Afternoon tea is an age-old tradition invented by the Duchess of Bedford in the mid-19th century so she didn't have to wait for dinner at 9pm and so indulged in an afternoon snack. This caught on and has now become a rather fashionable and elegant thing to do.
There is one, and only one, place in Auckland that is synonymous with the words ‘Afternoon Tea’ and that is The Langham. The hotel has a proud heritage being a relative of The Langham London, which first served afternoon tea in 1865, making it a pioneer amongst the grand hotels of Europe.
Located on Symonds Street in Central Auckland, The Langham, with it’s 5 Star rooms, comfortable bar and restaurant and relaxing spa, exudes decadence and luxury.
Don’t be afraid to get your glad-rags on for Afternoon Tea at The Langham’s Winery Bar where you can relax on their high back chairs and watch the world go by. You will then be served with three-tiered platter of exquisitely prepared sandwiches, scones, cakes and delicacy’s along with teas and fine coffees. Afternoon Tea is served between 12 noon and 4:30 and will cost approx $36.50 per adult ($39.50 on weekends and public holidays) with children aged 5-12 eating for half price. Be sure to make a reservation as this can be booked out!
For a special occasion, afternoon tea is the perfect treat and, if the occasion is really special, then afternoon tea at Cotter House is just the ticket. It will cost you slightly more to dine in this luxurious heritage building with prices for afternoon tea starting from $41.50 plus GST but the full silver service, embroidered linen and fine china alone make it well worth it. Some things to bear in mind though, there is a four person minimum for Afternoon Tea at Cotter House and surcharge for larger groups.
However, if your budget doesn’t stretch to The Langham or Cotter House, but you still want to experience and delicious High Tea, Cornwall Park Restaurant in Greenlane is the perfect choice. Set amidst Cornwall Park and in a charming century-old building on the northern slopes of One Tree Hill, this restaurant has been serving high tea as it should be for almost a century. They say practice makes perfect and this definitely seems to be the case here. For $23.50 per person you can relax with an afternoon tea consisting of savouries, petite sandwiches, sweet treats and your choice of tea or coffee.
If nature’s you’re thing than you need to experience afternoon tea at Waitakere Estate. Perched on a ridge 240m above sea level and amidst 70 acres of native forest, this venue offers breathtaking views of the Waitakere Ranges and delicious food to boot! Enjoy all the usual Afternoon Tea delights such as scones, sandwiches and cakes for only $28 per person – the views are free!
Another venue worth a mention is Stafford Villa which allows you to step back in time and listen to the tinkle of teaspoons, the slurping of tea and the chitter chatter of gossip with their Traditional Victorian Afternoon Tea. The cost is $40 per person and with a maximum of 25 people per booking.
Bookings are essential for all of the above Afternoon Tea venues so make sure you phone ahead to avoid disappointment.
Editorial by Katherine Robinson
Updated on 13 February 2012