I've talked a few times about how traditional things are becoming popular again with things like home baking and kiwiana designs. High Tea is one of those things that had fallen out of fashion over the past 10-20 years but is coming back as a fun afternoon that friends and family of all ages can enjoy together.
High Tea actually started as a substitute for a working man's evening meal. Back then the working class had just one meal in the day, a High Tea of lunch leftovers was served to keep hunger at bay after work.
These days however, it has changed into a dainty event served in the mid-afternoon with little cakes, savouries all served on a 3-tier cake stand. A typical High Tea also has a range of flavoured teas to choose from.
While researching for this article, I was surprised at the number of places that serve High Tea. Each place offers something slightly different and you can choose a place that suits your mood. From traditional to modern, to something a little different - there is bound to be a High Tea venue that you'll enjoy.
Best value - Orbit
Best spread - The Langham
Most traditional - Alberton
Most modern - Zarbo
Most relaxing - Cornwall Park
So D'lish pick: most traditional
The historic house, Alberton, doesn't have regular High Tea but instead has a series of tea parties each year. They offer either a Devonshire Tea Party (cocktail sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and tea) or Classic Luncheon Party (sandwiches, hot savouries, dainty cakes and tea), served over four dates in late February to early March.
What I like about Alberton is that it is a true colonial New Zealand experience. The tea parties are set in the historic Alberton house, the food and drinks served on matching donated antique fine bone china tea sets. You can wander around the house before or after your tea party to get that real old New Zealand feel.
Tea Parties at Alberton: 25 February, 28 February, 3 March, 7 March 2010
Devonshire Tea Party (morning or afternoon): $20 pp
Classic Luncheon Party: $30 pp
100 Mt Albert Rd, Mt Albert
Phone 846 7367
Bookings are essential.
Cornwall Park Restaurant
So D'lish pick: most relaxing
Cornwall Park Restaurant has been serving High Tea for almost 100 years and offers a traditional spread of little sandwiches, cakes and scones. Set in Cornwall Park, it is a beautiful, relaxing setting where you can enjoy the trees and watching the people out enjoying the park. Cornwall Park Restaurant's High Tea is available at morning or afternoon tea times.
High Tea: $19.50 pp
Available every day at morning or afternoon tea time
Cornwall Park, Greenlane
Phone 630 2888
So D'lish pick: best spread
The Langham (London) has the privilege of being the first grand hotel to serve Afternoon Tea and The Langham in Auckland replicates this tradition for us kiwis. The Langham serves an Afternoon Tea not a High Tea as it does not include hot savouries, but it isn't really missed. I counted a whopping 17 items each last time I was there, including scones with jam and cream, little sandwiches and a good selection of sweets that fill the 3-tier cake stand. The Langham is famous for its chocolate-coated, tuxedo-decorated strawberries - and they are delicious!
Signature Afternoon Tea: $34
Signature Afternoon Tea with Laurent-Perrier Champagne: $56
Available every day 12.00 - 4.30pm
83 Symonds Street, CBD
Phone 379 5132
So D'lish pick: best value
As of 28 November 2009, SKYCITY is offering High Tea up high, in the revolving Orbit restaurant. I have named Orbit's High Tea as the best value because for $30 you get not only the High Tea, but the ride up the Sky Tower where you can go to the observation deck afterwards if you like, and complimentary car parking. Orbit serves a contemporary kiwana High Tea menu with scones, hot savouries, sandwiches and cakes. A good range of Dilmah's luxury teas are on offer - I can recommend the vanilla rose tea, yum!
High Tea: $30 pp
Available Saturdays and Sundays from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, last booking at
Bookings are essential
Cnr Victoria and Federal Sts, CBD
Phone 363 6000
If you're out west, this would be the logical choice for your High Tea. Nestled in the Waitakeres, this is one of the most remote venue on this list.
High Tea: $28 pp
Saturdays and Sundays from 12.00 - 4.00pm
573 Scenic Drive, Waiatarua
Phone 814 9622
So D'lish pick: most modern
Zarbo is a modern cafe, deli and food store in Newmarket and seems like an unlikely place to have High Tea. It would be an handy place to end a morning's shopping and have some dainty cakes and sandwiches. Zarbo's High Tea food is slightly different than the others, with more modern cakes like baklava and chocolate eclair along with the more traditional finger sandwiches. Flower-patterned fine-bone china is used for the tea and the table is set before you arrive, ready for you to enjoy.
High Tea: $20 pp for six items of food; $26.50 pp for nine items of food
Bookings are essential
24 Morrow St, Newmarket
Phone 520 2721
Peace and Plenty
Nestled in Devonport, is Peace and Plenty. The 1880s Victorian villa is a bed and breakfast most of the time but on Sunday afternoons, you can enjoy a Victorian high tea complete with fancy hats for you to borrow while you eat. Not the best value high tea around, with approx 7 items for $30, but it sounds like it would be nice for a treat if you're in the area.
High tea: $30
Sundays only 1.00 - 3.00pm (not available September 2010)
6 Flagstaff Terrace
Phone: 445 2925
I'm going to the Stamford Plaza in a couple of months, to try their high tea, so I will update this entry after that.
The website doesn't tell you much about the high tea at all, not even the price. But I have found out that it is $25.
High tea: $25; with a glass of bubbly: $35
Phone Knights on Albert Restaurant: 357 9220
I would love to be able to say that I have tried all of these High Teas, but unfortunately I haven't (yet).
If you have had High Tea before, let us know what you thought of it and if I have left any places out, please let me know!