Restaurant Review: Grande Roche Hotel creates a Tea Party!

All of a sudden high teas are becoming en vogue, and the most recent restaurant to offer them is the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl.

A flyer in our post  box in Franschhoek alerted me to the Grand Roche Hotel & Restaurant “Tea Menu”, which is served daily from 3 – 5 pm, and costs R95.   I was interested to see that the word “Bosman’s”  was not used on the flyer at all, and wondered if the hotel is dropping the Bosman’s brand.

The Grande Roche Tea Party serves two stands of tea treats, one savoury and the other sweet, a good balance.  When I wrote about the new weekend-only High Tea at Grande Provence,I commented about the High Tea focusing more on the sweet side than on the savoury.  The Grande Roche high tea is a balanced offering of sweet and savoury, but the individual portions are minute.  The Grande Provence offering seemed more generous, for exactly the same price, but their range of treats is smaller.

The savoury treats are a cucumber sandwich, and a ham and cheese sandwich, both on a lightly toasted brown bread.  By the time it came to the table, the ‘toast’ had lost its ‘toastiness’.  I am used to high tea sandwiches being made from untoasted bread.  I would far prefer white or wholewheat to brown bread.  A third savoury plate was a small collection of antipasta, with parma ham, some olives, a slice of sundried tomato, and parmigiani cheese, the latter delightfully pronounced by the Restaurant Manager Alessandro, but tasting rather harsh.

The sweet treats are a beautifully presented chocolate-dipped strawberry, a home-made mini scone, a chocolate brownie with whipped cream, a puff pastry strawberry slice, a fruit tartlet, a profiterole and two rum chocolate balls. 

I did not see any information about any special tea varieties that might be available at Grande Roche, as this often goes hand in hand with a high tea, but I was so specific in ordering a cappuccino (actually only filter coffee or tea is offered for the high tea), that I may not have given the waiter a chance to explain about the teas.

The high tea menu is beautifully presented, in an A5 size 4-page booklet, a gold ribbon adding class to the look of the menu.  A beautiful Grande Roche-branded (with gold in the logo) serviette is placed between the cup and saucer, adding further class.  I would like to suggest to the Grande Roche that they consider a High Tea and sparkling wine package too,  as the Grande Roche is synonymous with celebration and bubbly, at least to me!

I enjoyed my afternoon at Grande Roche, and was once again impressed that acting-GM Alan Bailes came to greet me, even though I had sent my regards to him via Alessandro already, and he was impressively dressed in a black suit in the Paarl heat of a good 35°C.   He is so good at “walking the floor”, and connecting with his guests.   On a Sunday almost every restaurant in Paarl is closed, and one can rely on the Grande Roche to always be open, and to welcome one for a bite to eat or a drink, once one has negotiated the opening of the boom with the security service that the Grande Roche uses!

Grande Roche Hotel, Plantation Street, Paarl. Tel (021) 863-5100. www.granderoche.com (The website does not feature the High Tea yet).   Monday – Sunday 3 – 5 pm.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

2 replies on “Restaurant Review: Grande Roche Hotel creates a Tea Party!”

  1. Michael says:

    It may be pedantic, but the teas you are describing are not High Teas, but Afternoon Teas. Certainly in the past in the UK afternoon tea was very ‘English’ while high tea was much more common in Scotland.

    If your interested have a look at:
    http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/HighTeaHistory.htm

    and

    http://coffeetea.about.com/cs/culture/a/aftervshigh.htm

    for a more detailed explanation of the differences.

  2. Many thanks for your input Michael.

    “High tea” has such a smart ring about it, which ‘low tea’ and ‘afternoon tea’ do not have.

    Chris

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