Bettys Café Tea Rooms is a Yorkshire institution and at nearly 100 years old it’s still going strong. Millions of people flock to Bettys each year and for many, it is the afternoon tea which tempts them in.
Afternoon Tea is a real treat
Lady Betty Afternoon Tea is available at their Harrogate and York tea rooms and the best bit is you need to book so, unlike the café, you don’t have to queue. Instead you walk smugly passed the queue and up the stairs, yes upstairs, like Downton Abbey! My sister and I headed up to the Imperial Suite in Harrogate where we were greeted by Megan. She kindly took our coats and showed us to our seats.
In splendid surroundings
The Imperial Suite is a grand room full of beautiful period features including the impressive parquet floor, and dainty panelling; the impressive windows overlooking the beautiful Stray (Harrogate’s common grassland) created a sense of calm and escapism to the hectic life outside. As we sat down you noticed that everyone was enjoying the sense of occasion and creating their own special memories. We decided to start our occasion with a glass of Kir Royle, whilst listening to the pianist gently tinker away on the piano.
Both my sister and I work for Bettys and it’s rare we ever get to experience it as a customer so this was a real treat. Jack our waiter brought over our teas before placing our linen napkins on our lap – all rather sophisticated but not out of place. Kirstie being a big tea fan opted for the Golden Valley Estate Darjeeling. Now I know a thing or two about Darjeeling. It is grown at around 7,000ft above sea level, in sight of Mt. Everest and is known as the jewel in the tea trader’s crown. This tea is from one single tea estate and known for its floral notes. Bettys know how to get the little details just so, the very smart tea tray had the polished silver handles facing my sister so she could easily reach the tea strainer and pot of tea. I chose my favourite accompaniment to Afternoon Tea – fresh peppermint leaf. It arrives is a beautiful delicate clear glass tea pot and the taste is calming and refreshing. Perfect for the mammoth afternoon tea we were about to venture upon.
Crafted with care
Lady Betty Afternoon Tea was developed at Bettys innovation kitchen based at their Craft Bakery on the outskirts of Harrogate. This is where I work and I’m always hit by the gorgeous aromas of freshly baked cakes, chocolate and bread. In the early hours of the morning bakers fire up the ovens and work their magic. Every cake is made fresh, as is the bread for the sandwiches and the gala pie, and delivered to the tea rooms the very same morning.
What do you get with afternoon tea?
Our first course was an appetiser; a Bettys Prawn Cocktail. Fresh prawns in homemade Marie Rose sauce with a beautiful avocado puree, on a bed of Little Gem Lettuce and topped with a sprinkle of paprika. I love this starter; I might even nick it for my next dinner party (who am I kidding; I can’t remember the last time I held a dinner party!)
Next we were served our savoury selection; a smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill roulade and a miniature gala pie, made with outdoor-reared Yorkshire pork, quail egg, thyme and rosemary. Bettys has teamed up with Royal Dalton who have created a beautiful afternoon tea set exclusive to Bettys.
Then it happened, Jack brought over the iconic three tiers of pure joy. Every part of it screamed EAT ME!
We were treated to the following sandwiches (which are refillable by the way!):
ROAST YORKSHIRE HAM AND TOMATO PATE
With mixed leaves on sun-blushed tomato bread.
Made with free-range Yorkshire chicken on mixed grain bread with micro herbs.
The classic combination, made with free-range eggs and cress on white sour dough loaf.
All were perfectly formed and dainty but the Coronation Chicken was to die for. This open sandwich had a gorgeous piece of free range Yorkshire Chicken with the tastiest Coronation sauce thickly laid over the top. Making our way up the cake stand we went to the middle tier where the freshly baked scones sat politely. They bake them to order so they are the freshest scones they can be. You receive one sultana and one Yorkshire Lavender Scone. The lavender scone is a taste experience, subtle but enough for the aroma to fill your mouth, very delicious and my favourite out of the two types.
Afternoon Tea doesn’t look like much but after the various tiers and starter we were struggling. However, it was the main event. The six cakes were all sat on the top tier with such elegance. Here is a little film showing how each delicious morsel is made…
The square airbrushed pink cube is my favourite as it has a surprise inside! It is amazing to see the effort and detail which goes into crafting each cake – they are almost a work of art. All of the cakes tasted divine.
How much is Lady Betty Afternoon Tea?
To me, Bettys is like a dear friend, one where you’re enveloped in a cuddle of love and specialness. It is incomparable to anything else in the world and I am privileged to have had Bettys in my life since I was a little girl. If you haven’t been it’s truly worth a visit even if to tick it off your bucket list. It costs £32.95 per person or £39.95 with champagne. To book your magical experience visit bettys.co.uk
It would make a perfect Valentine’s Day present for that special someone in your life.
P.S. Thank you ever so much to Bettys for inviting me to experience Lady Betty Afternoon Tea at the Bettys Imperial Suite in Harrogate. Oh and you also HAVE to pop to the ladies toilets before you leave. Here I am wearing a H&M oversized shirt dress… just look at the wallpaper!
Have you been to Bettys for Afternoon Tea? Who would you take as your partner in crime?