With weight-loss topping many people’s new year’s resolutions, January must be a nervy time for purveyors of cake.
There was absolutely no sign of a lull at the bustling Jameson’s, however, when we arrived for an early 2016 lunch.
Open for around three months, the cafe has replaced the popular Timoney’s on Roundhay Road in Oakwood.
Its predecessor had a loyal following thanks in no small part to the owner, Aussie Kathryn Timoney, whose eccentric warmth was reflected in the personality of the place.
Jameson’s, in contrast, exudes the elegance of a traditional English tea room – all grey walls, delicate china and polite, dicky-bow wearing waiting staff.
For anyone thinking of a health-kick, the menu is a real test of willpower – a trait neither myself nor my dining partner were in any mood to exercise.
She chose the traditional afternoon tea (£12.95). Offered a choice of sandwiches, she opted for tuna mayonnaise on granary.
The sandwiches, crust-less and cut into fingers, were presented on the bottom of a two-tier cake stand, beneath an upper tier boasting a giant fruit scone (jam and clotted cream in dainty individual pots) and a wedge of chocolate orange cake – her choice from the impressive range of baked goods on offer.
The sandwiches were very good, light and fresh but with a filling she described as being suitably indulgent.
The cakes were the real show-stoppers, however. The scone was surprisingly light given its size while the chocolate orange cake was pure hedonism. The two layers of marbled sponge came either side of a layer of cream and jam. There was a wedge of Terry’s chocolate orange on top.
The food was accompanied by a pot of proper, loose-leaf tea.
The cafe’s traditional afternoon tea is the most modest of four afternoon tea options, of which the most extravangant is an £80 bonanza for two, complete with a bottle of champagne.
I had the Spanish rarebit (£7.50), which felt quite extravagant enough. The two thick slices of granary were topped with wholegrain mustard, red cheddar cheese, horseradish and – in a twist on the traditional favourite – chorizo. It was a deliciously calorific treat. The side salad felt like an apology.
A slice of the chocolate orange cake and a pot of tea completed my meal.
Jameson’s is not recommended for new year dieters. But if you’re still toying with the idea of shedding a few pounds, do yourself a favour and spend a few here before you do.