Skipton’s new bar and kitchen, Alexander’s has been on my radar for a good few months. The joint keeps flashing up on my Insta-feed. Cracking looking cocktails one minute, pictures of packed-out sun terraces the next. Kids eating ice cream, delicious looking plates of food from Eggs Benedict for breakfast to small plates and larges dishes of cuisine from across the globe. And of course afternoon tea.
All to the backdrop of their signature image – the palm leaf. Actually quite a few bright green palm leaves. A feature wall in Alexander’s is covered in the exact same wallpaper that Del Boy and Rodney had in their flat in Peckham. But it works.
Probably because rather than it being a high rise council flat in East London, Alexander’s is housed in a beautiful period building at the top of Skipton High Street, but the best bit is that huge terrace out the back. Ignore the rows of terrace houses in the background and I reckon in the summer months it’s just like being by the river in Richmond (London, not Yorkshire). Or in the Med somewhere.
So I jumped at the chance of a trip to Alexander’s Bar in Skipton when their PR Sian called me with an invite ahead of Mother’s Day next Sunday. Not least because I was suffering from serious FOMO (that stands for ‘fear of missing out’ – it’s a millennial term apparently).
It was a Sunday, we took the kids. We were ushered to our table at the rear of the restaurant – an enviable position looking out over the canal.
Typically, the kids’ response to the afternoon tea menu was ‘eughhhh, no way, I’m not eating THAT, I want sausage and chips”.
They’ll stuff themselves with bloody chocolate cake at home, but of course when I actually want them to eat shed loads of sugary treats they won’t.
Afternoon tea, served between 12 and 4pm daily, needs to be ordered 24hrs in advance so I was a little mortified when I had to inform our charming waitress Eleanor that there were now only two for tea and could we have the kids menu please.
With a career as an ex-nanny under her frilly apron, she rose to every challenge thrown at her from the seven year and the three year old at our table. Smoothly and efficiently removing any unused china and glass and other hazardous objects. And it was very beautiful china and glass – not the type anyone would want to see smashed.
Within no time at all I was sipping on a tiny cup filled with a shot of White Onion Velouté with Truffle Oil. A delightful way to start the experience – it was silky smooth and deliciously creamy, complimenting my glass of champagne wonderfully. I had three.
Elenor took our tea orders. Well she took mine – I opted for the Organic Ceylon Green Tea with Orange Pekoe from a menu of 10 flavours of tea along with coffee, hot chocolate and of course bubbles.
Mr T went a little off track and ordered a cappuccino and a pint of lager to wash down the cucumber Sandwiches with Crème Fraiche and Smoked Salmon with Dill on Rye. Accompanying them on the savoury bottom tier was a little pot of Duck Rillette with Onion Chutney – a welcome little pot of carb-free, sugar-free loveliness of an otherwise sugar-loaded three-tier stand of sweet-treat heaven.
Against all afternoon tea protocol, it’s the middle tier that plays host to the sweet treats and consists of a colourpop of all sorts and in keeping with the tropical wallpaper, features lemon tart and toasted meringue, chocolate and pistachio slice, plum macaroon, pineapple and lime battenberg and bright green apple bavarois.
The top tier featured the obligatory (and very sizeable) scones with clotted cream, jam and butter. One scone was an unusual pistachio and white chocolate flavour.
Alexander’s quite obviously don’t want to fully confirm to the afternoon tea norm and nor should they. Little touches across all three plates of the cake stand scream rebellion. The whole thing swings a little to the right in the world of afternoon teas – there’s no theme or fancy name, but nor does it conform fully to tradition.
Tropical and traditional collide to create a tower of delicious craziness. And plenty of it!
That palm tree wallpaper and the pineapple light fittings, the menu, the decor, the huge screen in the restaurant area that shamelessly advertises a plethora or events and experiences the joint rolls out, promising something for everyone – Alexander’s has certainly brought with it a bit of eccentric excitement to this Yorkshire market town’s high street.
A simplified kids version of their afternoon tea would have been great. Tomato soup, jam tarts, jelly pots and finger sandwiches replacing the strong colours and flavours. Now that would be the icing on the pineapple and lime Battenberg cake at Alexander’s.
Afternoon tea is served between 12 and 4pm daily and starts at £25 per person. For more information and to book your afternoon tea click HERE
With thanks for Alexander’s and their lovely staff for treating us to such a lovely afternoon tea.