No ordinary café, it is stylish, beautiful and so very welcoming

During our recent visit to York, we were invited to dine at Cafe21, located in Fenwick department store in the heart of the city.

We were overly excited for this as Café21 belongs to celebrated Northeast chef Terry Laybourne and is his second venture with Fenwick’s, following on from the success of the eatery at its Newcastle store.

We had heard many great things and not just about the food. This is no ordinary café, it is stylish, beautiful and so very welcoming. From the moment we arrived, we were made to feel special and valued, as was every other diner. Something all eateries should do.

Described as ‘a home from home where hospitality comes first’, Café 21 is a sociable and effortlessly stylish space, serving crafted comforts, lunch bites and sweet treats.

Tables are laid with crisp white linen, beautiful glassware and cutlery and this breakfast, lunch and early evening venue is the place for a mid-shopping trip lunch, business meeting, afternoon tea, or a quiet cup of the good stuff. A place where ‘me time’ matters.

It did not take us long to decide on the Champagne Afternoon Tea! We knew we were in for a superb experience seeing the other plates being served.

We started with a glass of crisp, chilled champagne, toasting our completion of walking ‘The Walls’ during a heatwave! We had earned this treat.

As we savoured the champers, our Afternoon Tea arrived with a flourish and had every other diner following its journey to our table. Oh yes! It was a tower of deliciousness to which we had to give due respect with lots of photos and taking time to decide in what order we should eat.

Starting with the perfect finger sandwiches, we resisted the temptation to plough through at speed, taking time to savour every wonderful mouthful. Free Range Egg Mayonnaise with chopped shallots and watercress, Smoked Salmon and cream cheese, Chicken and tarragon mayonnaise, York Ham and grained mustard mayonnaise and Cheddar Cheese and chutney!

Let me tell you, each one was an exquisite taste sensation and just enough savoury to prepare the tastebuds for a dessert explosion!

We started with the Freshly Baked Raisin and Plain Scones with clotted cream and Cafe21’s own strawberry jam. Now there are scones and then there are Cafe21 scones! Never had better and probably never will, baked by their very own ‘King of Scones’! Fresh from the oven and still slightly warm, light as a feather, buttery and just, well … superb!

There was method in the madness of eating the scones first, just in case we couldn’t finish everything, the assortment of handmade pastries – Battenburg, Raspberry and Rose Macaroons, Cherry and Almond Tart, Gâteau Esterházy and Sachertorte, would be easier to transport home.

We need not have worried. Perfect portion sizes and each being too delicious to leave had us easily polishing off the lot! Let us not forget the tea, which is of course a major component to this quintessentially English tradition.

What a perfect day.

The sun was shining, we had completed ‘The Walls’, (which by the way are over five miles and not two – due to the sections being broken up around the city). And the pièce de resistance? Our visit to Cafe21!

So, whether you’re in need of a mid-morning caffeine and croissant kick, or an indulgent afternoon tea treat, they’ve got you covered at Café 21.

“As lovers of tradition we find great joy in serving the legendary Viennese Sacher Torte alongside quintessentially British afternoon tea delights.”

And you do it magnificently!

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