Restaurant reviews

Christmas in Leeds 2015: Festive afternoon tea at DoubleTree by Hilton

Christmas shopping in Leeds can be stressful. You’ll know this if you’ve tried walking around Trinity over the last couple of weeks (especially with a pram – the stuff of nightmares!).

If you have no option other than to hit the streets in the search for that elusive perfect Christmas gift, at least reward yourself with a festive, warming afternoon tea at DoubleTree by Hilton.

Festive Afternoon Tea Leeds Doubltree Hilton

A nice calm setting to enjoy the view

After being invited down by DoubleTree, we ventured out earlier this afternoon in the pouring rain and howling wind to sample the festive tea currently being offered. Our tea was served in the City Cafe, which overlooks the canal. It was warm and inviting inside, and exactly what we needed after walking through that awful weather.

Location aside, afternoon tea is all about the quality of the foodie offerings, so let’s take a detailed look at how the DoubleTree festive afternoon tea fares.

Savoury snacks

The savoury snacks are presented on a long wooden board, which offered a more modern touch on the usual tiered approach to an afternoon tea.

Festive Afternoon Tea Leeds Doubltree Hilton

The festive afternoon tea

There was a turkey and cranberry sandwich, a Wensleydale and apricot sandwich, a pork and sage stuffing roll, and a smoked salmon blini.

Starting with the best of the lot, the pork and sage stuffing roll. This was served warm and was packed full of porky flavour. The pastry on the outside was flaky and buttery. Overall, this was a real hit.

Festive Afternoon Tea Leeds Doubltree Hilton

The pork and sage stuffing roll

The Wensleydale and apricot sandwich had a decent amount of cheese in it and the apricot went nicely with it, without being overpowering.

The smoked salmon blini was small and could perhaps have done with the addition of cream cheese for a flavour and texture contrast, but it was nice nonetheless.

The turkey and cranberry sandwich was lacking slightly in festive flavour; it could have done with more of a hit from the cranberries and the turkey sort of lost its way amid the bread and the sauce.

Sweet treats

On to the sweet treats, again presented on a long wooden board. We enjoyed fruit cake, festive cupcakes, and mince pies.

Festive Afternoon Tea Leeds Doubltree Hilton

The sweet treats!

The fruit cake was very moist and overall a solid take on a fruit loaf. It wasn’t too rich or too dense. The mince pies were the perfect size for an afternoon tea. It would have been nice if they’d been served warm, but a big thumbs up for the tasty pastry that encased the filling.

The cupcakes were delicate and tasted very naughty. They again weren’t too dense and filling and looked very pretty.

Scones – the main event! 

Scones can either make or break an afternoon tea and I’m pleased to say that at DoubleTree by Hilton the scones are exceptional.

The scones that come with the festive tea are rum and marzipan scones. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to scones. I don’t like them to be messed around with too much, so to say I was wary of the rum and marzipan elements would be an understatement.

However, I was very impressed by how they tasted. The scones tasted of Christmas, if that makes any sense!

Festive scone Hilton Doubletree Leeds

A fabulous festive scone

The bowl of clotted cream and cute little jars of strawberry jam ticked all the boxes in terms of ideal scone accompaniments.

Tea etc 

With the afternoon tea, there’s the option to have tea (normal or herbal), coffee, or hot chocolate. We enjoyed the breakfast tea and lemon and ginger tea but it would have been nice to have had loose leaf tea rather than bagged tea. That’s just a quibble though!

Festive Afternoon Tea Leeds Doubltree Hilton

Enjoying the tea

Overall, the festive afternoon tea at DoubleTree by Hilton is very good. The scones will live long in my memory and it’s worth mentioning how friendly the staff were, especially the young waitress who served us. She was really attentive and very quick to ask if she could bring anything for our baby.

A festive afternoon tea at DoubleTree costs £15, and there’s the option to add a glass of Prosecco for £5 or a glass of champagne for £8. 

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