This may be me, so bear with me, however, I’m sure it may be the case for anything but, having followed The Principal Hotel on Instagram for so long before visiting and literally drooled over every photo they published, to say I had high expectations would an understatement, but I also doubted whether it could be real. Would it be the best afternoon tea in York?
However, upon arrival, the doubts were squashed and my jaw fell permanently to the floor.
What an incredible place.
Prior to arriving, Lizi had booked us in. I had assumed we’d be seated in the light, bright conservatory of The Refectory Kitchen and terrace, however, we were lead through to the main hotel and our table in the garden room, which although not as bright, was so very grand. The high ceilings and neutral palette of the decor added to the feeling that I should have really worn a sharper pair of jeans…
We were here to eat cake and that’s what we were going to do.
With a number of variations of afternoon tea available, we decided upon the normal ‘tea’ option. I chose the regular breakfast tea because regardless of what I tell myself (green tea is a better choice..), you can’t beat a good cup of tea tea.
The menu sounded amazing, however, I was surprised when, what I can only describe as our ‘starters’, arrived. Beautifully and perfectly made, presented and served. The sweet potato veloute was incredible. So creamy. Although a sauce dish, I couldn’t help but just eat it as a soup! I know. Such a pretty woman moment. Haha.
Although I tried it, everyone loves a trier, I didn’t like the smoked mackerel mouse, preferring the fruit chutney crisp. I could have quite easily and happily eaten sooo many more of them.
It would be easy for me to say that pictures speak for themselves, as it really is the case with The Principal and the food here, but I will persist and try and find the words to explain this stand of dreams to you.
This stand arriving was a wow factor for me. After receiving what I can only explain as ‘starters’ on a plate, I was unsure what to expect.
Now, I am that awkward person that dislikes egg mayonnaise, which seems to be one of the go-to fillers of sandwiches in an afternoon tea, so I end up ‘swopping’ with who I’m with, or before hand, asking for it to be swopped. Thankfully the other sandwich generally seems to be a meat option – ham, beef. Here it was Yorkshire ham and pickle and I was happy. Very happy.
On to the middle layer – say hello to our mini friends. The scones. For me, the filling layer. Scones are always the part that fills me. Even though these were mini’s, and I didn’t actually eat them all – I left the cherry and almond one, they did fill me and were also so good. Especially with proper clotted cream and jam.
As I said, I was pretty full at this point. Even considering the amount Lizi and I spoke during it, the time just didn’t make the space in my belly I so needed to tackle the sugar rush that was the top layer of this stand.
I feel sad. A fraud. A disappointment to say that. I failed. I failed to do any more than dip my spoon in the heavenly looking salted caramel pot. It was everything I needed it to be, but I just couldn’t eat anymore. So alone sat the curd tart, macaron, cheesecake, loaf, and eclair.
I had joked to Lizi to ask for a doggy bag, but it really wasn’t the place and I would like to return. So…
Until next time.
The service was impeccable. The service staff gave us a detailed explanation of what the food was they brought and were quite attentive in checking we were alright, without being intrusive.
If time and it allowed, I would have loved to have sat in another lounge area with more tea and just people watched. The hotel has an amazing feel to it. I’d definitely plan to visit again.
It definitely is, currently, the best afternoon tea in York.