Vegan high tea at the Twelve Apostles

Written by Brent on February 15th, 2018

More and more hotels and restaurants in Cape Town are beginning to not only accommodate vegans but to actively court them. The latest is the Twelve Apostles Hotel with a vegan high tea.

High tea, a British colonial idea stretching back to the 19th century, when Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford (d. 1857), who is credited with its “invention”,  would serve cakes, scones, crumpets, cream, jams and tarts in the afternoon. Although there were cucumber sandwiches even back in her day, they were invariably spoilt with butter. One wonders what she would make of Executive Pastry Chef Gina Marziani’s vegan high tea in the leopard print bar of the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.

Vegan cakes and vegan cheeses are not always successful. There are a lot of very poor efforts out there. I am pleased to say Marziani and her team have done quite well with their vegan spread, and it certainly eclipses the Mount Nelson’s vegan high tea reviewed here last week.

There is a great list of teas. I recommend a pot of leaf infused Sencha Fukujyu green tea which is strong enough for several pots. You might for fun also try the tea-bagged Indian masala chai. There is soya and almond milk available for those who want to do that to their tea.

The food arrives on a fancy, two-tier cake plate, with the savouries underneath. These include a guacamole wrap with micro-leaves, which has been lightly toasted so it holds together better; and various sandwiches of olive tapenade and pesto with green pepper and tomato; a pickled sandwich on sweet potato bread, and a spicy hummus sandwich. There are also crudités of cucumber, carrot and tenderstem broccoli.

The sweets include a rather rigid but convincing coconut panna cotta with granadilla; a slice of banana and nut bread; and an oat and date cookie. The blueberry cheesecake is a bit mealy and the texture needs improvement. The scone is somewhat solid but comes with delicious berry compote and strawberries. The chef is apparently still experimenting with alternatives to cream. Soya cream would work, but it is rarely available in South Africa for some reason.

The highlight is the perfectly, airy textured Valrhona Manjari chocolate and hazelnut cake and delicious forest jelly with quince and apple. There are also bitter chocolates.

The Atlantic views are splendid from the balcony. Twelve Apostles is the perfect stop on the way to or from Sandy Bay, the beloved beach of free-thinking vegans of course.

The Vegan High Tea is available daily in the Leopard Bar and Conservatory from 10am to 4pm at R375 per person. 24-hour notice is required.

To book: or call 021 437 9029.

Brent Meersman was a guest of the hotel.


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