Afternoon Tea @ The Queens Hotel, Leeds – guest blog by Lucy Reynolds

After many a time strolling past the  advertising board outside the Queens Hotel, gazing at the offer of a fancy afternoon tea, I decided to treat my mum to a visit when she was up in the glorious North. The Queens Hotel is a well known establishment in Leeds, looming large just outside of Leeds train station in all its Art Deco glory.DSC_0083
Upon entering the hotel bar area, we were quite shocked to find ourselves in the midst of a wedding reception. I thought that I’d got the date wrong but found out that we were correct and that the wedding reception wasn’t private so members of the public were also just sat in the bar having drinks too. It all felt a little awkward, especially when the wedding singer did a slow and sexy version of ‘You’re the one that I want’ from Grease; some songs just aren’t meant to be slowed down!
The saving grace was the friendliness and polite nature of the staff, who made us feel very welcome. The bar area was very grand and ornamental yet looked a little tired; however, watching drunken wedding goers fully made up for this.

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We were offered tea or coffee to drink, and both were served with a big smile by our charming waiter. Our afternoon tea platter came next, and definitely looked the part, stacked high with goodies.

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As much as the child within me wanted to forego the sandwiches to get my sticky paws on the cakes, I found restraint and started with the selection of dainty finger sandwiches. 

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Our selection consisted of Yorkshire ham, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and the ubiquitous cucumber sandwich. Now obviously everyone knows that mayonnaise is the work of the devil (it’s egg sauce people!) so those foul creatures were rejected straight away. The other sandwiches were lovely though – the fillings were generous and the bread was soft, fresh and tasted like it had been baked in house. 
Our next layer offered up sultana scones, raspberry jam and cream. Anyone who knows me well knows I love a good scone (pronounced sc-own, not sc-on, you southern pansies) so I was slightly disappointed by the Queen’s hotel’s version as they were too dry and the cream was whipping cream, not clotted. It was tasty but not indulgent – it definitely needed tea to help to wash it down.

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The last layer of treats offered up Almond, fruit and banoffee tarts. The almond tarts were wonderful: moist, rich frangipan filling with a thick jammy base. The fruit tarts looked better than they tasted, with an appetising glazed top covering a slightly tasteless custard underneath. The banoffee tarts were super sweet and not to my taste but I’m sure if I’d have started with them, I’d have been more enamoured, as by this time we were particularly stuffed. Also, banana is evil – but everyone knows that, right?

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All in all, a really pleasant experience: I’ve had better afternoon teas, but the staff were lovely and the surroundings, whilst a little worn, are still quite grand. An interesting one off.

Queens Hotel
City Square
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 1PJ
0113 243 1323
http://www.qhotels.co.uk/our-locations/the-queens/

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