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The lowdown on High Tea in Auckland

Category: Reviews  |  Post by: Andrea Wong
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Afternoon Tea at The Langham :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog website.

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


Tea Parties at Alberton 2010 :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog websiteSo 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

The Langham

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


Orbit High Tea :: So D'lish. New Zealand's food blog websiteSo 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 3.30pm
Bookings are essential

Cnr Victoria and Federal Sts, CBD
Phone 363 6000

Waitakere Estate

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

Stamford Plaza

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!



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  • 13/10/2014 8:30 p.m.
    Ruth Palmer

    Fabulous experience of High Tea at Sofitel in Auckland. Tasty food, pleasant location and very good service.
  • 17/06/2014 2:23 p.m.
    Jenni McCree

    We went to the Orbit Restaurant in March for my
    daughters pre wedding high tea and loved it.It is my 75th birthday in July so would like to have another high tea somewhere - be about 12 people.
  • 03/01/2014 5:21 p.m.

    I have had the high tea at Stamford plaza , we had a group of 4 ladies and had a fantastic time. The food was fabulous and plentiful and the service was great. We certainly enjoyed the atmosphere and had a wonderfully memorable " girls afternoon " there.
  • 07/09/2013 10:16 p.m.

    Enjoyed reading the article as I'm going thru the high tea buzz. Have tried three places, i.e Stamford,Langham and Waitakere Estate. Can be an expensive afternoon but it doesn't matter when chllaxing with friends or family.
  • 01/08/2013 9:17 p.m.

    I recommend you try High Tea at Stamford Plaza. I have tried most of the high teas in Auckland and their latest version is outstanding with excellent service.
  • 11/07/2013 11:55 p.m.

    Good article. Got some ideas for my wife's b'day. Thanks
  • 16/06/2013 6:14 p.m.

    Hotel DeBrett does a High Tea called "high tea in high places". Upstairs in DeBretts Kitchen every Saturday & Sunday 3-5pm. Great for this time of year as they have the fire place going and it is really cosy under the glass roofed atrium.
    They are a 3rd time finalist for Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year and a 2013 finalist for Metro Top 50 Restaurant of the Year so you know the food will be great.
    A delicious array on bites and a glass of Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV all for $45 per person.
    You can book online through there website or call the hotel on 09 925 9000 or email:
  • 14/06/2013 7:56 a.m.

    Hi we have done high tea at Stamford plaza auckland. Was good. But please also try the Library building in Onehunga. Loved it
  • 03/06/2013 11:50 p.m.

    You have to go to Nostalgia Restaurant in Ponsonby for a High Tea! Best in auckland hands down (and I have been to most of the places you have mentioned). Their pastry chef is world renowned and the decor is to die for!

    You will not regret! :)
  • 31/05/2013 11:40 a.m.
    *** Andrea Wong ***

    @Delwynne - I'm sorry that you the staff at Cornwall Park Restaurant weren't very friendly towards you. The prices on this blog post are a couple of years old now and obviously needs to be updated. I hope that you find somewhere nice to go for your High Tea that is within your budget.
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