There’s not much I enjoy more than a good high tea: whiling away an afternoon with a good friend, drinking gallons of tea and eating delicious morsels. If only I was in an Agatha Christie film and could dance the day away.
It’s rarely cheap, but for a birthday treat I think an afternoon tea is perfect. Most offer glasses of champagne if you’re really feeling decadent.
Here’s my personal reviews over the last couple of years.
The Queens Hotel, Leeds
2 or 3 tiers of lovely food each. Pics from 2 of my visits to the Queens.
Variety of sandwiches sometimes open sometimes not, scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, selection of pastries, pot of tea.
Drawbacks: Feels like smokey dive as there are no windows.
Anthonys at Flannels, Leeds
Small but perfectly formed. Presented on slate, looked beautiful. Jam in tiny kilner jars. Lovely upstairs empty room, but leather seats a bit sweaty. Not enough food though! Scone was tiny. Good tea. Would go again, but have brunch earlier.
The round Oak Room was great and we had it to ourselves. Really disappointing food though- we had to send the curling dry sandwiches back- they’d obviously been sat around for a while in a hot kitchen. I had no reply to my email afterwards either.
Betty’s, Ilkley or other places in Yorkshire
Midland Hotel, Manchester
Delicious. Art deco room. 3 tier trolley.
Unlimited tea. Glass of madeira. Sandwiches, scone with butter/cream/jam/preserve. Cakes. Way too much to eat, but everyone took stuff home.
Only slight grumble- sultana scone, apricot/cream cheese sandwich filling.WRONG!
Hardly anyone in there, so lovely quiet place to lounge on comfy sofas for hours and eat at leisure. (BUT the TV screen is a terrible idea- we managed to sit behind a pillar to avoid).
Medium priced cream tea, on a 3 tier stand: very fresh finger sarnies- egg mayo, mozzarella n pesto, feta n tomato, cucumber n cream cheese- veggie as requested. Then warm scones (well, not by the time we ate them) with jam n cream, tiny chocolate mousse tarts (would’ve been better without the pastry) and gallons of earl grey. Took my fruit cake home.
A special mention for the Marvellous tealadies at their newly opened tearoom in Leeds- delicious homemade cakes, gorgeous collection of vintage teapots and cups, a quirky little slice of 50s heaven. They don’t do the whole afternoon tea stand thing- yet!
I’ve managed all these words on afternoon tea without mentioning ‘quintessential’. Well done me.
STOP PRESS The Marvellous Tearooms do indeed offer tiered hight tea. Ill be trying it soon- looked delicious.