At Long Last, High Tea at the Four Seasons

October 2016 update: The Jozi Four Seasons has stopped offering afternoon tea. I’m outraged!

Joburgers love high tea. I know this because the last high tea post I wrote, High Tea in Jozi, is one of my most popular blog posts of all time.

I wrote that post back in October 2013, when the legendary Westcliff Hotel was closed for renovations. Up until that point the Westcliff had been the go-to high tea venue for Joburg’s ladies who lunch, and I figured my readers would appreciate a post about some of the other high tea options around the city. I figured right.

I never had the opportunity to have high tea at the old Westcliff before it closed in 2013. (I tried several times during the first few years I lived here but it was always booked when I wanted it.) So I waited eagerly for the hotel to reopen, which it did last summer as the glorious Four Seasons Hotel the Westcliff. (I stayed at the hotel several months ago and wrote a blog post about it.) However, the new Four Seasons did not begin offering high tea right away. According to the PR folks I spoke to, the hospitality team wanted to make sure that their new restaurants were firmly established and into a routine before re-introducing this wildly popular tradition to the hotel.

But now, that day has come. The Four Seasons Westcliff has officially re-introduced hight tea and I got to try it out a couple of weeks ago.

High-tea-pastryPistachio and strawberry pastries, my favorite sweets from the Four Seasons high tea.

 I’ll keep this short and sweet. (Pardon the pun.)

The Location:

The Four Seasons high tea is served at the hotel’s most high-end restaurant, the View, which true to its name offers a spectacular view of Joburg. Unfortunately it was raining on the day I went so I don’t have a spectacular view photo, but trust me on this.

Four-Seasons-viewJust imagine it without the clouds.

The Four Seasons high tea is currently served only during the week: Monday through Thursday from 2:30-5:00 p.m.

The Menu:

The menu includes tea and a bite-sized combination of sweet and savory creations for R395 per person. Guest have a choice of “The Savoury Stand”, which has six savory items and three sweet items per person, or “The Sweet Stand”, which has six sweet items and three savory items per person. The food is served on the traditional three-tiered high tea stands, with a modern twist.

Tea-menuThe menu on the day I attended. The choices rotate regularly. 

The Tea:

I love exotic tea and the Four Seasons menu offers a great selection from TWG. I tried the “African Ball” blue tea, which is herbal and apparently falls somewhere in between black and green tea. I’d never had it before and found it delicious without any sugar or milk.

Pouting-teaMy African Ball tea.

The Food:

Four Seasons describes the View’s cuisine as avant-garde and the high tea menu definitely skews in that direction, with various mousses and zests and fancy macarons and caramelized things. My table had a mix of all the savory and sweet items; there were a few scones and traditional cucumber sandwiches, as well as concoctions you wouldn’t expect on a high tea tray, like cauliflower mousseline and fried prawns. I tried everything and found a couple of truly delicious items, many very good ones, and one or two that I could take or leave.

Savory-plateMy savory choices: a “fashion” cucumber sandwich, salmon trout tartar with quail egg (yum!), and broccoli mousse.

Macarons-and-sconesSweets: macarons, scones, and the iconic “Westcliff Éclair”, which is purple to match the jacarandas.

The Verdict:

This is by far the best location in Joburg for high tea (or any meal, for that matter), the service is great, and the price is comparable to other high-end teas around the city. I loved the exotic tea selection and the different combinations of savory and sweet, and there were a couple of dishes in each category that really stood out.

My only complaint is that I would have liked fewer macarons and mousses and more scones and sandwiches. In other words, less fancy avant-garde stuff and more traditional high tea stuff. But that’s just me — I’m a high-tea purist.

Space and time are limited at the Four Seasons high tea, so if you want to go soon I recommend booking ASAP. Book online at www.viewrestaurant.co.za.

My high tea was provided courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel the Westcliff. Opinions expressed are my own.

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18 Comments

  • Reply violetonlineisonline December 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    oh my gosh I am dying to go!

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Get on over there, gurl.

  • Reply mrs_suvi December 15, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Looks excellent – I do love high tea 🙂 Here in Finland we call it Afternoon Tea and there really aren’t that many places that offer it unfortunately.. I’ve never tried blue tea – did it taste herbal?

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I call it afternoon tea sometimes too. Actually I found the blue tea a bit more like black than green — very tasty!

      • Reply mrs_suvi December 15, 2015 at 2:59 pm

        Well then I will taste it if I ever see it around! I love black tea but green tea tastes like dishwasher liquid to me, hehe..

  • Reply Maria December 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Heather.It looks perfect for one of the “Coffee” meetings…we just open an event for tea. Lovely blog, thank you!

    • Reply 2summers December 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Yes, that would be a really nice treat. It’s a great place for a party.

  • Reply Lani December 15, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I love high tea. Definitely one of the fun things I never thought I would have discovered when I left the US for a life overseas.

  • Reply Brenda December 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Apparently the “high” tea war is over if they’ve given up in Jhb. I lived in the UK and SA and was told it was a déclassé term for a workmans supper. Only “afternoon tea” would do.

  • Reply Ocean Bream December 16, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Beautiful high tea! I’ve never had high tea. Is it satisfying? My tea consists of chips and eggs and beans with either a cup of tea or a glass of squash 😀 Those macaroons are so vivid!

  • Reply all-TIM-ate December 19, 2015 at 7:24 am

    One of my favourite things to do in the city – i can never find anyone to go with me though.
    Great post and thanks for reminding me about it.

    • Reply 2summers December 19, 2015 at 7:29 am

      I’ll go with you!

      • Reply all-TIM-ate December 19, 2015 at 8:17 am

        Between Christmas and New Year or the 2nd weekend of Jan?

        • Reply 2summers December 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

          Second week of Jan!

  • Reply pareddownlife January 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Yes! It’s ‘afternoon tea’ – – and you should see the one at the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town! 295 rand per person. Not suitable for Banting, Paleo, or Primal :-))

    • Reply 2summers January 20, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Nope, definitely not a low-carb meal. I’ve always considered high tea and afternoon tea to be interchangeable terms…I need to do some research on this 🙂

  • Reply sarika January 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Love the view of the Westcliff! I would like to take my mum and sister to a high tea, i have been to 54 on Bath…. amazing! Non of them have been to Westcliff or 54 on bath, which would u recommend?
    sarika

    • Reply 2summers January 31, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Hi Sarika, thanks for the comment! As I stated in an update at the top of my Four Seasons post, the Four Seasons Westcliff has stopped offering afternoon tea. I have no idea why — I think it was a bad decision on their part. But anyway, the 54 on Bath tea is still alive and well and I would highly recommend it. Also, see this post for more recommendations: https://2summers.net/2016/10/19/five-favorite-spots-afternoon-tea-joburg/

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