Wine Dine and Play: Mount Nelson Hotel Afternoon Tea

Mount Nelson Hotel Afternoon Tea

Cape Town, South Africa
Dined in December 2013
Picture courtesy of

A Little Story:
Being from a partial English Heritage and background, tea is in the blood. Even though my rebellious colonial side is my dominant way of living, there are a few traditions and cultures from the UK that I still tend to follow. Yorkshire pudding, minced-meat pies, eggs & soldiers, and of course tea, are items that traditionally brake through the renegade colonials known today as the Americans. When I went on a visit to South Africa, my first stop along the way was Cape Town, a beautiful city rich with culture, food, and people. Tucked away in the city is an old Victorian Style pink hotel called the Mount Nelson, which happens to be rated in the top three best presentations for afternoon tea in the world. You know I had to go.

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Pastry Chef:
Samantha Waring
Courtesy of Mount Nelson Hotel

From Mount Nelson's home page:
Enjoy delicate finger sandwiches filled with rare roast beef and rocket, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise or cucumber. Follow with a delectable dark chocolate cake, lemon meringue and freshly baked scones with clotted cream and preserves. Adding a special local flavour is a typical South African milk tart, called “melktert” in Afrikaans.

Main review:

I had just finished visiting Robben Island, the Alcatraz of Africa, where among others; Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 20 years. This was three days before Madiba died, so the country had not yet begun its morning. I arrived at the Mount Nelson Hotel just before 3:00 for their famous afternoon tea. I was seated in a waiting area next to the dining room, while they prepared my table. This waiting area had a wonderful tea setup display.

I was then moved into the lounge where my server Thobela explained the arrangements, and asked me what teas I would like to have. Being in Africa, I wanted to try only African teas, though on their main tea menu they had teas from India, China, Japan, and Taiwan. I asked Thobela to choose the teas for me, as long as they were African, then I went up to the main buffet table where I saw a missive display of finger sandwiches, cakes, scones, cookies, tarts, cheese, and a South African milk tart, called “melktert” in Afrikaans.

Picture courtesy of

Thobela presented my first tea from Kenya, and he placed the fresh leaves, that were in a straining container into a glass tea dispenser with hot water. He mentioned that the tea had to be submerged for four minutes at 95-100 oC (205 - 212 oF), and to drink it without milk. The tea was called Marinyn, a robust and floral medium bodied tea, with a slight fruit tint to it.


I drank the tea while eating some snacks, taking my time, and enjoying the scenery around me. The property was beautiful and well maintained. I finished the Kenyan tea, and then moved on to the signature Mount Nelson Tea, which had been blended from six different African-Asian style teas: Darjeeling, Kenya, Assam, Keemun, Yunnan, Ceylon, and pink rose petals from their garden. The third and final tea for that day as I finished my third trip to the petit fours table was a Rooibos tea grown specifically on the western part of the country in higher altitude of the Cederberg Mountains, also known as the red gold of South Africa, with hints of orange and honey.

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Aubergine in Cape Town
Dunes Restaurant in Cape Town
Two Oceans Restaurant, in Cape Point
Signal Restaurant in Cape Town
The Test Kitchen in Cape Town
Terroir in Stellenbosch
The Five Flies in Cape Town
Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
Fugitives Drift Lodge in Kwa-Zulu-Natal (Zululand)
Leopard Hills Lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Signature Restaurant in Johannesburg

The courtyard

Star ratings chart:
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
Exceeded expectations     
2 stars
Above average                          
1 star
No star rating
Basic, poor, or appalling 

Review basics:

Star rating by Wine, Dine, & Play:
4 of 5
Quality of food:
8 of 10
7 of 10
Wine selections by region:
Scroll below the main review section to see the tasting notes of the wines chosen.
3 of 10
Old world:
1.        France: Champagne

