Yesterday I went to try out Tea in the Park in the Green Point Urban Park, which I had read about. It was a visit after a long absence to the Park, so beautifully located in what was once a derelict Green Point Common.
I was surprised that the Reliance Compost company owns the restaurant. A manager told me that they also own Tea under the Trees in Paarl. I was told that the owner of the two restaurants lives on a farm in Paarl, and it is here that the cakes are baked, and then brought to Tea in the Park in Cape Town and the sister restaurant in Paarl. Above the doorway was a sign ‘We ❤ Soil’, which I only understood once the Reliance Compost company ownership was explained to me. Instead of some forks and/or spades next to the sign, there was a ladder on each side! Some media clippings were on one wall, with photographs of plants and flowers on another, lost on the large wall space. Drawings of two dancing figures were on either side of the doorway, and the relevance of these to Compost or Food was not clear. The City of Cape Town ploughs back its green waste into the Green Point Urban Park, using Reliance Compost.
The large space inside was filled with wooden tables and white plastic chairs, the furniture extended to an outside terrace, facing the Cape Town Stadium and Signal Hill, as well as the apartment blocks in Mouille Point. Strangely no chairs or tables were on the terrace closest to the front door, making it difficult to recognize that the building was a tearoom. The only branding for the restaurant is on the green umbrellas. The restaurant is surrounded by the luscious green lawns of the Park, with children riding bicycles and running around, and parents enjoying their time with them. Users of the Park brought their own picnic baskets or had something to eat at Tea at the Park.
The menu is small, all the beverages on one side, and the dishes on the other side. Cappuccinos cost R24, and almond or soya milk costs R10 extra. Food options offered are
#. Breakfast-related, including muffin with cheese and jam (R30); fruit, granola, honey, and yoghurt (R50); croissant with butter and preserve (R32); and croissant with salmon trout , cream cheese, and salad (R65). Quiches are unpriced on the menu. I found all of these items to be expensive.
#. Sandwiches and wraps range in price from R27 to R55. One has to pay R8 extra for a slice of rye bread, and R10 for gluten-free bread.
# four salad options (Greek, Tuna, Smoked Chicken, and Smoked Salmon Trout Salad) were priced at R50 to R79.
#. As I arrived late afternoon, I only looked at the cake options. Manager Felicity Johnston was kind in organizing that her staff take all the cakes out of the fridge (only one was on display on the counter, being the Russian Cake, which was eight layers of biscuit interspersed with layers of butter cream), for me to photograph. I had gone inside to enquire about the Russian cake as the waitress Thandeka could not explain the cake to me, and mentioned that there were two such cakes, one with more butter cream and another with less, but this proved to be incorrect. Thandeka sadly was totally disinterested in obtaining any information about the cake. Felicity confirmed that there was only one Russian cake (above). Other options were a New York style cheesecake, a chocolate cake, a carrot cake topped with poppy seed and cream cheese (top cake photograph), and the milk tart which I finally chose, at R30. It looked very attractive, with the pansy and blob of apricot jam, but the jam was untidily added. The milktart was lukewarm – I was not asked if I wanted it warmed up. It had an insipid taste and lacked texture, being crumbly. Gluten-free chocolate brownies and koeksisters are also available.
I had asked Felicity for the Instagram address of Tea in the Park, and she said it was the restaurant name. I wanted to Instagram from the restaurant, but could not find the stated Instagram address. I asked Thandeka to please ask Felicity to see me. I was told that she was too busy inside to come to my table. Half an hour later, when I wanted to leave, I went to Felicity, who was hanging on the counter, with no one inside the restaurant! She was uncertain about the Instagram handle, now claiming that there was none! She told me that she had said to one of the staff that I should come to see her, a message which never got to me!
While the cakes looked good, the milk tart was a major disappointment. No one came to check on my satisfaction with the cake. The service from both waitress Thandeka and manager Felicity was unacceptably poor. From twenty minutes before closing time onwards the waiter closed down the umbrellas, put on their covers, and started dragging the chairs inside, and refused a cake order from a table sitting close by, which was reversed by Felicity when one of customers went inside! The fact that only a handful of tables outside and none inside were occupied was a reflection of a poorly managed restaurant, a disappointment given the world-class Green Point Urban Park in which it is located!
Tea in the Park, Green Point Urban Park, 3 Park Road, Green Point. Cell 072 242 9229. www.reliance.co.za/teainthepark Twitter: @OrganicReliance Instagram: @RelianceCompost Monday to Sunday, 9h00 – 17h00
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein