Friday 27 September 2013

Betty's Tea Room, York

Betty's... an institution in refined afternoon adventures; famous for their expertly blended tea, quaint old fashioned ways, and indeed, their fat rascals. Ever since my first visit several years ago, I have longed to go back, but never had the opportunity. When my husband suggested an impromptu trip to York, I only had one place in mind.

We rocked up at Betty's around 12:45pm to see an impressive queue snaking out of the door and round the corner. We were lucky enough to have been invited to Betty's to partake in afternoon tea in the Balmoral room. New top - check. Hungry like the wolf - check. I was good to go! The Balmoral room is upstairs, and you don't have to queue, so the hustle and bustle of the high street is left behind.
Betty's Tea Room, York
We were greeted by a friendly lady who showed us to our table, and explained proceedings. A pianist was playing in the background, and I was busily eyeing up the pretty displays on each table as we walked to the back of the room. Prime people watching real estate...
Betty's Tea Room, York
A young lady in a pretty broderie anglaise blouse explained the ordering system; basically which teas we may like and whether we had any special dietary requirements. For folk who eat out as often as we do, we were a nightmare! I don't like mustard, egg mayonnaise or salmon, and my husband is dead against anything 'sauce' like. They were fantastic. We ordered a bespoke platter of finger sandwiches to suit our tastes. I had chicken with tarragon mayonnaise, ham, cheese and apple, and tomato and avocado. Paddy's platter was slightly less adventurous, with three cheese and one ham and mustard! Hey, it's what he likes...

We picked two very different teas, and I managed to finally break the habit of a lifetime by ordering something different! We had pot of morning Darjeeling, and the comically titled Lapsang Souchong. The Darjeeling was a fragrant black tea and the Lapsang Souchong a smoky, quite sweet variety.
Betty's Tea Room, York - Afternoon Tea
Next up was the 'scone course'. We each got two freshly baked fruit scones with little pots of clotted cream and jam. Best scones I have ever eaten, bar none.
Betty's Tea Room, York - Scones
The top layers were filled with pretty little cakes. Each was so rich that neither of us had a problem with trying half each. My favourite was the blackcurrent meringue, which consisted of a thin meringue base, pillars of piped cream and blackcurrent sauce dribbling over the top. It was just perfect.

Picture 1 (clockwise)

  • Gateau L'Opera
  • Blackcurrant Meringue
  • Hazelnut & Chestnut Financier

Picture 2 (clockwise)

  • Chocolate & Orange Fancy
  • Raspberry Sable
  • Salted Caramel & Chocolate Macaroon
Betty's Tea Room, York - Cakes
We had such a wonderful time at Betty's. We were surrounded by people celebrating birthdays or having a special treat; add this to the opulence of the room, the soft piano music and the friendly service, this is a perfect place to spend a couple of hours.

Declaimer: Betty's invited me for afternoon tea with their compliments after learning that I was making a trip to York. I was not under any obligation to give a positive review, shriek like a little girl, or get excited bellyache. All adrenaline was my own.

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