Review: Afternoon tea venue Creams, Leeds

Creams, Leeds city centre. PIC: Steve Riding.
Creams, Leeds city centre. PIC: Steve Riding.
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Anticipation for the grand opening of afternoon tea venue Creams has reached fever pitch in recent weeks.

Now, despite the launch date being delayed by a week, it’s finally arrived – and on Oliver’s first visit, the decor certainly didn’t disappoint.

Creams, Leeds city centre. Pic: Steve Riding.

Creams, Leeds city centre. Pic: Steve Riding.

Walking through The Core shopping centre, we were welcomed by a huge tea room with high ceilings, chandeliers and a glass counter filled with pastries and sweet treats.

Creams adds a touch of glamour to what is essentially a run-of-the-mill shopping mall and fills the city’s afternoon tea venue void.

Entering the restaurant, we seat ourselves at a marble-topped table next to the grand piano and the fireplace before taking a moment to soak up the impressive surroundings.

The windows at the back let in a great deal of light and there are a few diners chatting over cups of tea as they take in the view from the raised stage area.

We peruse the menu and I’m afraid to say it was at that point the wind was somewhat taken out of our sails.

It’s always off-putting when a menu is littered with spelling mistakes and, quite honestly, if you’re going to spend money on dazzling chandeliers, would a proof reader be that much of stretch?

But simple spelling errors aside, we were also a little put off by the menu’s not-so-flattering photographs of the food, which would be more at home in a Chinese takeaway.

Nonetheless we make our way to the till to place our order but are told the system is down so it takes some time – a forgivable glitch during opening week.

Creams prides itself on providing affordable luxury, and affordable it certainly is.

There’s a great selection of cakes, muffins, sandwiches and mains like fish and chips that are all reasonably priced.

Afternoon tea is also just £14.95 per person.

I choose a falafel and halloumi ‘naanwich’, with ‘sweet’ sauce and salad while my partner goes for a cheese melt panini with peppers.

With the meal deal you can add a cake or patisserie and a drink for £8.95, so I go for macaroons (but was allowed only two) and my partner opts for a strawberry and cream scone.

The cream wasn’t fresh but the macaroons were better.

The naanwich was more pleasing, with a good amount of filling and flavour.

But the panini was a huge disappointment, with no peppers, loads of red onion instead, tasteless cheese and a salad that was past its best.

With so much attention and money paid on the aesthetics of the venue, it’s a shame the food and little nuances haven’t matched up – as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. It’s still early days so hopefully there is time to improve.

Rating: **

Portugese custard tart. PIC: Tony Johnson.

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