cakes cakes cakesI had the immense pleasure, earlier this month, of being invited to enjoy High Tea at the luxurious Mount Nelson Hotel in Gardens.

High Tea is an institution at the ‘Nelly’ – served up every single day of the year (yes, even on Christmas Day) – between 2.30pm and 5.30pm.

It’s a buffet-style affair, with a long table creaking under the weight of the most beautiful and delicious cakes, tarts, scones, fruits, chocolate creations and, of course, the very English cucumber sandwiches (with crusts neatly trimmed off).

You have three hours in which to eat as much of it as you like.  And, you can wash it down with an assortment of teas and coffees (if you have room).

chocolate heartsTo accompany me on this gustatory journey I took a good friend of mine who I know is capable of eating far more than I am (she’s one of those crazy people who cycles the distance of the Argus just about every morning… before breakfast) and we ate, and ate, and ate.

We chose to sit inside, but there is also lovely seating on the covered terrace, as well as outside under umbrellas.  The grounds are beautiful, with the most radiant hibiscus and rose plants (most likely a result of the vermicompost they’re getting from the hotel’s huge worm farm).

And we had the most fabulous time!  Lounging about in comfortable chairs, enjoying the quiet, somewhat opulent, atmosphere, we completely relaxed and forgot about the outside world for a while.  And the food was absolutely gobsmackingly delicious.

wheat free platterI usually stick to my wheat-free regime, and they will happily provide you with a wheat-free platter on request, but it contained only sweet items, and the more savoury sandwiches were completely irresistible… soft fragrant white bread fingers, with cucumber or salmon, or wholesome brown (possible light rye) ones with pastrami.

Mmmmm, I ate a LOT, and loved every moment of it.  And I drank Jasmine tea until it had filled whatever gaps I thought I’d left.

It was fabulous.  Now, whether I’d be likely to pay the R185 R150 it costs to take one’s self to tea, I’m not quite sure… My budget isn’t too flexible on that score, for the time being.  So I’d have to think twice.

But, for very special occasions, yes it would certainly be on my list.  

Jasmine teaAnd I would definitely recommend the experience to visitors packing the more powerful Pounds Sterling or US Dollars… It is, after all, rated the top High Tea in the world (or so I was told).

One observation, though:  whilst they do go out of their way to make a gluten-free (wheat-free) platter – it only contains sweet things.  

So, if you’re hoping for some savoury to break up the sugar, and you’re more allergic (or more dedicated) than I am… you’re fresh out of luck.  

Still, I reckon that’s just because they haven’t thought of it, yet, and perhaps they’d consider doing so in the future!

The Mount Nelson Hotel is located on 76 Orange Street, Cape Town.  High Tea costs R185 R150 per person and takes place every single day between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. Booking in advance is advised.   Tel: +27 21 483 1000 Fax: +27 21 483 1001. Email:

*** please note: my previous price of R185 mentioned was for the special occasion Valentine’s Day High Tea – the usual price of the tea is R150 ***



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