Afternoon tea in the Belmont Room at Betty’s of York is a must when visiting this wonderful historical city in northern England. Built in 1919, the room was named after the cafe’s founder, the Swiss baker and merchant Fredrick Belmont.
This is the place where tourists come in droves to purchase the famous “Fat Rascal,” a large scone with nuts and dried fruit in the shape of a smiling face on the top. The Fat Rascal was developed during the 19th century and was first mentioned in literature by Charles Dickens. The smiley face really gives the scone a lot of personality, so I can see why people line up to buy one.
While the bakery is located on the street level, their tea is served in the Belmont Room on the second floor. The room is very elegant, decorated with gold mirrors and wood panels done in the Art Deco style. Mr. Belmont hired the same architects who designed the RHS Queen Mary ocean liner to create the elegant design for his tea room.
The afternoon tea comes with three courses, first a savory course with tea sandwiches and two different kinds of savories, including a puff pastry tart with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, red bell peppers and mozzarella and a small terrine of shrimp salad with butter lettuce and red micro greens.
The tea sandwiches include a roasted red bell pepper and basil with smoked paprika aioli; smoked Scottish salmon with cream cheese on a mini croissant and an open faced chicken salad sandwich with romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese which tasted a Caesar salad on a crostini.
The scones came in two selections, one plain and one with sultanas. I particularly like the ones with the tiny raisins, especially with the clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Betty’s of York is known for being a purveyor of fine teas. Choosing from their long list of teas can be difficult, but I ended up choosing a fragrant black tea blended with rose petals, which I enjoyed so much that I ended up buying a bag to take home with me.
The desserts included a chocolate mousse cake, lemon and orange macarons and a green apple tart that looked and tasted like a real candied apple.
As a nice gesture, Betty’s sends you home with a small box of treats. The whole tea experience was really fun and provided a nice break from touring the famous sites in York. I would definitely recommend having afternoon tea at Betty’s while in York. Definitely book ahead as both their cafe and tea room fill up quickly.
Even though you will be plenty full when you finish your afternoon tea, it’s fun to have a look at the dessert case in the bakery downstairs, full of beautiful little tarts and cakes and plates of freshly baked scones. You can also pick up a tin of loose leaf tea there as well.