Newest Review: ... the centre of York, it's located in an imposing building on a corner of St. Helens Square, you can't really miss it as it stands out the s... more
A taste of Yorkshire in tea form
Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms (York)
Member Name: liz3yy
Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms (York)
Advantages: A real treat
Disadvantages: A little pricey, best as a very occasional treat only
My fiancé and I booked a long needed and deserved holiday recently to York, (sadly not New York, we couldn't stretch to that!) we stayed 5 nights in the city centre at an apartment that was perfect....that's another story and ripe for reviewing in it's own right.
Now I have long wanted to visit Betty's in Yorkshire, I am a big fan of tea rooms in general and always manage to sniff them out when we visit anywhere new. A big pot of tea with scones and lashings of jam and cream is my idea of heaven (not my hips idea though!)
I was delighted to discover that in York itself there are two branches of Betty's, in actual fact there are several in the area, including York, Harlow Carr (on the outskirts of Harrogate, Northallerton and Ilkley. I hear that the owners refuse to open any further branches further afield as they want to be able to keep an eye on them personally and expanding would erode their charm, I like that.
I always assumed that Betty's was English so was surprised to learn on visiting that the chain was begun by a Swiss chap who settled in England in the early part of the 1900's. The food now served is a mixture of Swiss and traditional Yorkshire fare, trust me it's better than it sounds.
We visited the main branch in the centre of York, it's located in an imposing building on a corner of St. Helens Square, you can't really miss it as it stands out the second you turn the corner into the square itself. The window displays draw you in with their rows of delicious looking breads, cakes and other rather lovely treats, of course we didn't need any persuading as we had long ago made up our mind that a visit for afternoon tea was not to be missed during our stay.
We decided to visit early afternoon on a Tuesday thinking it wouldn't be too busy...hmmmm I was wrong there...when we arrived the queue to enter was snaking down the road and around the corner, sod it though I want tea! so we joined the queue prepared to wait for however long it took. Thankfully we only had to wait for around 15 minutes to get in, not too bad really considering the state of the line when we first arrived. We actually didn't have to wait for the queue to completely go down as a waitress approached us and offered us a table as there were only two of us, result!
We shown to a table in the main dining room with a view overlooking the square outside, the table was small and close to the others around it. The table was so small in fact that we struggled to fit all our food and drink onto it!
Once seated a waitress welcomed us to Betty's and presented us a with a menu each, we didn't need it as we knew what we had come for, full afternoon tea each - no mucking about. Here I would point out that I love tea whereas my other half hates it and would rather drink his own...erm....you know. We asked if we could swap his tea for coffee which we would told with a smile, yes fine Sir, just choose the coffee you'd like from the list. Nice.
Whilst waiting for our order to arrive we checked the rest of the menu, the selection of teas and coffees is as long as your arm with every type you can think of and more besides. Impressive and worth a visit for itself to try something different. There is an extensive food menu with anything from a simple tea cake right up to a full on evening meal, you could, if so inclined eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner (might cost you though)
Like I said, we chose the afternoon tea with a pot of tea for me and coffee for my better half. This cost us the rather princely sum of £17,95 each. For that we received a selection of sandwiches, a scone with cream and jam and a selection of little cakes all presented on a silver stand. It looked impressive and tasted just as good, in fact there was so much of it I struggled to finish it all. Our drinks were very nicely presented too with proper silverware and china. I'm such a chav that I didn't know what the tea strainer was for! LOL! (I know, I know.....)
We enjoyed our tea enormously and felt like we'd had a proper good feed by the end of it. Well you should after spending the best part of £40. The food was fresh and full of flavour, and didn't take an age to arrive despite the place being packed to the rafters while we were there.
I would say the downside to our visit was, apart from the long queue to get in and crowds getting in the way, trying to book a table the evening before. We thought it wise to see if we could a table to save having to queue and potentially being disappointed. We paid a visit the Monday evening and asked a young lady in the cafe if this was possible, she said she would check....she returned saying you can reserve afternoon tea if you like? ok great we'll do that we said....she then tried to flog us gift vouchers which we had to pay for there and then....erm that's not what we asked for....can.we.book.a.table.for.tomorrow......that' s how I actually had to ask her....erm, I'll check she said....OH FOR...forget it, we'll try our luck tomorrow!
...I have no idea if she was new, a bit dim or what....but...anyway's despite that we had a great time and would recommend Betty's to anyone visiting the area. You have to, it's the law!
Summary: An essential part of any trip to Yorkshire