Address: 41 Stonegate
Price: £4.95 for a cake/dessert and tea/coffee
Nestled among the boutiques of Stonegate is The Antiques Centre York, a beautifully unorganised antique shop full to the brim with treasures. Among these treasures, on the ﬁrst ﬂoor, is Molly’s Tea Rooms, the shop’s very own cafe, serving breakfast, lunch and a mouth-watering array of cakes and desserts throughout the day. The existence of the café is indicated only by a sign placed outside the shop, unobtrusively advertising a host of homemade delights.
It’s a bright and early Saturday morning as we pace along High Petergate in anticipation of coffee and cake. I have 45 minutes until my shift at work starts and I need fuel, quick. To celebrate my return to York for the Summer Term, and for a ﬁnal treat before the departure of my mother and, with her, real food for another 10 weeks, a good old Yorkshire tea room is required.
I’ll mention now that as I often gaze dreamily at the menus of the multiple tea rooms in York I am constantly haunted by the question: do they have anything gluten-free? Yes, I know, I’m one of those.
We stride towards along the street in hope of sustenance. Most places appear to be closed. We hadn’t thought of this. “I can’t face a Starbucks”. Lightbulb moment! “I have the perfect place”. We turn down Stonegate and I immediately spot the sign. The swirly hand-writing reads: ‘gluten-free options available’; there’s no turning back now.
Making our way up the old stairs, I smell the delights of the cafe before I see them, lined on glass shelves of refrigerators around the room. The smiling waiter approaches and I ask what gluten-free options they have on offer, praying that it’s something I can see or smell. “Today, we have a gluten-free banoffee pie”. That will suit me just ﬁne.
Once settled at one of the small, white tables in the centre of the room, I enjoy a cup of traditional Yorkshire tea, complete with my own personal teapot, whilst my mother sips at a “delicious” cappuccino. The real wave of joy, however, comes as the waiter places our ‘breakfasts’ in front of us. Gluten-free banoffee pie for me and a slice of lemon drizzle cake for mother.
We eat in silent appreciation, the desserts are simply divine. A double thumbs up to the gluten-free option, I’m not sure how they achieved the biscuit-base, but it was tremendous. The cafe also offers an all-day breakfast menu which moves into a lunch selection of sandwiches and omelettes. The desserts are available all day, thankfully.
At £4.95 for a dessert and coffee or tea, the cafe is reasonably priced and the welcoming staff made the cafe feel homely, even when empty (I blame the early hour). There is something quite delightful about enjoying a traditional Yorkshire tea amongst the antiques. The location of the cafe provides an atmospheric escape from the bustling streets of York and feels much trendier than sitting in one of the city’s more traditional tea rooms. All in all, a perfect farewell, but as we step out of the shop into the sunshine, I know I won’t be saying goodbye to this place. If you haven’t been already, Molly’s is deﬁnitely one for the bucket list.