Weather dependant afternoon tea is served at Level Four, the hotel's fine dining restaurant adjoined by an intimate and plush Champagne Bar, or on the pretty garden terrace. The day we visited Joburg was experiencing a deathly cold snap (13℃) so our table was cosily placed nearby the softly burning fireplace, lending intimacy in what is otherwise a large restaurant space. The service was as warm, and attentive.
A welcoming drink of a syrupy apple and cinnamon tea was the perfect starter. What followed was a generous selection of savoury treats, among them a choice of light and flaky quiches and a petite salmon bagel. The top tier of the cake stand carried a range of delicate pastries and cakes, with highlights being the pistachio cake, and the lavender velvet slice, a moist and delicious play on the ever popular red velvet cake. Not to be forgotten was a chocolate mousse that oozed raspberry and chocolate ganache as you cut into it. While scones are usually an afternoon tea standard item, these were a standout, light and fluffy and served with a mild but savoury cheese sourced from KwaZulu Natal (please note that while some consider bright orange cheddar cheese to be a scone accompaniment, an afternoon tea that succumbs to serving this has lost all self-respect), and what tasted like fresh and homemade strawberry jam. In all, the baked goods were excellent, every mouthful carried the taste of freshly made on the day.
What stands out from the service was the continual but gentle clearing of plates and the offer of a fresh canvas as you worked your worked your way up, and then down the cake stand, as well as a replenishment of the feast which we gently declined. On the counter nearby a jewel coloured selection of macaroons kept catching our eye but the charms of our tabletop proved to be irresistible (and there’s always a next time).
Tea was from a TWG selection, served in a large glass flame-lit teapot (so your supply will not run out after one or even two cups). I had read about the tea being accompanied by a timer system for ensuring the perfect strength but there was none provided on the day. Probably worth asking for as the continual heat can create an overly strong brew. My pick of the menu was the Jasmine Pearls fragrant Chinese green tea blended with Jasmine blossoms, and it was a fine choice. Outside the glass doors leading onto the terrace weak, winter daylight turned into dusk.
Facilities for disabled
Afternoon tea is served daily from 15:30–17:30. Bookings must be made in advance (by 10:00 on the appointed day).
Price/Additional InfoRoyal afternoon tea (includes a Kir Royale) R295, traditional afternoon tea R245.
54 on Bath
54 Bath Ave, Rosebank