So perhaps the Carroll inspired title of this post implies some wonderful amalgamation of literature and the gastronomic delights of a Mad Hatter's Tea Party (just so you know Sketch London have already got that type of Afternoon Tea covered). However the event underpinning this post was an afternoon in York with my best friend Alice, visiting Betty Crocker's famous Tea Rooms.
I think I have a love/hate relationship with Joint Honours University Programmes. They're great in so far as flexibility and preventing boredom goes, however the slight downside to them is that you have to kiss your friends goodbye as they prepare to leave for China, France, Brazil or whichever far flung country in which they choose to do their year abroad. Alice's imminent departure for China (she studies Chinese with Business) coincided perfectly with my final exam of year one (end of being a fresher!) so we decided to celebrate with a dose of post exam indulgence: Betty's quintessentially English triple-tiered Afternoon Tea selection.
Betty's run a no-reservation policy which means queuing is essential, but the 30 minute wait is well worth it....tucked in a charming little corner of York, the tea room has a plush art deco style interior whilst the apron wearing, broderie anglaise clad waitresses retain British politesse. Smart yet relaxed, you are made to feel at home and welcome in this cosy environment.
The coffee arrived first. I'm not just talking about the standard latte/cappuccino/espresso coffee menu, but rather a selection of coffee so extensive it was as impossible to decipher as a French Wine Menu in Bordeaux. We ended up taking recommendations from the waitress, going for Betty's speciality coffee that was served in an individual cafétière.
The 'Jamaican Blue Mountain' was an extravagant £6.75... we decided that our many late night library revision sessions justified it! It was an enjoyable medium blend coffee, incorporating smoothness with a boldness of flavour. Alice went for a continental roast – she’s Parisian and drinks her coffee strong and black!
Afternoon Tea was a three and a half hour affair starting with delectable sandwiches cut into little triangles – salmon, roast chicken, egg and salted ham. The bread was freshly baked and lightly textured.
The scones were served of course with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam – be warned – it may look like only one scone but these are so filling that I was pretty sure I would not need to eat for the remainder of the day/night/the following morning.
Finally: the patisseries taking pride of place on the top of the tea stand. A Tarte aux fruits, lemon macaroon and Betty’s monogrammed chocolate/coffee tiered creation which we had to box up and take home for later! In comparison to other high tea offerings, Betty’s version didn’t overdo sweetness, richness or quantity whilst absolutely not compromising on quality. Definitely worth it.
We finished the afternoon with a much needed walk around the old walls of York...surprising ourselves that we were still able to move despite having eaten so much! Safe to say Alice enjoyed her first Afternoon Tea experience; a perfect ending to a brilliant first year at Leeds! The only thing I would say – upon returning I would make sure the cheque is being paid by someone not so reliant on their rapidly diminishing student loan....
I wore: Zara skirt, Russell&Bromley loafers, Asos jacket
Alice wore: Zara biker jacket, Office Chelsea Boots with a Bag from some boutique in Paris!