New World:
1.        South Africa: Stellenbosch
Customer service:
8 of 10
9 of 10
Corkage fee’s:
Restaurant standard is $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual to semi-formal dining
Dress code:
Business and smart casual 
Not guaranteed
Child policy:
The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a child’s menu or cater to them; however for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended for children not to be in attendance. Hire a Babysitter.
Cuisine style:
South African, English, French, and Mediterranean
Place for foodies, Lounge, Great outdoor Dining, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, 
Scenic views, Classy, Upscale, and a Neighborhood gem.
Music styles:
Background instrumental
Industry standard is 18-20% added to parties of 6 or more
Credit cards:
Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diner’s, 
Valet or hotel parking. 
Transport options:
Taxi, limousine, personal vehicle, and walking
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant, and nonsmoking patio

Food price per person (excluding gratuity)
Price chart:
$£€ -                Under 50.00 
$£€ x 2 -          Under 75.00 
$£€ x 3 -          Over 100.00 
$£€ x 4 -          Over 200.00 
$£€ x 5 -          Over 400.00 

My food bill:
Currency :
Price chart :


Restaurant address: 
76 Orange St, Cape Town 8001,
South Africa   
Cross streets:
Rheede and Hof Streets

Contact Information:
Maître d, reservations
+27 21 483 1000
Contact the Lounge
Online Reservations :
Social media:

Afternoon Tea
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
2:30–5:30 pm
S. African Standard Time (GMT +2.00)

The worlds best restaurants, based on the  
That have been visited and reviewed on this site…

Chicago, Illinois, USA
Sydney, Australia
Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa
Austin, Texas, USA
Melbourne, Australia
 Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Paris, France
Sydney, Australia
Dublin, Ireland
Dubai, UAE
Franschhoek, South Africa
Ripponlea, Melbourne, Australia
San Francisco, California, USA
London, United Kingdom
Dubai, UAE
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Christchurch, New Zealand
Cape Town, South Africa
Festival City, Dubai, UAE
Denver, Colorado, USA
New Orlean’s, Louisiana, USA
Saint Petersburg, Florida USA
Yountville, Napa, California, USA
Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa
Bordeaux, France

So many great wines in this world, here are a few of my favorite tastings:

Stellenbosch, South Africa
Napa, California, USA
Santa Barbara, California, USA
Yarra Valley, Australia
Willamette, Oregon
Franschhoek, South Africa
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Willamette, Oregon
Alexander Valley, California, USA
Constantia, South Africa
Yountville, California
Napa, California, USA

Reviewed by:
Sean Overpeck (CFE)

Picture below was taken in Charleston, South Carolina 2012

About Sean:

I am based out of St. Petersburg, Florida working in the food service industry for the past twenty years, and am currently with the American Embassy as the Executive Chef in Basra, Iraq. Formally I have worked with groups contracting in Afghanistan, and Antarctica, also working in restaurants in and around Atlanta, Georgia prior to the wars. I have also owned a catering company and served proudly in the United States Army Food Service Program. The idea for Wine, Dine, and Play started in late 2012 after a trip to Jordan, when I was asked by friends to write down the experiences from a few Jordanian restaurants, wine from the region that I tasted, and locations of interest such as Petra. Since that time, over 250 articles have been written on restaurants, including fifteen from the worlds top 100 lists of San Pellegrino and the Elite Travelers Guide. There are articles on exotic world locations such as Victoria Falls, and South African Safari’s; food recipes & Grand Food Dictionaries; ethnic country cuisines such as Afghan, and Peruvian; tasting tours of world cities like Charleston, Cape Town, and Dubai; and of course wine from vineyards in California, Oregon, the Carolina’s, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, with much more to see and write about.

Who is John Galt?

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Other articles of interest on Wine, Dine, and Play:

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
Thanksgiving in Antarctica, McMurdo, Ross Island
Fugitives Drift Lodge in Kwa-Zulu-Natal
Afghan Cuisine, Herat to Kabul
Peruvian Cuisine Andes to Lima
United States Marine Corps Birthday 2013 in Herat, Afghanistan
A Taste of McMurdo, Antarctica
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Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, UAE
Red Hills Market in Willamette, Oregon

(coming soon) 
Petra, Jordan
A Taste of Dubai 
A Taste of South Africa vol 1 & 2
Wine, Dine, And Play’s “best of” List
FOB Shank - Cooking with Incoming


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