I thought I’d better try out the new Mama Doreen’s Emporium before this massive UCI cycling event thing we’ve got going on in Harrogate properly kicks in. Honestly, James Street was totally devoid of cars yesterday – it was not the improvement I expected. A bit eerie.
Anyway, back to Mama Doreen’s Emporium which opened earlier this month on James Street in Harrogate (the old Carluccio’s, which I still miss). As pretty much everyone in Harrogate knows, Mama Doreen’s has been a star feature of Cold Bath Road – dubbed Harrogate’s Notting Hill – for some 10 years. Co-owner Jessica Wyatt built up a wonderful business, first supplying cupcakes then becoming the cutest shop and adding a lovely café which had children’s parties and all sorts.
Still, Cold Bath’s loss is James Street’s gain. The new Mama Doreen’s Emporium is a welcome addition to Harrogate’s town centre dining offer and it’s lovely to see an independent family business growing up so gorgeously.
There’s an on-site bakery for creating the cupcakes that Mama Doreen’s is famed for, and you can still get celebration cakes too – truly fabulous works of art. There’s a new website coming to order online for collection or delivery, along with the option to build your own cake.
And as a place to eat, it is, as I said, fabulous, and already very popular. I love the mismatched crockery and teapots. There’s a teacup, saucer and side plate on each table, which I think is very sweet. And I saw some amazing vintage teapots being carried through. The waiting staff all wear black and the interior is a tasteful but glam symphony of cream, white and grey, with glistening chandeliers (lots and lots of them) and antique mirrors and of course Mama Doreen’s signature soft retro blue signature branding. Frank Sinatra was playing in the background. I overheard one of the other diners say it reminded them of being in Paris and I knew exactly what she meant. This is a fab sort of place for meet-ups with friends, taking your kids for a treat, just popping in for a civilised bite – or a glass of wine or a cocktail.
The menu is very much bakery based, with sandwiches and of course all the cakes. There’s a brunch menu: Breakfast at Mama Doreen’s costs £12.50 and has, for example, smoked salmon bagel, cheese scone and bacon, granola, pastry, muffin, tea/coffee, juice – wow! But you can have a brioche with cinnamon butter for £2.50. Prices are very reasonable.
There are paninis, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, warm desserts, soup of the day, a cake platter and a savoury platter (both £8.25). I went for the Savoury Platter (see the picture) and it was all delicious. I’m not always in the mood for bread, and half the time I’m not eating carbs anyway, until I forget, so I would love to see a simple salad on the menu in the future.
But, for when one is in a carb mood, the afternoon teas are star players, starting from £16.50, and the children’s is £9.50. There’s also a Deluxe Afternoon Tea at £24.95 and a Slingsby Gin themed one, same price. Plus there are cocktails, wines, beers, ciders and Fentimans soft drinks, Coke, Fanta etc.
I also had a sticky toffee pudding cupcake – because you have to have a cupcake. And I had wine – a lovely Pinot Grigio. And tea. All for around £20, which I thought a bargain for an “I deserve it” late lunch after a long morning at the laptop face.
Look out for the new website and for seasonally themed afternoon teas, including Halloween from October 25 to November 3. I believe it’s open 10-5 each day (4pm Sunday).