Truly Terrific Tea

High tea at the Mount nelson

I was one of those kids that always had a play tea-set growing up. First the pink and purple plastic version, then I upgraded to the pretty mini porcelain one. That habit has never quite left me and you’ll generally always find me trying to expand my very tea time crockery by diving though antique stores one at a time. And I have to say, if you are ever invited to one of my tea parties be prepared for cakes and champagne and tea out of old copper pots and flowers and breads and the whole shebang. Oh and yes, I do mean to brag. I have definitely graduated from my time serving empty cups to teddy bears. But that still doesn’t even come close to the absolutely fabulous experience that you receive from the Mount Nelson Hotel‘s famous High Tea. 


The Mount Nelson, situated at the foot of Table Mountain was opened in 1899 in an attempt to build a hotel that rivalled even the best in London. It was a colonial drinking hole where ladies in feather hats and gentleman in tight tuxes braved the harsh African heat to escape momentarily back to Europe. From there the hotel itself moved into the future, although the true beauty of it, its insides has remained largely the same. When you step into the cool hotel today you feel transported to days gone past and you can almost even imagine a Jane Austenesque drama playing off right in front of you. the garden is teeming with roses and flowers and a manicured lawn. The inside has dark, old wooden floors on which a century of feet passed by. The carpets are so thick you can almost sink in them. You get it, the place is very, very impressive.

High Tea, also known as Afternoon Tea is one of the hotel’s most famous institutions throughout the years regardless as to who currently holds its deeds. Even today, on every day of the week you’ll find ladies with long necks and designer dresses, golden oldies, bridal showers and even 9-year-old girls who believe they finally have turned into those princesses they always wanted to be. Tea is served 3 times a day, once in the morning and twice in the afternoon with each session lasting 2 hours. 2 Hours may seem short on paper, but I promise you that is more than enough time to walk in a dame and roll out a fatty. And that’s what I just love about it.

When you show up for your slot (booking is essential) you are directed to your table, either inside with lush comfy couches and chandeliers, or out on the glass verandah with light, flowers and happiness. A pianist begins to play. Then you choose your tea. And dear god you have to choose from a whole menu of exotic teas! You can of course also add a glass of bubbly (champagne or  MCC) at an extra cost, why not, you’ll just feel more like a superstar? Then comes the savoury tray. Tiny sandwiches (no crusts!), pies, empanadas, quiches and egg rolls. Don’t fret you can always order more and then some more of these. Then come the scones, cream, butter and jam. Be sure to grab some clotted cream from the sweets table for this one. By this time you should go for your second pot of tea, I’m boring and always go for the Mount Nelson ceylon blend, I just can’t get enough of its rosy scent. Then you take on the sweet table in the middle of the ballroom. Buffets are my nightmare but this is something special. There are macaroons, cakes, cookies, fruits, fudge, slices, cake pops, danishes, eclairs and more. Oh so much more. It’s a cake lovers heaven. And you’ll most definitely find your eyes bigger than your already bulging stomach.

Clearly I love this place and this experience. I mean what’s not to love? You feel like part of the rich and famous for two hours eating and drinking utterly delicious delicacies. The only drawback if you’re not a member of the rich and famous? The price to live that lifestyle even for but two hours. It all comes down to R225 per person plus R65 for a glass of MCC. Should you be from across the pond, it’s your lucky exchange rate as it’ll come to about 15$. Wherever you are from though, it is worth it because it’s truly a memorable experience with some damn good tea.

Price: R225-R290

Booking Essential: 021 483 1948

Times: 9h30-12h00, 13h30-15h30, 15h30-17h30


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