On Thursday, before we popped to Leeds Festival, Victoria and I made a pit stop at a Yorkshire landmark known as Bettys Tea Room. If you’ve ever been to York, you would have no doubt seen the queues of people waiting in the rain, wind or shine to partake in the delights of Afternoon Tea at Bettys – and to start our wild weekend end off properly we thought we’d nip up to be a bit sophisticated before we ended up drinking our body weight in cider over the festival weekend.
Afternoon Tea at Bettys Tea Room, York
As soon as you spot Bettys on St Helens Square in York, you almost immediately give a coo and an awwww at the quaint exterior, with it’s huge curved windows and art deco elegance. With fresh flowers blooming from the hanging baskets and a real buzz echoing from the main dining area, the setting is beautiful for a sunny afternoon treat.
Our table was booked for the upstairs area in Bettys known as the Belmont Room. With wood decor and a spacious layout of tables, it was a stark contrast to the buzzing vibes pouring out of the downstairs cafe area. I think personally I would have preferred to sit downstairs as the atmosphere seemed a little more relaxed during the day, but don’t get me wrong, the Belmont Room was still a wonderful experience with a pianist playing throughout the service.
Within around 10 minutes of sitting down and ordering our rhubarb champagne cocktail, we were served up the extremely lavish Lady Betty Afternoon Tea. Starting with a prawn and avocado based appetiser, this was soon wolfed down with few ‘yums’ along the way. I’ve never been a fan of avocado, but there was something within the pureé at the bottom of this ‘prawn cocktail with a twist’ that made me want to give it another go. After a 2 and a half hour drive from Stoke, this was a refreshing and much needed introduction in to the rest of Bettys Afternoon Tea Menu.
Straight after the appetiser we were served the next round on the afternoon tea menu, which came in the form of this dainty savoury selection. The Salmon and Cream Cheese Roulade was absolutely delicious but I did feel that the juxtaposition of serving it with a Gala Pie was a bit odd. I’m not sure what it is about this combination that I found a little weird, as I can’t put my finger on it, but it just felt strange to have something rather luxurious and light next to a pork pie with egg it. The quail egg within the pie was lovely though and didn’t feel quite as stodgy as it first appeared to be.
In between the courses and champagne, I also ordered my choice of tea, which was served in a beautiful glass teapot. I thought I’d go for lemongrass and ginger due to the heavy weekend which was ahead of me. Ginger to settle any tummy woes and also give me a bit of a boost before heading off to Leeds Fest. The teapot size easily allows for 3 cups and you can refresh this at any point during the afternoon tea.
We then come on to the main course, which was a 3 tier cake stand packed full of finger food for us to get our tastebuds around. The sandwich selection consisted of; ham and tomato pate with sundried tomato bread, egg mayonnaise and coronation chicken. I must say, despite being in to my fancy flavours and unusual combinations, I would have preferred more subtle flavours for the sandwich selection. I’m not overly keen on sundried tomato, so the ham sandwiches weren’t to my taste, and the coronation chicken was a little overpowering. However, when compared to the previous and upcoming parts of the afternoon tea this isn’t too dissatisfying, as the rest more than makes up for this slight, personal, niggle.
The middle tier had 2 scones per person on it and I think they actually changed my opinion on scones completely since eating them! I’ve never been one for scones, I find them a little bland and well, pointless usually. But the warm, fresh baked lavender scone with a dollop of cream on was delicious and so was the more traditional sultana scone and I enjoyed both more than I ever thought I would. Unlike scones from the supermarket they were light and fluffy, just hitting the spot. Washed down with my lemongrass and ginger tea, this made for a perfect combination.
We then go further up the tiers in to the coveted desserts and sweets section.
As there was only one of each dessert between two, I could only manage two of the selection and started with the bright pink dusted ganache cube, which was filled with fresh raspberry with a sprinkle of pistachio on top. It was so incredibly rich I could only eat half of it though, but the delicate macaron was a lovely way to finish the meal. Macrons tend to be a little disappointing sometimes, when they look so pretty, but this was actually lived up to its appearance and was a lovely gooey consistency with a good crunch to it. Yum.
-You can find out more about Bettys Afternoon Tea and other parts of the menu online here