High Tea at The Twelve Apostles in Cape Town

My birthday tea at The Twelve Apostles

I recently celebrated my birthday (I’m not going to put a number on it, they’re getting way too big for my liking!) and my sister treated me to High Tea at The Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town. And what a treat it was! This beautiful five-star hotel oozes class and style, with  fabulous views looking out over the ocean and back towards Camps Bay and Lion’s Head.

There’s a set (and large) selection of food to devour, so no stress on the decision making front. Just settle in and enjoy the views and elegance that surround you. The display in the foyer greets you and our first thought was “That can’t be for two” – we were wrong, it is. Not that we managed to eat it all – let’s just say several families benefited by tucking into leftover treats. And they happily produced boxes for us to carry the extras home in.

I’ll let the pictures tell the happy story.

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

The extravaganza on offer

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Cakes, macaroons and sandwiches to delight

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Close up on some of the sweet treats

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Scones, cream and jam…and chocolate treats

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Easter Tea at The Leopard Bar

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Glorious blue views and a curious seagull

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

The lobby oozes class and is filled with beautiful South African flowers

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Happiness is birthday tea with your sister

The Twelve Apostles is at Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

Celebrating the Queen’s birthday with Royal Tea at St Ermin’s

Today I’m celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday with a slap up tea. She’s Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a lady of amazing dignity and strength (in my opinion anyway). And where better to celebrate her life than at the stylish St Ermin’s Hotel in London’s St James where they’ve laid on a Royal Tea in her honour. It’s available through the summer until August 31.

You enter the St Ermin’s through a lovely courtyard garden. Inside the grand lobby impresses with its marble columns and the sweeping staircase that leads up to the tea room. There’s also a lovely upstairs terrace should the sun decide to show its face on your Royal Tea day.

The menu includes a selection of dainty sandwiches, or savoury bites as they call them here. Three different types of scones served with strawberry jam and cream and four generous sweet treats.

But first you have to select your tea from the wide range on offer – no easy feat. I eventually opted for a Japanese sencha tea to start which was beautifully aromatic. And of course we had to treat ourselves to some bubbles – it was a birthday party after all.

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The grandness of the St Ermin’s is the perfect backdrop for a Royal Tea

And then the tower of delicious delicacies arrived. It all looked so beautiful, a full cake stand is always something to get excited about.

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Here’s some serious tea-time delight

We started savoury with four delightful little finger sandwiches in different styles (and no crusts, of course). Dressed Cornish lobster was served on a mini toasted brioche. I’m very partial to a brioche, and to lobster of course so this was the perfect start for me. Home-cured Puddleduck ham was served with a mellow London Piccalilli on the freshest of white loaf – could you get more British? Hampshire organic cucumber came on delightful brown bread with classic English cream cheese. And finally an open sandwich of Orkney smoked salmon sandwich served on organic brown bread.

I love sandwiches, especially of the dainty sort, I’m sure I could manage a whole platter of this delightful combo of flavours.

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A beautiful plate of the freshest sandwiches to start off with

And then it was on to the sweet treats. On the top layer was The Golden Orb: Scottish shortbread with pistachio, lemon lime curd dome with a bejewelled glaze. Beautifully crunchy shortbread topped with a zest, sweet and creamy dome. The Crowning Joy was an espresso choux bun with Decort chocolate. A melt-in-the-mouth chocolatey treat.

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Top sweet treats on the top layer

The Royal Box was a chocolate and Scottish raspberry opera style grand torte with 70% chocolate ganache, raspberry and dark chocolate glaze and decort chocolate. Much lighter and fluffier than I was expecting, I loved the chocolate and raspberry complementing each other in their sweetness and tartness.

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Up close to The Royal Box

A bowl of three different types of scone (including sea salt which I really loved) also arrived with generous portions of strawberry jam and clotted cream. They were fairly mini thankfully and light and crumbly. Made into real indulgences with the addition of heaped jam and cream.

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Glistening, crumbly scones to be piled with jam and cream

For my second tea I opted for the orange rooibos. There’s a lot to eat and savour so it’s going to be a long afternoon (in a good way), so I took the opportunity to taste another brew. Rooibos hales from South Africa so I’ve drunk my share of it over the years but I’d never come across the orange version. It’s on my shopping list now – the citrussy addition really brings the earthy undertones of the rooibos alive.

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My latest favourite tea: orange rooibos

I loved the delicate patterned plates, here’s a close-up of my favourite sandwiches to tempt you.

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Smoked salmon and lobster for tea…just heavenly

Your tea arrives with egg timers so you know when it’s ready to pour.

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Green sand for green tea and black for black

This is a delightful way to spend an afternoon, indulging in the best that full-on afternoon tea can offer in beautiful surroundings. I definitely felt that I’d been treated like royalty. Happy birthday Your Majesty, I look forward to celebrating more of them with you.

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The St Ermin’s towers with grandeur around the garden courtyard

The St Ermin’s Hotel is at 2 Caxton Street, London SW1 just two minutes walk from St James’s Park tube station.

Square Meal