Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Holiday to Robin Hood's Bay

I have been on holiday the past week with my sisters and brother and the assorted partners. Seven folk in all made for a fun and busy holiday! Of course, for me one of the great pleasures of a holiday is the food - eating out, picnics, the excuse to eat bacon butties every morning all add up to make a holiday good fun.

We rented a self catering cottage called Hill Cliff which was a great place to stay. I like to self cater because it means you can use the local produce to cook with and makes a change from eating out the whole time. We got old yorkshire chutney from a shop called the Shepherd's Purse in Whitby which went on our picnic sandwiches and, a taste of home, found Fife strawberries in the Co-Op for pudding. We had fish and chips in RHB and in Whitby. But two highlights for me were discovering Sherlock's in Whitby and going to Betty's in York.


There is nothing I like more than a good old fashioned cafe that does tea and coffee and excellent cakes. Unfortunately, our tyre had a puncture and we had to get it fixed so on the second day Andy and I left early to find a garage with the idea being we would meet up with the others in Whitby. Well, misfortune turned into good fortune. Having left the tyre to be fixed we headed into Whitby and because we were early decided to find a cafe to have a cuppa in. I bought one of those tourists maps and saw that the Flowergate and lots of cafes on it so we took a stroll and found Sherlock's.

As you can tell from the title, there is a strong link with Sherlock Holmes - but not in a plastic-themed way. This cafe is panelled in dark wood with shelves of leather bound volumes and tables and chairs that are olde worlde and mismatched in a quaint way. What really took our breath away were the cakes on display in the window - absolutely saliva inducing.

We popped in and I had toast and butter and tea (teapot was excellent) and Andy had a scone and a coffee. All were lovely with good prompt service. We were so taken with the place that we returned the following morning for breakfast where we sampled teh smoothies - fresh made and tasty - and the next day for cake. The lemon cake tasted like the lemons had been picked the day before and the carrot cake was moist and had a cinnamon flavour that complemented the carroty-ness wonderfully. Each time the service was consistent and all of our orders were perfect. It is not often I can 100% recommend somewhere but I can with Sherlock's.


Anyone who has been to York or visited yorkshire will have heard of Betty's - and it is an institution well worth it's reputation. The cafe and tea rooms opened in 1919 and serve beuatiful cakes, small bites and afternoon teas. You usually have to queue for a table but it is well worth it. The tea room has kept its art deco style with elegantly mirrored walls and displays of teapots throughout the ages.

While everyone else had tea/coffee and a slice of cake, Damian and I opted to share an afternoon tea. It was exquisite. It came on a three tiered cake stand with ham and chicken sandwiches, scone, jame and cream and a selection of three cakes. The sandwiches were lovely - the ham was what I call 'real ham' - not your processed slices but proper ham, and the chicken was evidently actual roast chicken. The scone was light and fruity and delicious and teh cream was clotted and thick and silky. The wee cakes were a treat - a slice of fruit cake, a lemon Madeleine style cake and a profiterole. All were just perfect and we really enjoyed them.

And for the others, their cake portions were very generous - I hate a skimpy slim serving of cake. Alice had fruit cake and Wenslydale cheese - three lices of cake accompanied with three pieces of cheese. And Andy's ginger cake was two generous slices of a ginger loaf. The ginger was sticky and in good sized chunks. If you are in York I would definitely visit Betty's. It is a bit pricier than other cafes but it is absolutely worth it.

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