lemon curd cream
- Cheese board (selected local artisan cheese, with fruits, homemade biscuits and preserves)
Children are made to feel very welcome at The Table Bay, and there is even a special menu for them. On the day of our visit there were two tables of families with young children, who were clearly having as much fun as the teen and I were. And who wouldn’t, with this to choose from:
- Almond and cranberry nougat
- Assorted marshmallow
- Chocolate treat half nougat eggs
- Dark chocolate coated nougat
You’ll be looking for these details right about now:
The Table Bay’s famous high tea is available from Monday to Sunday. To accommodate demand, two sittings are staged; the first is 14h00 to 15h30 and the second at 16h00 to 17h30. The price for the winter high tea will be R280.00 per person.
For more information or bookings please contact TableBayDining@suninternational.com or 021 406 5988.
For more info and images on this glorious experience, please click here: Table Bay: The Best High Tea in Cape Town