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.

High Tea and Bubbles at Lanes of London

Today I’m partaking of a great British tradition – High Tea. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  Sipping on bottomless Prosecco and trying out a range of aromatic teas while nibbling on delicate sandwiches, pastries and cakes. All in the wonderfully stylish surroundings of Lanes of London.

The restaurant’s large, light-filled room looks out towards Hyde Park – get a table by the window if you can. There’s not a lot of decision making today as the food menu is set. You will have to choose your teas but don’t worry it’s all clearly explained by the charming waiter. Our first selections were Flowering Osmanthus and Blackcurrant & Hibiscus. And after our feast of tea-time delights we finished off with the wonderfully refreshing Whole Peppermint Leaf – the perfect digestive.

Once you’re settled and sipping, the prettiest platter of sandwiches arrives. Four masterpieces – love what you can do with a sandwich. The mini poppy seed-covered bun was lightly toasted with ham and deliciously cheesy melted cheddar, cucumber sandwiches came with two layers of cucumber, there were soft little squares of egg mayo delight and thinly sliced smoked salmon on beetroot-coloured bread. These are no ordinary sandwiches. I could eat plates of them! Loved that the cucumber sandwich was topped and filled with cucumber, sliced perfectly to the size of the bread and that the egg mayo was topped with a slice of quail’s egg.

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Tempting trays of sandwiches

Then it’s time for the Cake Stand. There’s definitely something about this tier of sweet treats that gets the heart beating faster. It’s a beautiful thing. Starting from the top a collection of millefeuille, macaroons, chocolate mousses enclosed in slices of dark chocolate and melt-in-the-mouth mini choux pastries with coffee icing.

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A tasty collection nestles on the top layer

Next up (or down actually) it’s Battenberg cake. This colourful creation is said to have been made and named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria (one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters) to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. (Love cakes that have proper history!)

It’s made by baking a yellow and a pink sponge separately, then cutting and combining the pieces in a chequered pattern – holding them together with jam and then covered with marzipan. Sounds like a huge effort to me, but I suppose it’s worth it when the end result’s such a thing of beauty.

The strawberry jam and clotted cream for the scones are in the background – because scones are coming next!

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The checkerboard Battenberg in vibrant shades

It would be wrong to have tea in England without having scones. Today there were two types – plain and raisin, light and crumbly and served with the classic jam and cream topping – possibly one of the most perfect food combos ever conceived of.

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Close up to the classic scones

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The cake stand full of tempting goodies

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Chilled Prosecco served with style

Today’s price point

High Tea – which includes all the food above and your choice of tea is £39.

For £49 you can also include free-flowing Prosecco.

Menus change through the year. Currently you’ll find your tea will have a distinctly seasonal feel.

Lanes of London is at 160 Park Lane, W1 a minute’s walk from Marble Arch tube station.

Celebrate summer with a picnic from PAUL

Summertime in London is something to get excited about. The city is transformed into a huge outdoor playground with parks and squares full of people greedily soaking up the sun. The perfect time for a picnic.

And this summer you don’t even have to make your picnic yourself. Simply order something tasty from PAUL, the family-run French artisan bakeries and patisseries with branches scattered around London. You know the ones, with edible window displays so beautiful and tempting it’s hard to walk by without buying something.

My selection ready to eat

My selection ready to eat

For just £17 for two people you get a sandwich or salad, a bag of crisps, a slice of one of their fabulous tarts plus a soft drink (all of your choice). Sandwich delights on offer include two favourites – Roti de Boeuf – sliced roast beef nestled in between slices of gherkin, mustard mayo and six cereal bread; Montagnard – filled with Coppa ham, Comte cheese, tomatoes, olive paste and Batvia lettuce in poppy seed bread. Yum!

Their classic fruit tarts are mouthwatering. I love the Flan Normand which is made with amazing buttery pastry filled with custard, sliced apples and topped with almonds. It’s impossible to resist.

And it all comes in a “Sac a Pique-nique” – a smart cooler bag that you’ll be using over and over once the heatwave arrives. Well, let’s be optimistic. Happy picnicking.

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Your picnic also comes with this bright, disposable tablecloth

Available in all London shops (with pre-ordering online). Visit www.paul-uk.com