Here in Skipton, we welcome a lot of tourists to our little market town and it is often cited as one of the best places to visit in Britain because of its independent shops and eateries. I'm lucky enough to review a restaurant, pub or cafe most months for Aspire, the Skipton-based lifestyle magazine that I copy-write for so it seems logical to share the reviews here on my blog so they might help a visitor to choose where to eat. It was in May that I had the pleasure of going to a newly relocated cafe in the centre of Skipton...
Helene’s Tearoom is on Coach Street, close to the canal basin in Skipton. There are several tables on the ground floor and more downstairs on the lower ground floor which opens out into a secluded outdoor area, so there is more to this little tearoom than first meets the eye.
Helene’s is very much a family affair. Helene and her mother Janet do the baking and cooking and her husband Billy looks after the order system and the business affairs. The family wanted to create an experience that makes their customers feel like they are taking tea in a friend’s, (or Granny’s), sitting room and they have achieved just that. The carpeted floor, embroidered linen table cloths and mix of floral crockery are charming and give a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. Music from the 1960s adds to the atmosphere and it starts conversations between customers when they cannot help but sing along.
My 15 year-old daughter Poppy and I were invited for afternoon tea. Our table was beautifully set and we were offered tea and coffee on our arrival which came in ceramic floral pots.
Our tea was presented by Helene on a three-tier wooden teacup-shaped stand. I have never seen such pretty, gorgeously presented food. There was a selection of dainty sandwiches including smoked salmon and cucumber, ham and Wensleydale and local chutney. Each sandwich was light, very fresh and was made up of two different types of bread. There were slices of asparagus quiche which was delicious and bursting with seasonal flavor.
The cakes were a sight to behold, each like a work of art. Individual passion fruit trifles in tiny glasses and giant fluffy scones filled with clouds of fresh cream sat alongside slices of chocolate-orange marble cake. Light as air individual Victoria Sponges and generous slices of carrot cake, Helene’s speciality, were simply too good to resist. Each was as delightful as the next, but perhaps the most original was Janet’s lavender and lemon sponge. The combination of flavours and dried lavender within the sponge conjured up thoughts of a lazy hazy afternoon in the Provençal sunshine. The tantalizing flavours, wonderful service and the quaint presentation made for an absolutely perfect afternoon.
Afternoon tea for two costs £19.95 and must be booked in advance. Light snacks and cakes are served throughout the day and jacket potatoes and sandwiches are served over the lunchtime period.
Love Liz x
21 Coach Street
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9.30am-5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am-4.00pm
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