Afternoon tea. A terribly British affair. To find it in South Africa is amazing! Finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by plentiful amounts of tea. How can anyone not get excited about that?! The best thing about afternoon tea – you can eat it anytime!
In the UK I have been to many of the various tea’s offered by 5 star establishments such as Claridges and Fortnum & Mason. They were always extremely formal, and the restaurant is decked out for old ladies. The tea itself was always outstanding, but I certainly didn’t fit into the venue we were eating at. Having afternoon tea at one of these venues became de rigueur before I left London – I have been to a number of work celebrations that take place at tea rather than at an alcohol fuelled drinks party (although to be honest, we mostly booked the afternoon tea with champers option!).
Yesterday I discovered that tea at The Westcliff Hotel is a little different to these stuffy hotels in London. It’s luxurious, but not too formal here. You can’t beat having the tea outside with the view on offer.
I’m a member of Meet Up which is a site where you can make friends, network, and go on various group outings and events. It’s a great tool for someone like me, that has just moved to a new place and wants to make friends, or even someone that just wants to broaden their social circle. Gone are the days when forming relationships over the internet is weird 🙂
There is a group called “New Girls of Joburg” and someone had suggested breakfast at The Westcliff. As soon as I had a little nosey at the website I was in – the cakes looked amazing!
The Westcliff is a sprawling 5 star hotel in (funnily enough) Westcliff. You can only gain access to the estate if you have a reservation, either for accommodation or for any of the services that they offer. They have a spa there which I definitely want to check out one day (birthday present hint). The hotel is set over very hilly terrain and they operate a shuttle service to take you from reception to the rest of the estate. A word of advice – get there earlier than necessary if you absolutely must be on time for your reservation here. I got there 10 minutes early but ended up 10 minutes late for breakfast as I had to wait for the shuttle to arrive, and then it took another party of women before it was my turn.
We were lucky enough that the hotel had actually lost our reservation, so instead of seating us inside the restaurant, they seated us behind the swimming pool, on a private terrace that overlooked the most amazing view. We had booked for 16 people, but only 9 of us turned up, which meant that we had all of those cakes and sandwiches between us! We also had so much fun.
Until I moved to Joburg I wouldn’t have dreamed on going on these “blind dates” with complete strangers, but it’s been so rewarding to put myself out there and get over my initial nervousness, as I have been meeting the most amazing, fun, intelligent people that I really do enjoy spending time with. Maybe I have just been lucky, as not everyone clicks, but I have been fortunate enough to spend time with the nicest people.
We laughed and laughed our way through the delicious breakfast, and although we had a booking at 9.00, we didn’t leave until 12.00, and only then because they were closing morning service in the restaurant. I really didn’t think that we would stay that long, but we were having so much fun!
The service was unintrusive but good, and the cost was only R165 (£13.05) per person. You can eat an unlimited amount for that! I had to warn everyone that I am an absolute pig, and true to form, when I got home I saw in the mirror that I had cake smeared around my mouth and the red dye used in the Lamingtons had dyed my skin!!! Shame. Rob wasn’t surprised at all, but I hope my new friends don’t think I am a complete gannet – I want to be invited round for meals without them worrying about my table manners! ha
Bookings are essential at The Westcliff, and I would suggest that you follow up a short while later to reconfirm your booking. A good practice when booking anything to be honest. Be sure to take sunscreen if you are going to be outside, sunglasses and a camera. I could have kicked myself that I didn’t have any good photos of the view as I didn”t take my DSLR, but here is a shoddy shot from my iphone.