<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today click here

Yorkshire Life Afternoon Tea - The Principal York

PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:30 06 June 2017

Afternoon dessert

Afternoon dessert

Andy Bulmer

Guests join us at The Principal York where afternoon tea is served with a side-order of style

Head pastry chef  Martyn Edmonds prepares afternoon tea Head pastry chef Martyn Edmonds prepares afternoon tea

Creating a great afternoon tea is not easy, but the ever-obliging staff at The Principal York make it look like a piece of cake.

‘Our afternoon tea is, frankly, one of the best,’ said general manager Richard Mansell. ‘We’re very proud of it because we get such amazing feedback. People just love it. That makes us very happy indeed.’

And it shows. The staff at The Principal are among some of the cheeriest in the business. Always professional and courteous, they’re also warm, welcoming and friendly enough to put everyone at their ease.

‘We go out of our way to be warm and welcoming,’ said Richard. ‘When you walk out the door, we want your first thought to be ‘when can I come back?’. At the end of the day, we want York – and Yorkshire – to be proud of us.’

The landmark hotel – formerly known as the Royal York – relaunched last year after a multi-million pound revamp, giving the 139-year-old building a fresher, more stylish look to ramp up its contemporary credentials and underline its place as one of the city’s premier hotels.

It’s a cornerstone of the Principal Collection, a group of hotels that have all had an important role to play in the heritage of their home city, including The Principal London (formerly The Hotel Russell), The Principal Edinburgh (formerly The George Hotel) and The Principal Manchester (formerly The Palace Hotel).

‘The transformation of this hotel has been nothing less than monumental,’ said Richard. ‘It turned out to be one of the biggest refurbishment and restoration projects in Yorkshire.

‘Just two years ago this property was looking very tired and in need of a bit of love and attention. It was all horrible dingy red carpets and dark wood. Now, £15 million later, the hotel has been transformed into a beautiful grand dame fit for the 21st century.’

The Ebor Room The Ebor Room

That £15m has been spent extremely well. The Principal York has always enjoyed a key spot next to the city’s bustling railway hub and within easy walking distance of all the major sights, but now it more than matches its location with an impeccable interior design scheme that takes in more than 150 beautifully appointed bedrooms and suites as well as public dining, drinking and relaxing spaces.

The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, a light, bright, glazed expanse, has fast become a destination restaurant under the expert guidance of executive chef Jason Wardill. While the Garden Room is now regarded as one of the very best places to enjoy afternoon tea, not least because you also get to enjoy sweeping views across the garden to the historic city walls and, beyond that, to York’s majestic Minster.

While the Refectory specialises in fresh, seasonal Yorkshire produce, served with silver service professionalism, the Garden Room is a haven for those who (quite rightly) believe an afternoon is not complete without an expertly brewed pot of tea and an array of sweet treats.

The Principal sources its tea from the Rare Tea Company, which focuses on developing real relationships with small, carefully chosen farmers growing the very finest leaves and, as a result, the menu includes all manner of intriguing brews, such as the highly fragrant 2nd Flush Muscatel Darjeeling, picked in the foothills of the Himalayas, and Jasmine Silver Tip, a delicate white tea crafted entirely from spring buds scented with fresh jasmine in the Fujian Province of China.

Tea is served Tea is served

Let’s not pretend, however, that tea is the star of the show. It might be called ‘afternoon tea’, but it’s actually all about the delicate little sweet and savoury treats that keep coming with pleasing regularity to the table.

Our afternoon tea began, quite sensibly, with something deeply savoury – a sweet potato and chorizo veloute served in a dinky little cup accompanied by crisp mini crackers topped with pate and fruit chutney.

Then came a plate of sandwiches – savoury egg and ham and chutney – that were actually quite robust in size (but no one was complaining), followed swiftly by three tiers of sweet treats created by chef Martyn Edmonds.

There was sultana, almond and cherry scones (leading to the usual light-hearted argument about pronunciation that the seemingly simple s-word inevitably prompts), parkin loaf, passionfruit macarons, curd tarts, Slingsby rhubarb gin cheesecake, white chocolate and raspberry eclairs, and chocolate pots with cream and salted caramel. Each was a mini work of art, a feast for the eyes that gave a true visual indication of the utter deliciousness they delivered.

Cherry and almond scones Cherry and almond scones

Perhaps not surprisingly for a hotel at the heart of the county’s historic capital, The Principal’s afternoon tea proved to be of generous Yorkshire proportions, and only one member of our party actually managed to try everything (he shall remain nameless; let’s just say he’s a photographer and leave it at that).

This means, however, that we all got the chance to take a little bit of The Principal home with us in the form of individual boxes of delicious mini desserts. Result!

For more information about The Principal York, visit phcompany.com/principal/york-hotel, call 01904 653 681 or simply pop in when you’re passing (they’re always happy to put the kettle on).

More from Food & Drink

Tue, 09:36

A look at some of the best gins that hail from Yorkshire

Read more
6 of the best
Tue, 00:00

Two Yorkshire farmers and the NFU’s regional director share their thoughts on how Brexit will affect their lives.

Read more
Yorkshire Food
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Whitby is a fantastic holiday destination all year round.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How foodies in York are dreaming up new ways to serve the Sunday roast classic.

Read more
Monday, February 5, 2018

Lisa Bennison, a senior tutor at Bettys Cookery School, Harrogate shares her foodie advice to leave you with more time for romance.

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Contemporary Chinese restaurant Tattu is calling time on those January blues with a host of special events lined up for February from Valentine’s Day through to a week-long celebration for Chinese New Year.

Read more

Ad Feature: Rustique

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Established in 2004, Rustique is an independently owned bistro-restaurant specialising in rustic, French food set in a vibrant, upbeat whilst homely atmosphere in the heart of historic city of York.

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Join Arlene Phillips and Strictly Come Dancing favourites Aljaz and Janette on this exclusive 8-day river cruise along the Danube

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

£5 discount off our a la carte menu and a special Winter Warmers menu for £10.

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Local entrepreneur raises a cup of decaf to her East Leeds roots with Jo Haywood

Read more

Ad Feature: Raithwaite Estate

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Set in 100-acre surrounds, Raithwaite Estate which is home to two luxury hotels, a selection of traditional stone built cottages and a stunning lake house, is the most exclusive coastal retreat within North Yorkshire.

Read more
Friday, December 29, 2017

Gin tasting is increasing in popularity across the country, we round up some of the best events across Yorkshire. Some of these events sell out fairly quickly, but the organisers do often host multiple events throughout the year.

Read more
Friday, December 29, 2017

We are all foodies in Yorkshire, and it's no surprise our diverse variety of food festivals are some of the most well attended in the country. Here are some of the best taking place in 2018.

Read more
Things to do in Yorkshire Yorkshire Food
Great British Holidays advert link

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Property Search