With its dainty finger sandwiches, cream scones and sponge cakes, afternoon tea is a quintessentially English indulgence. And whilst Manchester doesn’t exactly have a reputation for daintiness, no one can say we’re not fond of a good afternoon tea round here.
There’s no shortage of hotels, bars and tea parlours serving up their own variation on the classic afternoon tea – but we think we’ve found a new contender for Manchester’s best.
At M Café, Hotel Indigo’s casual artisan hideaway, all the cakes are influenced by Manchester and created in-house by their talented pastry chefs Megan Chester and Morgan Mole (who both previously worked with Mamucium head chef Andrew Green at The Lowry Hotel).
Taking pride of place are the Vimto macaron and Manchester tart.
Alongside these on your loaded platter is a delicate honey sponge cake topped with a Manchester bee, chocolate brownie, lemon drizzle cake and coconut macarons.
And further sweet treats come in the form of the giant, fluffy home baked scones topped with Chantilly cream and served with an assortment of jams.
For those who love a bit of savoury, there are also chunky tuna mayonnaise wraps, a fat oven bottom muffin filled with locally-sourced ham and wholegrain mustard, and crustless egg mayonnaise finger sandwiches.
But the highlight for us? The open-topped rye bread sandwiches, which come smeared in soft cream cheese and slivers of smoked salmon that’s cold smoked overnight night at Manchester’s one-and-only salmon smokery.
Wondering what makes the salmon so tasty, we were told that the Manchester Smoke House use a traditional recipe which has survived four generations and the sinking of the Titanic to make it onto the plate.
The salmon is also treated using a secret curing recipe before being hand-filleted and plunged it into salt for an undisclosed amount of time – and there’s no added sugar, as you often find with cheaper supermarket cuts.
The afternoon tea is served with a choice of either single origin coffee from Salford Roasters, or a selection of loose leaf teas from Denton-based producer Tea from the Manor. They use only the finest quality tea leaves when creating their numerous blends (currently at 300 and counting).
There’s also the option to upgrade to a glass of fizz for an additional £4.50.
We tried a unique, indigo coloured tea, which was created especially for Hotel Indigo by
Tea From The Manor’s founder himself.
An ex-army man, James developed his love of tea whilst posted in Hong Kong with the Ghurkas, setting up the business on his return to civvy street.
A passion for local produce runs throughout the whole offering with everything from the tea to the cakes giving a nod of the head to Manchester’s unique history and charm.
The afternoon tea is served in Hotel Indigo’s M Café situated in the refurbished City building, but guests staying at the hotel are also welcome to enjoy it in their room.
A big thumbs-up from us here. Not only is everything delicious, but it also couldn’t get much more Manchester if it tried. If you love Manchester and you love afternoon tea you can’t go wrong here. Costing just £14.95 per person, not only does it look beautiful but you get a lot for your money here too.