Betty’s Café Tearooms, North Yorkshire

Bettys 01

The Harrogate branch, overlooking the Stray

Betty’s really deserves six entries on this blog; York, Little Betty’s in Stonegate, Harrogate, Harlow Carr, Ilkley and Northallerton. 21st century heaven…and 20th century…and should have been 19th century too but it was only established in 1919. Also used to be in Leeds, until the mid-1970s. Breakfast coffee and fat rascal on Sunday mornings – or friends like the Eggs Benedict. Supper in York after an early cinema visit, watching the crowds pour past in St Helen’s Square as the pianist tinkles away on the grand piano. Unique wine. Mirrors and gilding. Perfect staff. Could be Paris or Vienna…or Yorkshire of course. Although it all started with the Swiss…

It all started with our founder, Frederick Belmont, a young baker and confectioner from the Swiss Alps, who came to England in search of his fortune. When he opened the first Bettys in Harrogate 95 years ago, he brought together the best of both Switzerland and Yorkshire: Swiss craft skills, finesse and attention to detail, and Yorkshire’s proud tradition of warm hospitality and quality local ingredients.

…and don’t forget the esteemed cookery school in Knaresborough [“one pot wonders”, “naughty but nice”, “everyday delicious”] and Taylor’s Tea and Coffee.

Jay Rayner, in the Observer, said

It’s one of those places to which you should go in the event of nuclear war, because nothing bad can ever happen there.

The ultimate café tearoom atmosphere and not just because they’re all in Yorkshire. World famous. The Wolseley with knobs on. The Ritz without the crackers. The Savoy without the Rolls Royce bit. There are two sides to the Tearooms – the shop where you can buy the wonderful bread and cakes, chocolates, biscuits, coffee, tea, marmalade [that’s enough – they can see for themselves…ed], and the tearoom part. Seasonal menu, but with Swiss standards and favourites. The baking, the chocs and the cakes are the real highlights. Curd tart, curd tart, curt tart…almost an anthem.

There’s also the Betty’s cookbook – A Year of Family Recipes – which features many of the recipes and is a guiding light and inspiration.

They extended Harrogate recently. Bigger shop, informal cafe…and more queuing space. Do we like it? Not half.

The irreplaceable, inestimable, delectable Bettys Tearooms

They extended the shop and built a canopy - more queueing space

They extended the shop and built a canopy – more queueing space

Only cars which match the colour of the shopfront can park outside

Only cars which match the colour of the shopfront can park outside

 

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