I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I love afternoon tea. I wish I could have it every day, I think I am obsessed with the bite sized delights served on three tiered stands. I am yet to find anywhere that satisfies my need more than Bettys Tearooms. A trip to Bettys for me is always a treat and this year (so far) I have been lucky enough to visit the Harrogate Tearooms twice. Once in May for my birthday with Mr ESLT and once the weekend before last as part of one of my best friend’s Hen Weekend.
As there were 6 of us I had pre-booked a table directly with Bettys. I had to pay in full at time of booking which was £32.95 per person for the Lady Bettys Afternoon Tea (without champagne as we were all driving). If you want a glass of fizz to accompany your afternoon tea this will set you back and additional £7.00. For groups of 5 or less you can reserve your table on bookatable.com and pay on the day. I cannot recommend pre-booking enough as you can simply walk straight in as the queues even on a soggy English day can stretch down the street. I’ve queued myself before and believe me – it’s no fun watching people through the window devouring their sweet treats whilst you salivate like a rabid dog!
With coats and shopping bags stored away safely for us we were shown to our table in one of the three bay windows in the Imperial Room where afternoon tea is served. The weather in England in September can be very hit and miss however we luckily for us we visited on a beautifully sunny and dry day which meant we had the luxury of the cool breeze blowing in on us from the open window. We were given the tea menu straight away for us to make our selection. Call us boring if you will but we all chose the standard afternoon tea blend (which was just what the doctor ordered after a morning of shopping with hangovers). If you have more adventurous taste buds I’m sure you’ll find something up your street on the tea menu.
Now to the main attraction – the food!!!! Typically my social vegetarianism kicked in and I ordered the vegetarian afternoon tea. Having only visited a couple of months ago I was very surprised to find that the format of the afternoon tea had changed completely. On my last visit we were simply presented with a three tiered cake stand will all the goodies on. This time we were pleasantly teased with appetisers first.
Herbivores – tomato and avocado served in a shot glass followed by a sundried tomato roulade and mushroom frittata (yum)
Carnivores – prawn cocktail on a bed of avocado served in a shot glass followed by a smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade and mini pork and apple pie
We were then presented with our stands which included sandwiches, scones and miniature cakes. As I was the only vegetarian of the group I got my own stand of yummy delights to enjoy at my leisure. Naturally I started with sandwiches even though the sweet toothed devil on my shoulder was shouting ‘EAT THE CAKE’. My vegetarian sandwiches where egg mayonnaise, goats cheese and caramelised onion (my favourite) and cream cheese and cucumber – all delicious and surprising filling despite their size. The meat eaters sandwiches consisted of ham and tomato pate, coronation chicken and egg mayonnaise(?). We were offered seconds which we eagerly accepted however looking back now was crazy as in reality there was already enough food to feed a small army.
Next up – scones! Lovely warm scones – my weakness! A lovely mixture of sultana and Yorkshire lavender scones together with lashings of jam and clotted cream, what is not to like? Although I admit I did over do it as the angel on my shoulder was shouting ‘STOP EATING now’. I promised her I would….after one more scone and I did.
I had to admit defeat without even trying any of the fantastic looking miniature cakes which comprised of:-
- Grand cru chocolate and raspberry square
- Apple caramel macaroon
- Chocolate and praline slice
- Fresh berry meringue
- Miniature battenburg
- Coffee religieuse
All of which I was reliable informed were beautiful. There was even a few left over which the waitress happily boxed up for the bride to be to take home and share with her intended.
Coats and bags collected we headed to the on site shop, I bought my nana some marmalade and two Yorkshire tea loafs which the very helpful sales assistant informed me that I could freeze and all the ingredients used are fresh. Although knowing how much my nana loves it I doubt it will have chance to be frozen. For me Bettys is a treat and I think twice in one year is more than enough. I want to look forward to visiting and enjoy it whilst there. I do not want it to become the norm. However, saying that my nana has always wanted to visit for herself so I think the next time I visit will be for her birthday next April to the York branch. I CAN NOT WAIT.