We’re just about starting one of the most exciting weeks of the year. No, forget all that football malarkey. I’m talking Afternoon Tea Week.
It was established to secure a tradition which began to grace British afternoons in the 1840’s. In those days, dinner often wasn’t served until after 8pm, and lunch wasn’t actually a thing. You’d go from breakfast to dinner and just starve in between.
Hence the creation of a new mini-meal in the middle of the day. It’s a quaint and quintessentially English experience of simple pleasures: cake, scones, tea and finger sarnies. How about an added glass of bubbly or cocktail? Now you’re talking.
It’s a little bit of what you fancy and here’s where to get it.
The Tea Room at The Midland is Manchester’s only setting specifically designed for, and dedicated to, afternoon tea. Of course, they do it well. Enjoy a range of delicious treats in this Grade II listed building, including a selection of loose leaf tea served with a selection of sandwiches, delicious home baked cakes and scones with clotted cream. An afternoon here might set you back a couple of pennies but, with an expert pastry team skilfully preparing each cake before it’s served to your table, you really do get what you pay for.
2King Street Townhouse
Without doubt, King Street Townhouse puts on quite a spread for afternoon tea. You can choose whether you fancy the Ladies Afternoon Tea or a Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea. As you can imagine, their ladies menu is made up of the most perfectly put together finger sandwiches, scones and homemade pastries. But it’s the Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea that really steals the show. You’ll enjoy a selection of wholesome canapé-style bites from fish and chip skewers to prawn dumplings, mini beef burgers and fries to homemade scotch eggs. There’s plenty on the menu to satisfy even the pickiest of taste buds. Top this little feast off with the bespoke dessert menu of cheese and crackers and warm chocolate brownie with Bailey’s ice cream. If you really want to push the boat out, add a Gentleman Jack cocktail to the mix. Job done. Click here to book.
3The Lowry Hotel
This luxurious 5 Star hotel serve their award-winning afternoon tea in The River Restaurant and it comes highly recommended. Their afternoon tea includes finger sandwiches like the beautifully roasted salmon with pink peppercorn or the minted cucumber with cream cheese. Pastries and dainty fancy highlights of salted caramel and chocolate tart, gingerbread and orange marmalade cake and the decadent apple and blackberry dacquoise are all dressed to impress. Scones with the most luxurious clotted cream and strawberry preserve are a given, all washed down with teas or fizz or a G&T. For more information or to book in, click here.
4Great John Street Hotel
The ground floor Oyster Bar in this boutique luxury townhouse hotel serves a fantastic ladies afternoon tea including fruit and nut chocolate loaf, lemon and meringue tart, blueberry macaroons, and white chocolate and hazelnut mousse as well as all the usual finger sandwiches, crusty scones and as much tea as you need to fuel your day.
This restaurant includes stylish island bar, open pastry kitchen, and is complemented by an alfresco dining area on the thoroughfare between King Street and Chapel Walks. As well as the selection of freshly made finger sandwiches, their talented pastry chefs create some of the most intricate and fantastic sweets including Amaretto cream tartlet, mini eclair and crème patisserie, almond financier, chocolate ganache macaroon. These should give you a little taste of how good the desserts are here. Try them now and thank us later.
6Home Sweet Home GN
Home Sweet Home style afternoon tea at the restaurant in the Great Northern, Deansgate is probably one of the gooiest, dirtiest and most delicious afternoon teas you’ll ever taste. Three tiers overflowing with signature sweet and savoury treats. Fresh cinnamon dusted churros and warm Nutella dip instead of scones, cute mini bagels instead of finger sandwiches and a top tier sprinkled with Home Sweet Home magic. Sounds good to us.
Go sky high and indulge in the expertly crafted afternoon tea on the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower. Take in the breathtaking views of Manchester’s skyline whilst sipping on a complimentary glass of bubbly. You’ll be chomping down on savoury delights like the hummus and carrot wrap, prawn marie rose open sandwich, and, a personal favourite, the delicious Mediterranean sun-blushed tomato and pesto tart. It wouldn’t be complete without a decadent serving of sweets accompanied by Mum’s Trifle and Manchester favourite, Eccles cake. If you’re thinking of an Afternoon Tea that takes it all to new heights, this place has got to make the list.
Go on. Treat yourself on your trip home. The Macdonald Hotel puts on quite the spread. Their dedication to serving home-made variations on the usual afternoon tea really shows through with this decadent version. They use only the finest, freshest ingredients and each tier is tastier than the next. Think fluffy crispy scones with lashings of jam and clotted cream and a whole array of finger sandwiches. This stylish city centre pod is a great place to relax after a busy day in town. It’s also just a couple of minutes from Piccadilly train station so perfect for those travelling and looking for a comfortable place to unwind before the hellish rush hour commute home. You can even team it with an Urban Spa. Click here for more info.
9Mercure Manchester Piccadilly
Situated slap bang in the heart of the city centre and overlooking Piccadilly Gardens, this modern hotel offers the most Manchester-themed afternoon tea we’ve come across. There are some real gems with a subtle sense of northern humour here like finger sandwiches of Coronation Street chicken and Patak’s spices, Cheshire cheese and Boddingtons chutney, as well as extra savoury treats of Bury black pudding scotch eggs coated in Kellogg’s cornflakes. On the sweet side there’s Manchester tart, home-made Jaffa cakes, and Vimto trifle. Get a load of that.
10Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian
Granted, an Italian restaurant isn’t one of your usual suspects on a list of best afternoon tea but Marco’s Italian MediaCityUK does things differently. The sandwiches are fresh as fresh comes. Choose from smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and English mustard or cheddar and pickle. Then, homemade scones with strawberry jam and decadent cream and delicious sweet treats like the baked vanilla cheesecake, chocolate brownie, lemon drizzle cake and, personal favourite, pear frangipane. You can add champagne or make it manly by switching to the Gentleman’s Tea which includes mini American beef, mini Italian and mini chicken Milanese with skin on fries. Nice one.