I was lucky enough to be invited to sample the Beverly Hills Hotel afternoon tea recently. Yes – afternoon tea, not high tea.
Knowledge is power, and this month I learned something new! Every time I go to a hotel or restaurant for ‘high tea’ I had no idea that this was actually the incorrect term. It just sounds a bit fancier doesn’t it – high tea. ‘High tea’ is actually a working class family evening meal or supper. The correct term for the fancy meal where you sip on a variety of teas and nibble on an assortment of dainty foods like scones, pastries, finger sandwiches and tiny cakes is actually ‘afternoon tea’.
The Beverly Hills Hotel had a Victorian romance themed tea, presumably for the month of February, and they couldn’t have arranged it any more perfectly. The food tables, both sweet and savoury, were adorned with pink and red flowers, lace, gloves, parasols and vintage suitcases – truly beautiful. However, it was the edibles on these tables that had me in their grasp.
I tried to behave and start with some of the savoury eats. They all looked incredible, and included smoked salmon and blinis, the infamous Beverly Hills prawn cocktail, cheeses, quiches, tarts, mini croissants, wraps and pastries, and my ultimate – a savoury cheesecake with basil pesto and sundried tomatoes.
If you think the savoury eats looked amazing, you’re in for a treat with the sweets. Beautiful, dainty and utterly moreish.
Included in the afternoon tea spread was bubbly (both alcoholic and non), coffee and a selection of beautiful Pure Leaf teas. I opted for the Pure Rooibos and it was possibly the best rooibos tea I’ve ever had. My mom went for the Black Tea with Berries and it was beautiful – strong berry flavour, really really delicious.
The afternoon tea at the Beverly Hills is most definitely one of the best I’ve been to. The variety and quality of the food is absolutely outstanding, and there was not one single change I would have made. For a special occasion this would be a beautiful day out, and I can’t imagine many ladies that wouldn’t be thrilled with this as a gift or special meal for a birthday.
If I could offer one piece of constructive criticism, it would be to enforce a dress code – while we were dining, there were little ones at the tea that were running around in beach clothes and barefoot, and a few adults wearing shorts and slops. While I understand that the Beverly Hills is situated on the Umhlanga beach front, most people attend an afternoon tea for the luxurious and classier atmosphere – they like to feel posh and nibble on dainty cakes. Perhaps at the very least ensuring that people dining for afternoon tea are dressed smart casual and all wear shoes would be a good idea.
Afternoon tea is served at the Beverly Hills Hotel every Saturday, and is R325pp. And it is most definitely and utterly worth it – you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven!
*DISCLAIMER* – While we were hosted at the Beverly Hills for this afternoon tea, all opinions are entirely honest and my own.