Are you into lush gardens, delicious treats and seeing a giant, roaming tortoise? If this sounds like your idea of a good idea, then read on dear reader.
If you’re visiting South Africa and looking for a delicious, Cape Town high tea, the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands might just be the answer. Nestled in six acres of beautiful gardens, in the shadow of table mountain, sits the luxury 4-star hotel.
The Afternoon Tea
A selection of cakes, pastries and savoury finger foods is delivered right to your table and presented on a 3-tier cake stand. There are only 2 photos of the entire thing because what’s life without a little mystery? And really because in anticipation of the tea, we hadn’t eaten the whole day and it disappeared quickly.
Our savoury treats include a cone filled with biltong mousse, baked brioche with basil pesto, tomatoes and goat’s milk feta, vegetarian quiches and a lamb and mustard wrap. There was also a selection of finger sandwiches on assorted breads. The biltong mousse was the highlight!
The buttermilk scones were delicious and arrived with an entourage of jam, cheese and butter. The desserts included red velvet cheesecake, salted caramel brownie bars, mini carrot cake squares, shortbread fingers and exquisite lemon and lime curd tartlets. It’s hard to pick a favourite but it’s either the brownie bars or the lemon and lime tartlets.
The overall experience
The Vineyard bakery is famous for turning out consistently delicious eats and their high tea is no exception. The savoury and sweet treats are all made on the premises by their skilled bakers and chefs. The garden view really enhances this experience and it’s best to get a table out on their veranda.
It is R185 per person (April 2018) and this includes tea and coffee.
The Vineyard is in a class of its own when it comes to service. The staff are friendly, helpful and do everything to ensure you are taken care of. Whether you’re local South African, or an international guest, you’re sure to have a wonderful experience. I am not being paid to write this, they really are fantastic.
The gardens and the resident tortoise
It’s incredibly peaceful wandering around the gardens at the Vineyard Hotel. The landscaped gardens offer up lush, foliage backdrops for all aspiring Instagram celebrities. There are also several benches for long-suffering Instagram wives and husbands. If all the drought warnings have given you water-related PTSD, you can walk alongside the canal and stare at the water until you feel better.
More importantly, the gardens are home to a giant tortoise. According to inside sources, you can usually find him out on the lawn in front of the garden lounge. Rest assured, if he ever wanders out the grounds, the dog tag glued to his shell will help him get back safely. There’s no photo of the dog tag because as I was trying to take it, 4 young children arrived. None of them could contain the sheer excitement of finding a real-life extra from Jurassic Park, right behind their table.
Making a reservation
Like many things in Cape Town, this is advised. You cannot make a booking for the outside space and it works on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s best to make a booking and get there early to see if they can accommodate you on the veranda.
As a local, would I go again?
In a heartbeat. That said, a high tea is certainly not an everyday event. If it was, my purse would be home to moths and my goal-weight a mere speck on the horizon. It’s a great experience for those on holiday in Cape Town. It’s also a more modern alternative to the overbooked and often over-hyped high tea at the Mount Nelson.