Delightful afternoon tea

Guardian Gourmet feature, Hellaby Hall Hotel
Guardian Gourmet feature, Hellaby Hall Hotel

Planning a wedding is often described as a stressful experience, but so far I’ve enjoyed arranging mine.

Never more so than last weekend, when a catch up with my mum to discuss the lastest arrangements involved a delicious afternoon tea at Hellaby Hall Hotel.

We wanted somewhere where we could escape the stresses of life for a few hours and chat about my wedding plans, and Hellaby Hall Hotel definitely fitted the bill.

Pulling up to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised. Many people will have driven past it when travelling between the M18 and Maltby, but driving down the driveway, the hotel includes an old manor house and brilliantly mixes modern facilities with traditional decor.

Walking into the reception we were told to head upstairs to the bar area, where a member of staff would serve us afternoon tea.

The bar area was empty apart from a table of four, who looked to be eagerly waiting for their food.

We soon found a waiter who asked whether we wanted tea or coffee, and then told us to sit anywhere in the bar area and we would be served.

The bar was split into three rooms and my mum and I opted to sit in a cosy room overlooking the hotel garden with comfy armchairs and sofas.

We were not waiting very long until two waiters brought our afternoon tea (£11.95 each).

The bottom tier of the stand was filled with 12 individual sandwiches, and a pot of vanilla cream. On the top was two scones, two jars of jam, butter and two slices of fruit cake.

We were also given a large pot of tea with two vintage china tea cups and saucers. The waiter told us that if we wanted a refill then to let him know.

There were three varieties of sandwiches - ham, turkey and cheese. The cheese ones were delicious and creamy with red onion and peppers. However the other two, although tasty enough, I would have liked some else on them as well as just a slice of ham and turkey - some tomato or cucumber perhaps.

There were enough sandwiches to fill us, and we weren’t left wanting more which often happens with afternoon teas - the sandwiches look pretty on the stand, but you’re left a little hungry after eating them.

I quickly moved onto the fruit scone, which crumbled as I cut it in half. I decided to forget the wedding diet and spread butter, strawberry jam and then a dollop of cream onto each half.

As soon as I’d took a bite, I encouraged my mum to do the same. The scone was delicious - very soft with fruity jam and a tasty vanilla cream. I was very impressed with the cream, which you could see the vanilla seeds running through.

Our attention then moved to the garden outside where a newlywed couple posed for photographs with their family and friends having just tied the knot.

After discussing more wedding plans, I decided it was time for a top up of tea. I quickly found a waiter in the next room and asked for another pot. It would have been better if he come to check how our food was and asked if we wanted anymore tea.

It was then time to tackle the fruit cake, which I put on my plate with another spoonful of the vanilla cream. The cake was full of fruit and very moist. It was very rich and filling, and we may have been better with half the portion and maybe another variety of cake.

The afternoon tea was delicious and I would happily return on a regular basis but I fear for my waistline and for me fitting in my wedding dress. So, for now, it will have to remain an occasional treat.