High Tea: The Oyster Box

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One word to describe the afternoon high tea at The Oyster Box is regal. A remarkable venue with magnificent views of the ocean and lighthouse; absolutely decadent tea treats; tea served in a Royal Albert set and a personalised greeting card to welcome you to the five star luxury boutique hotel in Umhlanga, Durban. 

I was not that excited about the high tea – my initial telephonic booking was a bit disappointing as the lady at concierge did not know much about the high tea and its offerings. However, the value and customer service on the day surpassed the bad experience.

 The Oyster Box (like the Saxon Hotel) does not serve a fully halaal menu, but the team on the day are so clued up that they advised which patisserie have gelatine (the gelatine is mostly used to make the fruit glossy). The buffet which consists of over 80 edibles is an authentic mix of old English (scones, cheese and jam), modern (chocolate mousse cake) and traditional Durban nibbles (chilli bites and samoosas). 

 Inspired by the hotel’s colonial design and with chandeliers purchased from the Savoy Hotel in London, High Tea at The Oyster Box is a lengthy, leisurely affair. We split our high tea into three courses with substantial breaks in between. We started off with sparkling juices and savouries – there is an array of vegetarian nibbles that we did not feel neglected. Then the famous scones and jam. The stand out was the kiwi jam – sweet yet tangy. We concluded with patisseries and peppermint Dilmah tea. I would advise having a light breakfast 🙂

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The hotel’s history dates back to 1863 and is rich in colonial architecture. In the 1950s it was sold and ironically, started out as a tea garden and over the decades progressed to the majestic building it is today. Currently, the hotel is part of the Red Carnation Hotels and while revamping, they tried to retained many of the original landmarks from the grand, revolving door at the entrance, to the reception and foyer with its black and white terrazzo tiles; familiar wrought-iron balustrade and original, inlaid hand-painted tiles. What caught my attention at The Palm Court is the wooden ceiling fans – a sense of the Titanic era.

 It was only fitting that I designed a dress for this lavish tea. I opted for long maxi dress in a cascading animal print fabric and paired it with a leather high-waist belt.    

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The high tea was the ideal spoil for my mom-in-law, as it was a new experience for her. It is value for money priced at R220 per person and includes a small box of tea to remember the day. For more info visit The Oyster Box or call +27 (0) 31 514 5000. High Tea is served daily from 14:30 – 17:00 and booking is essential.

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