One of my travelling rituals, wherever possible, is to experience afternoon tea, and I was very excited to try out an old school colonial tea experience when I visited Sri Lanka earlier this year. After some research into options within the capital, Colombo, I decided the most interesting option had to be the Governor’s High Tea at the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Full of British colonial heritage, this hotel lies on the southern part of Colombo, overlooking the sea and the city itself. It’s overflowing with victorian elegance, and although I didn’t have a chance to explore it in full, I loved its over the top splendour!
High Tea takes place in the Terrace, a sunny open area by the pool, where you can look out over Indian Ocean and watch the city from behind swaying palm trees. The High Tea itself was fresh and tasty and I’m happy to report there were no meagre portions! In fact they often recommend that you share one tea between two of you, and from experience I can recommend the same.
The high tea of course kept some classic elements, but I particularly loved the Sri Lankan influences that appeared in some of the savoury options. Classic sandwich options such as salmon and cucumber were there, but there were also tasty prawn puff pastries, mushroom and cheese quiches, crunchy vegetable spring rolls and spicy chicken buns (just like the short eats I’d experienced elsewhere in Sri Lanka).
After munching my way through deliciously crumbly plain scones (fruit are available) I was feeling pretty full, but had to at least try out a little of each of the amazingly colourful cakes on offer.
The chocolate mouse cups weren’t fairing so well in the heat, so I went for those first. Although they were melting in my hand, they were wonderfully rich and the mini portions were just spot on size-wise. The pistachio cake surprised me as I didn’t think the crunch would go with the light and moist sponge but it really, really worked. Then I also managed to squeeze in a couple of mouthfuls of the carrot cake before finishing off with the moorish chocolate-covered cashews. Sadly I had to leave my other half to finish off the strawberry pies and Battenburg – not that I heard him complaining!
All this deliciousness comes with as much tea as you wish – although I wasn’t given an option of what tea to take – house tea arrived just before the food itself. But as that’s my only negative, I have to say that all in all, this was a winner of an afternoon tea! Coming in at about £5.50 a person, it may well be the cheapest I’ve had as well!
If you’re heading to Colombo and are looking for a treat I’d definitely recommend the Mount Lavinia. Governor’s high tea is served from 3-6 daily, but it’s best to book if you can to be sure of a place.