Afternoon Tea – finger sandwiches with absolutely no crusts please, scones with lashings of cream and jam, and as many naughty-but-nice cakes you can scoff in one go. And with it being National Afternoon Tea Day today, that’s more of an excuse than any of us need to tuck in. We’ve done all the legwork for you – here’s our pick of the best afternoon teas Manchester has to offer.
The Lowry Hotel
This luxurious 5 Star hotel serve their award-winning afternoon tea in The River Bar and comes highly commended by The British Tea Council. Their afternoon tea includes finger sandwiches of grated Leicester and sweet pickle, poached salmon, and watercress and basil mayonnaise. Pastries and dainty fancy highlights of banana and cherry opera cake, macaroon and truffle slice, and flourless chocolate and orange mousse cake promise to impress. Scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve are a given, all washed down with teas or fizz.
This newcomer to our fine dining scene offers some of the most uniquely British eating and drinking in Manchester. The 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 their 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 & creme patisserie, almond financier, chocolate ganache macaroon. These should give you a taste of how good the desserts are here. We think they’re some of the best in the city.
Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel
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.
For those who want to experience something really special then look no further than The Lounge at Manchester House where chef/proprietor, Aiden Byrne, has introduced fresh new flavours. Each element of his afternoon tea aims to tell a story and offers a short but sweet gastronomic jaunt around a variety of countries. The aromatic rose apple macaroon made with Southern Asian fruit is more guava than apple and the fruit has such a distinctive flavour. Also their own take on the coronation chicken sandwich, first served at the Queen’s coronation lunch in 1953 which kept the name thereafter. Your palate is sure to be delighted with the variety of inventive, delicately sweet and savoury treats as you take in the fascinating floor-to-ceiling panorama of Manchester.
Great John Street Hotel
This boutique luxury townhouse hotel located in a former Victorian school house offers a more eclectic and individual experience. The ground floor Oyster Bar serves a 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.
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. Enjoy savoury delights such as a hummus and carrot wrap, prawn marie rose open sandwich, and a delicious Mediterranean sun-blushed tomato and pesto tart. And it wouldn’t be complete without a decadent serving of sweets accompanied by Mum’s Trifle and Manchester favourite, Eccles cake. Enjoy a selection of savoury favourites, sweet treats and unlimited hot beverages for an unforgettable afternoon tea experience in the clouds.
Winner of the Outstanding Hotel of the Year award at the Independent Hotel Show Awards and the second 5 Star hotel in our recommendations, Gotham is housed in the very grand art deco building, formerly the Midland Bank at the top of King Street and Spring Gardens. Afternoon tea is served in the beautiful Honey Restaurant located on the 6th floor where you can enjoy sensational views across Manchester as you savour the delectable treats with a northern slant on offer. All the classics are here as well as their interpretations of Eccles cakes, Manchester tart, and their very own Gotham cake. Service is second to none with a quirky tongue-in-cheek yet superbly stylish edge we love. The invisible piano player is a great talking point and provides enough sophisticated tunes to really make your day.
Recently launched in their refurbished space, the afternoon tea here has a distinctly decadent edge. Set on The Avenue in the heart of Spinningfields, this all-day eatery and late night bar is a hub of vibrancy. The afternoon tea highlights include the lavish strawberry and white chocolate macaroons and gold-dusted chocolate eclairs served alongside classic staples like mini lemon meringue tarts, home made scones, and oh so English cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches.