Bettys Cafe Tea Room, York, York
If Harrogate is the flagship of the Bettys Cafe Tear Room fleet, then York is the transatlantic liner. The 1930s wood paneling and the art deco stained glass deliberately echo the glamorous heyday of the steamships and were installed by craftsmen from the Queen Mary.
The peak time queues to go on board are as long as ever. The same counter range and menu operate throughout the chain so the food and drink upstairs and downstairs all match up to the usual high standard. Afternoon tea makes a big impression with sandwiches, scones and cakes all served on a tiered cake stand along with the silver teapot or a glass of champagne. Sandwiches, salads, grills and rarebits – the latter made with Theakston’s famous Old Peculier ale – are served throughout the day and evening. Save room for the cakes. Trolleys, piled high with éclairs, tortes, roulades, fruit tartlets and all manner of elaborate conversation stoppers, ply constantly between the tables, followed by countless pairs of eyes. Go on then, maybe I’ll have one after all. That’s Bettys for you.