EVER since City Buzz broke the news that a posh afternoon tea venue was opening in Leeds, there has been loads of excitement surrounding it.
Each time we’ve posted articles online and on the YEP Facebook page, thousands of you got talking about the potential of this swanky new addition to the city centre.
Truth be told, we didn’t quite know exactly how the idea was going to pan out.
After all, ‘afternoon tea’ could mean tiny sandwiches and delicate cakes in a plush, upmarket tearoom or it could mean flock wallpaper and stuffy decor in a cosy setting perfect for grandma.
But this week we finally got to see the new Creams restaurant for ourselves – and we were blown away.
City Buzz got an exclusive look at the new site, which opens at The Core shopping centre this weekend.
Walking in, beneath the huge chandeliers, you immediately forget you’re in a shopping centre. It certainly has the ‘wow factor’ and it’s clear there has been some serious money invested in it.
First of all, Made in Chelsea’s Ashley James is set to be the face of the brand, and it’s only the company’s second site but is already double the size of the original in Huddersfield.
With pastel blue walls, marble floors, tables and counters, chic fabrics and private booths it really is a little taste of luxury.
They even have a special air vent to pump the smell of the freshly baked cakes from the kitchen into the dining area.
It seems a world away from Lands Lane, but you can glimpse out of the window and people-watch as you sip on a perfect cuppa and take in the sounds of the grand piano.
The menu includes cake pops, macarons, handmade chocolates, coffees, smoothies, sorbets and shakes, and the owner assures us it’s ‘affordable luxury’.
If you are wanting to splash some cash though, for £200 you can get a Creams chauffeur to pick you up in a Bentley, drop you off for a VIP afternoon tea experience and take you home.
Creams is run by a Yorkshire-born family who prefer to remain behind the scenes, but they did tell us that 10 sites have been sold across Yorkshire already, with others opening across the world starting in Dubai (and plenty of Sheikhs are rumoured to be interested in the business venture too).
The company is also planning to open near Betty’s in Harrogate – which is a bold move to say the least – but it’s no wonder they’re so confident.
Creams taps into a market that people in Leeds have been craving, and have so far been deprived of.
You might think it’s a rather odd choice for an upmarket afternoon tea eatery to set up in a shopping centre on The Headrow.
But it’s a bit of a statement of intent from the centre’s owners about the type of tenants they’re looking to pull in.
It seems we won’t just be looking at fast food joints and the usual food court-type suspects.
And if Creams can make a go of it, it might make other firms with deep pockets and an eye for an opportunity follow suit.
Fingers crossed, it could be what just what The Core needs to let what has been a bit of a forgotten corner of the city finally shine.
*Creams opens at 12pm on Saturday, May 16. A Creams stall will also open on Lands Lane in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!