High Tea – Nellie
Constantly figuring among the most renowned hotels and restaurants in Cape Town, Mount Nelson also does high tea quite like no one in the city. In some senses this is the most formal of our snack suggestions; though there’s no dress code, it is with a distinct sense of living the high life that you sink into a sofa at Cape Town’s most celebrated colonial-era hotel (see Stay), and sip tea to the tinkling of a pianist. For an unexpected buzz, order the Gunpowder Temple of Heaven – a super-strong tea concoction that’ll put hairs on your chest – and do a couple of laps around the buffet table before deciding what to pile onto your plate (don’t miss the extraordinary cheesecake). The real pleasure in some ways is the crowd that gathers here; a surreal sampling of every possible type, from local socialites to world travellers, grannies treating grandchildren to romantic trysts, all gathered amongst the antique chairs and sofas to enjoy the attentions of a swift waiter and the chance to self-time their brew chosen from amongst the exclusive and often exotic blends produced by Nigiro (the tea label from local coffee brand, Origin; see page 190). It goes without saying that it’s essential to book.