(Review of Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom by Emma Banks, Halifax)
Tucked away in the Grand Arcade of Leeds city centre there’s basically a time machine masquerading as a cafe. For afternoon tea lovers, vintage devotees and anyone who likes something a little bit quirky you have to head down to “Just Grand!”
I stumbled across this gem last summer when I’d exhausted the usual scone and jam haunts and wanted to try somewhere new.
As soon as you step through the door you immediately feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
With its period furniture, mismatched china and retro kids’ corner (fuzzy felt heaven!) this family-run business has created a warm and cosy environment that in a weird way is very familiar – think Granny’s house on a Sunday. The old bird dressed in blue gingham overall, careering around the living room with a tea trolley, wearing clip on earrings pretending to be a waitress.
So, the important bit – the afternoon tea
They offer a traditional, prosecco (excellent), gentleman’s (move over scone and tea: hello pork pie and ale) and a children’s version of the British classic. The cakes and scones are all homemade on site – sometimes being baked right in front of your eyes in the open plan kitchen – and always delicious. Being a tricky customer who can’t eat raisins (eyeroll – there’s always one) I asked if, by any chance, they sold plain scones before I set about picking and piking at mine. Did they ever! They had ginger and apricot, earl grey and lemon, white chocolate, black treacle and date, lavender and for little old me… plain ones.
Now, this might seem odd to some, unforgivable to others, but I don’t drink tea. How can I even call myself a “Yorkshire woman” if I don’t love our holy water?! But I can report – from a trusted source – that the tea selection here is vast and offers something for everyone – just not me! I swapped my unlimited teapot for a hot chocolate and put the world to rights with that in hand.
The quiet hum of the records from yesteryear coupled with a bloody good set of sandwiches and cakes made me one happy bunny. Matt, my husband, wolfed down his gent’s tea and Lyla, my 5 year old afternoon tea connoisseur, knocked back her orange cordial and devoured her food like a good Yorkshire lass should.
So, the food’s good, the atmosphere’s great – it’s ticking all the boxes for a repeat visit – then you need the toilet. Another nostalgic treat right there.
The walls are plastered in vintage magazine covers, there’s knitted things everywhere, even the floor is from back in the day. Now what could be better than having a quick wee whilst reading an ancient Woman’s Own article about how to find your ‘hidden vitality’ and keep it for life!
If you’re in the area (or not – it’s well worth a trip out) then a visit here is an absolute must. The staff are friendly, give good old fashioned service and get right into the spirit of the atmosphere they are trying – and succeeding – to create.
CLICK HERE to find out more about ‘Just Grand’.