The phrases “afternoon tea” and “high tea” are often used interchangeably because many believe that there is no difference between the two. Both tea traditions are steeped in British history and their most common, albeit subtle, differences can be attributed to Father Time.
The idea of afternoon tea began in the 1840s when the Duchess of Bedford wanted something to tide her over during the gap between lunch and dinner because dinner could be served as late as 8 pm. High Tea, however, was more synonymous with working-class families who only really were able to eat after a long day’s work. For this reason, their meals were usually fuller and heartier than that found with afternoon tea and in today’s society would be referred to as “Supper”.
Lifestyles have changed dramatically through the centuries and today both afternoon and high tea is regarded as a treat, rather than a necessity.
From cool and quirky cafes to some seriously sophisticated dining, Leora Hart brings you a list of five of the best places to enjoy afternoon tea (or whatever you fancy) in and around Johannesburg.
Nestled in between the trendy neighbourhoods of Melrose Arch and Illovo is an area called Birdhaven, and it is here where you will be able to dabble in a range of afternoon canapes and delights from Voodoo Lily Cafe – a family-friendly, rustic European styled restaurant. Their menu incorporates a worldwide cuisine – from the cobblestoned walkways of France to the big yellow taxi glazed streets of New York.
This restaurant exudes a love for family, so much so that it is both child and dog-friendly. And with both interior and exterior seating options and being open from 7am, owner Larry Hodes made sure to incorporate something for everybody. Afternoon tea options are sumptuous and mouth-watering with choices of smoked salmon crostinis with dill capers and creme fraiche and mini firecracker chicken skewers with peanut sauce to mini peppermint crisp tarts and chocolate brownies. The bar offers a lovely range of cocktails, craft beers, teas and coffees, all charged upon consumption.
Address: St Andrew St and Wrenrose Ave, Birdhaven
Tel: 011 442 6965 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.voodoolilycafe.com
Facebook: @voodoolilycafe | Instagram: @voodoolilycafe | Twitter: @voodoolilycafe
If you’re looking for an outdoor setting to enjoy your Afternoon Tea experience, the aptly named Arbour Cafe is a must. This dreamy French-inspired cafe is set under an expanse of Autumn-dappled leaves and its hidden courtyard is a must to enjoy in the summertime and for anybody who wants to be whisked away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a short while. Their menu boasts a fine culinary selection from grilled salmon to steaks and their canape menu will leave your pallet satisfied with all the unique tastes it has to offer. High tea here can be arranged as a private function, with drinks being charged per consumption and the choice ranging from fruity champagnes to freshly squeezed fruit juices. Custom cakes, tartlets and macarons are available upon request and are charged upon consumption. A true winner of the canape menu are the mini crustless spinach and feta quiches.
Locals deem The Silver Teaspoon one of Johannesburg’s best-kept secrets, and rightly so. If you’re looking to be transported back to an era of allure and elegance then this Victorian-inspired tea-garden is a must-see. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays this beautiful garden surrounding an old manor house is filled with exquisite vintage flair and a high tea experience to accompany it, and, for those looking for a kid-friendly outdoor setting, consider one found here.
A variety of thirteen cakes, tartlets and fruit assortments are available for you to savour with their set High Tea menu, along with flavoured ice tea, bottomless pots of hot tea or freshly brewed coffee. Porcelain crockery and quirky vintage paraphernalia accompany this establishment and will further enhance your sense of child-like wonder, leaving you wondering what you used to do before you came across a tea garden like The Silver Teaspoon.
High Tea menu: R250p/p with kids under 12 at half price
Hidden amidst the hustle and bustle of Fourways is The Secret Tea Garden, a family-friendly establishment with manicured lawns, a relaxed atmosphere and some of the best fresh scones and open sandwiches around. Mothers favour this little spot because of its warm nature and child-friendly approach. Children are able to play to their heart’s content on the jungle gyms and surrounding lawns and adults are able to relax a little and explore an array of freshly-baked sweet and savoury treats. There are two High Tea options available, both pre-arranged slightly fancier affairs made for baby or bridal showers and other special events. For passers-by, there is a walk-in option aptly named ‘Tea For Two’. This option consists of a fresh assortment of dainty sandwiches, sweet biscuits, a fresh slice of cake and freshly brewed tea or coffee.
At the Secret Tea Garden, you will arrive as a guest and leave as family.
When: Tues to Thurs 9.30am – 4pm | Wed & Fri 10.30am – 5pm | Sat & Sun 8am – 5pm
High Tea menu: Pre-booked various options ranging from R95-R200p/p
Address: 16B Penguin Ave, Norscot Manor Recreation Centre, Douglasdale, Fourways
Tel: 011 467 1911 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.secretteagarden.co.za
Schaffler’s is a restaurant, nursery and pizza bar that boasts all manner of family and friends enjoying life together. Under the Trees began as a family-run fifteen-seater Tea Garden and has now grown into a fully-fledged one-hundred-seater Garden Cafe and rustic outdoor pizza bar. The food is packed with soul and most of what you find on your plate is grown directly from their organic herb and vegetable garden. The venue shares a fondness for animals and as such is pet-friendly. The tea in the garden setting is the perfect contrast to the surrounding concrete jungle. Anyone with a sweet tooth will favour the tea menu with its range of delectables to choose from such as homemade carrot cake, Mississippi Mud Pie, and scones with fresh cream and jam. For those keen on a savoury bite, the quiche of the day is an excellent choice and washes down well with a fresh herbal tea or their famous homemade lemon or ginger cordial.
Did we mention that many of the dishes are homemade?!
When: Tues to Sun 8am – 5pm | Mon closed