If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know how much I love Bettys Tea Room in York. I’ve been for the same afternoon there for my last three birthdays, so you could argue I’m a bit obsessed.
(Or that it’s really lovely there and you’re guaranteed to be treated like a Princess. Or at least a minor member of the Royal family, anyway.)
I know I’ve written about the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea before, but it felt like time to share a few new photos, and to talk about a little bit about the slightly modified menu.
Bettys Lady Betty Afternoon Tea: Appetiser & Teas
First things first, you’re given a menu for the lovely teas on offer. I always gravitate towards the same one: Peppermint tisane. A.) It’s really refreshing and B.) It helps freshen your breath when you’re away from home all day and can’t clean your teeth. (Who says I’m weird?)
My parents, who were there with me, opted for coffees. There’s a special coffee menu that you have to ask for if you’re after a caffeine fix. Bettys have tons of different teas for all appetites too. They used to be served in glass teapots (which I loved) but they’ve now been replaced with metal ones, which you’ll see below!
After you’ve selected your drinks, the appetiser’s brought out to the table: It’s a pea, cucumber and tomato cocktail. Basically, it’s diced tomato, red onion, cucumber and mint, served on a pea purée base and dressed with crème fraîche. The dish never seems to last long with any of us. It’s so tasty that we’re all guilty of devouring it in record time.
(As a little aside, how cute are the plates that the afternoon tea is served on? They’re made by Royal Crown Derby, apparently. So it’s nice to have a piece of home when dining in Yorkshire!)
Bettys Lady Betty Afternoon Tea: The Savoury Selection
The savoury selection consisted of a very posh pork (and apple) pie. Plus smoked salmon, cream cheese, and dill roulade on a wholemeal croute. (See, I told you it was quite posh.)
They’re the same starters that we’ve had all three times that we’ve visited Bettys, and they’ve never disappointed. SO delicious!
If you’re interested in the finer details: The salmon is freedom farmed and comes from Scotland. While the pork was outdoor-reared and hails from Betty’s home county of Yorkshire. (Would we expect anything less of our Lady Betty?)
(I just wish I’d have got a better photo of both of these dishes before I scoffed them, to be honest.)
Bettys Lady Betty Afternoon Tea: Dainty Sandwiches, Scones & the Cutest Cakes
The waiters and waitresses really helpfully talk you through each tier and tell you which cakes are which, and which sandwiches are which, but leave you to debate amongst yourselves whether you should put the cream or the jam on your scones first… (I’m team cream first, FYI.)
The sandwiches are slightly different to our first visit. This time we had: Roast Yorkshire ham and tomato pâté on sun-blushed tomato bread, chicken and tarragon with mayonaise, and egg mayonnaise on wholemeal bread. All of which are very lovely.
Shamefully, I was getting quite full already by this point and had to donate one of my sandwiches to my poor Dad (who ended up having to hoover up scraps from both my mum and I… Poor him, eh?)
After this, you get to sample your two scones: one is lemon and the other is rose flavoured. I’m not normally one for scones, but Bettys scones are so tasty that I make an exception.
Again, they’re a slightly different selection to our first visit to Bettys, but all the cakes I’ve had there are delicious.
Do you remember that really long heatwave we had? (Seems like a very distant memory now, doesn’t it?) Well, because it was so hot on the day we went to Bettys, it made some of the cakes melt while they were sat on the plate waiting for us. Especially the chocolate ones which had to be devoured by the ‘rents pretty sharpish.
I opted for the gooseberry macaroon, which I get my hands on every year. Hands down. (You’ve really got to fight me for your macaroons.) And, that was the only cake I ate whilst there, sadly.
By this point, I was so full that I couldn’t manage anything else. Don’t worry, my Dad came to the rescue again.
The Pièce de Résistance: A Birthday Cake!
My parents were kind/sneaky enough to call Bettys and pre-order a birthday cake for me from the Bettys shop downstairs. One of the waitresses brought it to our table at the end of our meal, much to my surprise! (How wonderful is that?)
The kind staff at Bettys were very obliging and even threw in a couple of chocolate mice too. Plus, they popped a candle on top, and got the pianist to play ‘Happy Birthday’ in front of EVERYONE. (Cue me looking slightly taken aback/mortified. To be fair, I was one of about five people who were there for their birthday, so that poor pianist must’ve been fed up of playing ‘Happy Birthday’ by the end of our 90 minute dining slot…)
Anyway, back to the cake! It was a Bettys Victoria Sponge, which was hand-decorated with fondant icing. They asked if we’d like to eat it there and then, or whether we’d like to take it home with us. Seeing as we were full to the brim, we had it boxed up for us (because we couldn’t possibly contemplate even more cake.) Later that evening, we tried it, and of course, it tasted lovely. Even Cookie the dog was jealous.
You’re not just paying for the food, but for the experience of dining there too.
The Price – Is It Worth The Money?
It’s worth noting that while the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is quite expensive, it is really special. The Luxury Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is £32.95 per person, or you can opt for the slightly more expensive champagne afternoon tea for an extra seven pounds. If it is out of your price range, there is a cheaper alternative: The Traditional Afternoon Tea.
If that’s more up your street, you just turn up, queue outside, and dine whenever you like. With the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea, you have to pre-book a specific time, but you do get to dine upstairs in the beautiful Belmont Room. Plus, you get to bypass the queue and walk up a grand staircase instead of waiting on the street. (The queue is always incredibly long, and bypassing it is handy if York’s rainy on that particular day.)
The Belmont Room is airy and spacious, and you have a little more privacy than you’d get downstairs. You don’t have people gawping through the windows from bustling St. Helen’s Square at you as you try and daintily cram a sandwich into your mouth…
I can’t really compare the two, as I’ve only ever tried the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea. I do feel that if you’re there for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, it’s totally worth splashing out if you can afford to.
You’re not just paying for the food, but for the experience of dining there too. It makes for such a special afternoon; an unforgettable (and filling) day out in a beautiful city.
Have you ever been to Bettys?